digitalNow
37.2K views | +8 today
Follow
 
Scooped by Don Dea
onto digitalNow
Scoop.it!

Before You Innovate, Ask the Right Questions

Before You Innovate, Ask the Right Questions | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Make sure you're not solving the wrong problem.
Don Dea's insight:

Disruptive Innovation: The most troublesome area is disruptive innovation, which target light or non-consumers of a category and require a new business model, because the value they create isn't immediately clear. While every new Apple product turns heads, when Google comes out with something most people won't even understand what it is, much less how they'll make money on it. From Google Maps to autonomous cars, they manage to fill needs we didn't even know we had. 3M, the company that pioneered scotch tape and post-it notes, derives up to 30% of its revenue from products launched in the past 5 years.

Both companies use a version of the 15% / 20% rule, where employees are required to devote a fixed portion of their time to projects unrelated to their jobs. Other firms have dedicated innovation labs where they can "test and learn" without excessive risk. A VC approach, in which small investments are made in emerging firms, can also be successful.

While focus is important, no company should limit itself to just one quadrant. Apple, for instance, is mainly a sustaining innovator, but iTunes was certainly an important disruptive innovation. While Google might be the greatest disruptive innovator on the planet, they spend considerable resources to improve existing products.

So it's important to develop an effective innovation portfolio that has one primary area of focus, but also pursues other quadrants of the matrix and builds synergies between varied approaches. Innovation is, above all, about combination.

more...
Ivon Prefontaine, PhD's curator insight, March 2, 2013 11:41 AM

We are a quick-fix society. We need a much different approach and this article speaks to defining the problem. I would go one step further and use David Bohm's thinking. Most of what we think of as a problem is a paradox. Problems and their solutions often lead to more problems. Paradox with the right approach lead to understanding, dissolution, and resolution.

digitalNow
Exploring leadership, management, innovation, and technology issues and trends; impacting associations & non-profit organizations in the digital age.
Curated by Don Dea
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Don Dea
Scoop.it!

Are advertisements losing relevance?

Are advertisements losing relevance? | digitalNow | Scoop.it
So, what should CMOs do? The Forrester report noted that CMOs need to clarify the roles that each medium play, match the creative execution to the medium, and enforce frequency caps.

“First, they need to simply adapt their ads more effectively to the device/environment they are viewed on,” Nail said.

All these require additional thought, production costs and strong data on customer behaviors.

“Even a 15-second video on a mobile device is an eternity and often the sound is muted so if the advertiser runs an ad developed for TV with no changes, it won't be effective,” Nail said.

“The advertiser needs to overlay text with the key message in the ad and also make sure the brand shows up in the first 3 seconds. This involves extra production costs that advertisers are reluctant to spend but if they don't their media dollars are likely wasted,” he added.

All these will change the way ads are created and used.

“I don't think how we approach ads will change, there will always be a need to reach new audiences and they will need to have the kind of emotional messages that get their attention and begin their relationship with the brand. What will change is that this type of advertising will diminish as marketers shift budget, effort, and resources to more relationship building/maintaining initiatives,” Nail said.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Dea
Scoop.it!

Technology Shifts Create Digital Ethics Dilemmas

Technology Shifts Create Digital Ethics Dilemmas | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Today’s powerful businesses are built to fully leverage information technology to create wealth. This is a dramatic shift from even 30 years ago, when material goods—not knowledge or information intelligence—was considered to be the primary stock-in-trade.

Recently, technology-savvy Tesla moved ahead of General Motors in market cap valuation, while Apple’s market cap exceeds the wealth of many nations around the world. The size in economic terms, combined with the pace of growth, puts these new businesses in a very different space—a space where accountability for doing the right thing rests.

General Motors sells vehicles, not “eyeballs.” The underlying processes at General Motors end as the vehicles roll out of its assembly line—that is, the company has no direct influence on its users (customers or, for technology-driven businesses, subscribers or patrons).

In contrast, Apple and Samsung sell mobile phones, but more importantly, they control the launch of software apps that influence the phone users. Daily, there are numerous tweaks made to the apps; new apps are added and current ones are “improved” to keep the user more glued to his or her phone.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Dea
Scoop.it!

Be a lifeguard: Stay vigilant to ensure a safe, inspiring work environment

Be a lifeguard: Stay vigilant to ensure a safe, inspiring work environment | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Business leaders have similar responsibilities. They may not face life-threatening emergencies as lifeguards do, but they must be fully present and vigilant, observing the quality of workplace interactions and monitoring the psychological safety of their team members as well as the productivity of their team.
Stellar results are great, but if your work environment is cutthroat, demeaning, dismissive or mean, team members won’t be their best selves at work. They’ll be “on guard,” awaiting the next frustrating interaction with bosses or colleagues.
Our great bosses created purposeful, positive, productive work cultures where we thrived. Everyone was treated with trust, respect, and dignity, in every interaction. You can create that same, healthy environment, if you choose.
Like a lifeguard, be fully present and vigilant, monitoring and coaching the quality of your work culture, every second of every day.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Dea
Scoop.it!

Former Employees Often Cause Data Breaches

Former Employees Often Cause Data Breaches | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Many ex-employees continue to have access to corporate applications and often contribute to data breaches, says a new study. Forty-eight percent of respondents in the study, "Curse of the Ex-Employees," are aware of the problem. Furthermore, 20 percent of respondents believe the failure to deprovision employees has contributed to a data breach at their organization. "Companies aren't following very basic but essential security measures around employee provisioning and deprovisioning," said Alvaro Hoyos, chief information security officer at identity management provider OneLogin, which commissioned the study. "This should be a cause for concern among business leaders, especially considering how many data breaches are caused by ex-employees." The solution is to automate off-boarding and to help companies become more secure, productive and efficient, he says. Arlington Research used an online survey to interview 500 non-managers and executives who work in their company's IT department and are decision-makers for hardware, software and cloud-based services. They have some responsibility for IT security, their company creates and deletes employee logins in-house, and they either manage log-ins or are responsible for creating them.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Dea
Scoop.it!

IT Leaders Use Freelance Help to Close Skills Gaps

IT Leaders Use Freelance Help to Close Skills Gaps | digitalNow | Scoop.it
A growing number of IT department managers reported that the hiring market for technology talent has gotten more difficult over the past year, and the majority of them said they need to hire freelancers to support IT needs, according to a recent survey from Upwork. The resulting "Future Workforce IT Report" reveals that most IT managers said they've had to evolve in their approach to hiring in order to maintain a competitive edge. By bringing on freelancers, their department gets more work done, and they can better balance teams to meet project demands. The IT managers also avoid the delay or cancellation of projects or the extension of deadlines. "The tech talent gap has reached a crisis point," said Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork. "Companies are struggling with a widening tech skills gap, particularly in areas such as AI, IoT and robotics. The shortage of skilled tech professionals has become a major concern for companies. To help bridge the gap, companies are innovating their talent strategies by leveraging freelancers with the specialized skills they need to develop new technologies." More than 200 IT managers took part in the research.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Dea
Scoop.it!

IT Staffing Needs Are Affected by the Cloud

IT Staffing Needs Are Affected by the Cloud | digitalNow | Scoop.it

The impact of the cloud on IT staffing has become clear: As workloads move to offsite infrastructures, hiring for lower-level IT positions is slowing, while the demand for skills in areas such as analytics, the cloud and security is on the rise. This finding from Computer Economics' recent study, "IT Spending and Staffing Benchmarks 2017/2018," illustrates the evolving makeup of the typical IT department. While IT staffing levels are remaining fairly flat, the move toward software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, cloud infrastructure, virtualization and increased automation—and the accompanying shift of IT dollars from CapEx to OpEx—has required IT leaders to adjust the mix of skills and capabilities at their disposal. Forward-looking IT professionals should make note of this trend to avoid getting left behind. "As the cloud shifts hiring priorities, IT professionals need to be upgrading their skills," said Tom Dunlap, director of research at Computer Economics. "Fortunately, the cloud makes it easy to get those skills, whether by setting up a virtual server on Amazon Web Services, or by developing a new app on one of the cloud platforms." The study, which also indicated steady operational IT spending growth, was based on a survey of more than 200 North American IT executives, and it includes IT spending and staffing benchmarks for small, midsize and large organizations in 25 industries.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Dea
Scoop.it!

The roots of organic growth 

The power of the diversified approach

While approximately 60 percent of those surveyed identified one of the approaches as their primary source of growth, the largest group in our sample—representing about 40 percent of companies surveyed—were those that diversified their organic growth portfolio. A disproportionate number of the companies that grew significantly—at 4 percent greater than the rate of their sector’s over the past three years—were in this group.

These results make intuitive sense: companies creating new products or services frequently need to reallocate capital so they can place their bets, while an exceptional sales force or top-flight marketing team can accelerate a variety of new product or service initiatives. Our analysis further showed that companies exhibiting strong investor and creator tendencies particularly benefited from a diversified approach to changing their growth trajectory (Exhibit 1).
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Dea
Scoop.it!

Ask these questions to identify who you are as a leader

Ask these questions to identify who you are as a leader | digitalNow | Scoop.it
To find out who you are as a leader, ask yourself what you do well, which areas you need help with and how you can better help your team, says John Baldoni in this blog post and video. "Make sure there's an alignment between what you think you're doing and what they are receiving," he says.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Dea
Scoop.it!

I Am Your Employee: Employee Wants and Needs to Drive Engagement

I Am Your Employee: Employee Wants and Needs to Drive Engagement | digitalNow | Scoop.it
What Employees Want and Need
If employees could collectively tell you what they want and need, here’s what they might say:
“I am your employee...

• I’ve been told I am part of the human capital equation and very important here. So, if I may, I have a couple of thoughts I’d like to share."

• It’s about why I chose this organization…and what I expect from my employment experience. I need to feel valued, to be treated with respect and to know my supervisor cares about me. I need regular information from my manager, but still need to hear from senior leaders on broader company issues."

• I need to know how I will benefit when I produce good results. And I need regular, tangible, specific, constructive feedback about my work."
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Dea
Scoop.it!

Empathy makes you a more effective leader

Empathy makes you a more effective leader | digitalNow | Scoop.it
While we crave being heard and valued, we have become so caught up in technology that we are dumbing down our social skills. Psychologist Sara Konrath at Michigan University found that young people are becoming less empathic than ever; American college students showed a 48% decrease in empathic concern and a 34% drop in their ability to see other people’s perspectives.
87% of the same millennials who expect to be understood and appreciated at work also admit to missing out on a conversation because they were distracted by a phone.
In a world that becomes increasingly automated and computerised, we are losing the very skills that are essential for effective leadership. How can we stop this shipwreck? Let’s take a look:
1. Understand the meaning of empathy

I have always found empathy to be intriguing because it allows you to read minds, something that came in handy as an FBI agent. By listening to another person’s words and reading their body language, you can figure out what they are feeling and thinking.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Dea
Scoop.it!

The Need of Innovation: Are innovators leaders? 

There are several needs that must be met by a leader in regards to innovation.

1. The need for the leader who can innovate and foster innovation. Innovators often become leaders out of necessity. To take an innovation to fruition, the creator must often be the one who coordinates and leads the entire innovation process. Also, many leaders can only succeed if they can build an environment where people will create new and better ways for the company to function and produce better products. To succeed they must adopt the statement by Walt Disney, “I believe in being an innovator.”

2. The need for the organization that leads by innovation. Breaking into a new market requires innovation. Companies that can innovate become the market leaders and often can only stay at the top as long as they continue to innovate. Peter Drucker stated that, “Business has only two basic functions – marketing and innovation.” To be successful you must excel at both.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Dea
Scoop.it!

Will blockchain upend digital advertising as we know it?

Will blockchain upend digital advertising as we know it? | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Will blockchain upend digital advertising as we know it?
The tech could solve myriad issues pertaining to ad fraud and non-transparency, but would be yet another disruption to an industry still scrambling to achieve digital transformation
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Dea
Scoop.it!

The Fate of Online Trust in the Next Decade

The Fate of Online Trust in the Next Decade | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Some 1,233 responded to this nonscientific canvassing: 48% chose the option that trust will be strengthened; 28% of these particular respondents believe that trust will stay the same; and 24% predicted that trust will be diminished. (See “About this canvassing of experts” for further details about the limits of this sample.)

Participants were asked to explain their answers and were offered the following prompt to consider: Which areas of life might experience the greatest impact? Economic activity? Health care? Education? Political and civic life? Cultural life? Will the impacts be mostly positive or negative? What role might the spread of blockchain systems play?

Many of these respondents made references to changes now being implemented or being considered to enhance the online trust environment. They mentioned the spread of encryption, better online identity-verification systems, tighter security standards in internet protocols, new laws and regulations, new techno-social systems like crowdsourcing and up-voting/down-voting or challenging online content.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Dea
Scoop.it!

Achieving personalization through data

Achieving personalization through data | digitalNow | Scoop.it
The potential of data

Data-driven marketing is essential to drive incremental ROIs, said Blank, pointing to programmatic solutions such as MediaMath Audiences to help marketers reach their best customers and prospects at scale by relying on predictive modelling based on customers’ demonstrated interests and behaviors, and detailed insights.

The idea is to leverage the right data to generate insights about specific customers, and opting only to engage those most likely to respond. She said: “Brands can advance their campaigns to prospect, generate insights that are actionable based on predictive behaviors, and help re-engage only those users that are most likely to respond.”

“Ultimately, the goal is to deliver personalized brand experiences, that are unified on a single platform, to drive both on and offline conversions based on observed data about consumer interests and behaviors.”

Target intent, not demographics

Using web ads as an example, Blank noted that advertisers will sometimes fire off ads to everyone that visits their site without making an intelligent evaluation whether it is relevant to the consumer in the first place. This is important as irrelevant ads can end up annoying consumers and creating a negative brand impression.

Rather than targeting everyone in a specific demographic, Blank suggests that marketers should try to target their ads at those who are most likely to purchase by leveraging predictive modeling, behaviors, and demonstrated interests.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Dea
Scoop.it!

Watch That Next Step (CEO Problems)

Watch That Next Step (CEO Problems) | digitalNow | Scoop.it

What should first-time CEOs anticipate? And how can they be better prepared for the demands they're likely to face? Three dynamics that show up repeatedly in my practice are More Scrutiny, Less Feedback, and Very Little Empathy:

1. More Scrutiny

It’s not surprising that being a CEO results in more scrutiny—most leaders are used to operating under a spotlight that’s become more intense as they’ve grown more senior. But what can be surprising is that the spotlight blazing on a CEO almost never turns off. Leaders expect to be observed and assessed during key performances—giving a big speech, or running a critical meeting. But CEOs find that nearly every single interaction is now a key performance, and the people on the other side of the exchange will be carefully scrutinizing all aspects of their communication, from word choice to facial expressions.

This has less to do with the individual who holds the job, and more to do with the symbolic function that the job serves in business culture. Even as organizations have grown flatter and concepts such as “servant leadership” have gained currency, the role of CEO continues to loom large in the collective imagination. This can be particularly surprising to first-time CEOs who feel that their own behavior hasn’t changed, but the behavior of those around them has. It’s important for CEOs to bear in mind that people aren’t merely responding to them as an individual—they’re responding as much, if not more, to the role.

The heightened scrutiny CEOs encounter is also a function of several psychological dynamics. When we encounter someone we perceive as higher status or more socially distant from us, we’re more likely to experience a threat response, commonly called a “fight, flight, or freeze” response. In these situations our brains and body react just as if we’re facing a literal threat to our physical safety. We feel a heightened sense of vigilance and scan the environment seeking clues to help us determine the degree of danger. We also tend to be distressed whenever we don’t fully understand another person’s behavior, so we rapidly construct a narrative to explain it.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Dea
Scoop.it!

It's Vital to Patch Vulnerabilities Immediately

It's Vital to Patch Vulnerabilities Immediately | digitalNow | Scoop.it
A new report claims that by the time a vulnerability is disclosed, 80 percent of exploits already exist, but only 70 percent of vendor-provided patches are available. The analysis, conducted by the Aberdeen Group, is based on data provided by Verizon and was commissioned by McAfee. Titled "Cyber-Security: For Defenders, It's About Time," the report states that the business impact from data breaches is the greatest at the beginning, when records are first compromised. "That's logical, since attackers want to get in and out with the goods (or data) in as little time as possible," the report states. "Most responders are closing the barn door well after the horse is gone, when most of the damage has already been done." The business impact from sustained disruption, however continues to grow from the time of compromise to the time of remediation. The time to detection, therefore remains the top challenge for defenders responding to cyber-attacks, putting enterprises at risk. The report sample includes 1,300 data breaches investigated between 2014 and 2016. Half of detections took up to 38 days, with a mean average of 210 days, though this was skewed by some incidents taking as long as four years.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Dea
Scoop.it!

Here's how people are using their smartwatches

Here's how people are using their smartwatches | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Smartwatches have yet to live up to the early hype. According to data published last week by the NDP group, only 9% of consumers 18 and older own one. That's not terrible, given how young the industry is, but it does indicate that many consumers don't yet consider them to be must-have devices. 

Apple initially touted its Apple Watch as a mini-wearable computer that could run loads of apps and free users from having to interact as often with their smartphones. But the company eventually realized consumers saw little value in running so many different apps on a watch, so with the second version of the device, it decided to focus largely on fitness tracking and text notifications. 

It turns out that those are the features smartwatch owners use the most, as this chart from Statista — based on data from NPD Connected Intelligence's Wearable Advisor Service — indicates. Focusing on such features seems to have paid off for Apple. It recently announced that Apple Watch sales were up 50% in its latest quarter.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Dea
Scoop.it!

Startups Are the New Canary in the Coal Mine for Big Brands and Marketers

Startups Are the New Canary in the Coal Mine for Big Brands and Marketers | digitalNow | Scoop.it
In addition to saving the lives of hundreds of miners, Haldane’s work also led to one of the most common metaphors in the English language—the phrase “canary in the coal mine.”   This phrase has become a metaphor for any warning of serious danger to come, just like the warning that the canaries gave the miners.

In today’s business world, startups are the new canary in the coal mine, the early warning of danger for big brands. What danger? Consider that in 2015, 90 of the top 100 largest CPG brands in the U.S. lost market share. Or that in 2017, over 8,600 retail stores are closing their doors. If big companies had been paying closer attention to the world of entrepreneurship, they would have seen the emerging business models and consumer trends that would be predictive of this dangerous future.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Dea
Scoop.it!

Mastering three strategies of organic growth

A diversified approach to organic growth

Growth is top of mind at many companies, according to respondents: 93 percent say theirs have pursued at least one strategy to generate organic growth in the past three years, and nearly two-thirds agree or strongly agree that organic growth is at the top of their executive teams’ agendas. But regarding the three strategies of growth we explored (investing, creating, and performing), the responses suggest that there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

Nearly 60 percent of executives identify one primary strategy for generating organic growth, while the rest of those pursuing organic growth say their companies follow more than one (Exhibit 1). According to respondents, a diversified approach is more common at larger companies than at smaller ones. It is also reported more often in developed markets than in emerging markets, where reliance on the creating strategy is most common.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Dea
Scoop.it!

Playing offense: What it takes to drive growth 

Playing offense: What it takes to drive growth  | digitalNow | Scoop.it
In our budget reviews with the divisions, my standard question has become, “Can’t you take more money out of admin and put it into marketing?” Or “Where else can we find money to put into marketing?”

Because we have to grow the top line. A healthy business is growing the top line. You have to get the machine working in a big subscription business. You have to keep the flywheel turning because if it’s not turning, it’s hard to get started again. Expenses are easy. If you’re getting top-line growth, you’re buying time to look at expenses. It’s not a question of if you’re going grow the business. It’s just a question of how.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Dea
Scoop.it!

Empathy makes you a more effective leader

Empathy makes you a more effective leader | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Understand the meaning of empathy

I have always found empathy to be intriguing because it allows you to read minds, something that came in handy as an FBI agent. By listening to another person’s words and reading their body language, you can figure out what they are feeling and thinking.
Empathy is not sympathy, nor is it feeling sorry for others. Instead, it is understanding what others are feeling or thinking. People tend to focus on the touchy-feely aspect of empathy, and it is indeed important to understand where another person is coming from. However, an empathetic leader is also capable of sensing what another person is thinking. This can be extremely helpful in everything from negotiating a salary to planning a social event for the office.
The solution: It’s important to examine your own attitude when dealing with others. Are you more concerned with getting your way, winning or being right? Put aside your viewpoint, and try to see things from the other person's point of view. Maybe you aren’t the center of the world after all.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Dea
Scoop.it!

In US, factory jobs are high-tech, but the workers are not

If you don't keep up with the times," he said, "you're out of luck."

This is the paradox of American manufacturing jobs in 2017. Donald Trump won the presidency in great measure because he pledged to stop American jobs and manufacturing from going overseas. His message helped him capture Ohio and other Rust Belt states with the support of Mays and other blue-collar voters.

It's true that many jobs have gone overseas, to places where workers are willing to toil for less money. Yet at the same time, American manufacturers have actually added nearly a million jobs in the past seven years. And federal statistics show nearly 390,000 such jobs open.

The problem? Many of these are not the same jobs that for decades sustained the working class. More and more factory jobs now demand education, technical know-how or specialized skills. And many of the workers set adrift from low-tech factories lack such qualifications. Meanwhile, the dearth of qualified applicants has forced some manufacturers to pay more to fill those jobs.

Training opportunities are limited, particularly for older workers.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Dea
Scoop.it!

Are you on the Value Wave of Innovation?

Are you on the Value Wave of Innovation? | digitalNow | Scoop.it
When developing an innovation a key question is, what value does this new product or process bring to the user? The next question then becomes what is value?  Often when we talk about value, we talk about monetary value.  How much does this cost or how much is this worth?  For an innovation, value can be measured by asking will it be used or does it have utility?  Edison described it this way, “Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent. Its sale is proof of utility, and utility is success.”

Edison learned early on that to create something that would sell you had to bring enough value to customers that they would be willing to purchase the product.  While this may seem like a simple concept, it is sometimes over looked.  Many seemingly great ideas do not make it to market because they do not reach a good balance between cost and value.   Often to make it work you either have to find a way to lower the cost or raise the value.  Being able to do this effectively is what often separates a good invention from an innovation.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Dea
Scoop.it!

The Perspiration of Innovation

The Perspiration of Innovation | digitalNow | Scoop.it
When Edison said “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration,” he was not just talking about the 10,000 attempts on the filament of the light bulb.  He was talking about all of the other work to get the idea from the mind of the inventor to actual use by the user. A lot of people have new and interesting ideas, but to be innovative you have to do a lot more. Often the creating, improving and refining of the product or process is just the beginning.

Being able to focus on gathering the necessary resources, collaborating with the right people and focusing on the end user can be more critical than the product itself. The goal is not just to come up with something new, but rather something new that will be used.

The video below shows how Edison worked and promoted himself and his ideas to be successful. Follow some of his example, and you just may be able to have a great innovation.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Dea
Scoop.it!

Who Gets Caught in Online Echo Chambers?

Who Gets Caught in Online Echo Chambers? | digitalNow | Scoop.it

Many businesses conduct marketing activities and develop their brands in online environments that highly manage the content that users encounter. Executives may not be aware of the extent that algorithms are influencing this experience. Understanding the context in which messages are being delivered is a critical first step. More so, our research shows that there are ways that the echo chamber itself might be managed.

The Interests of the Crowd vs. the Interests of the Individual

For our research, we examined two things: the types of users most likely to get caught in content echo chambers, and the role of the content’s popularity — such as “like” counts and view counts. We created a simple online environment for content exploration that broke down search into two dimensions — content topic and content popularity. We then looked at the ways that individuals moved through the material. We observed, for instance, the weight that users placed on their own interests versus those of the crowd, and how these patterns relate to an individual’s characteristics, such as how social they regard themselves and whether they try to influence others in their social circles (what we term “opinion leaders”).

Our assumption was that users who conduct little exploration and rely more heavily on the crowd will, over time, see less diverse content. As a result, they’ll be at a higher risk of getting caught in an echo chamber.

In our experimental search environment named TED-it, 1,846 study participants explored the collection of TED talks posted on YouTube (roughly 1,600 short videos).1 Participants navigated using two buttons, Category and Popularity. The Category button allowed users to choose one of 15 content groupings and presented a list of talks in random order, without any ranking. By contrast, the Popularity button sorted the displayed search results by their number of views on YouTube — from most to least popular — or simply sorted all talks by popularity if no category was chosen. Users could click each of the buttons as many times as they like, creating a search sequence. This search journey was the object of our study.

The relationship between search patterns and viewers’ social characteristics was further determined by a series of questionnaires, which assessed users’ sociability, opinion leadership, and previous experience with TED content, along with some demographics.

Entertainment Search Results on TED-it
A screenshot with search results on TED-it, appearing after a user clicked on Category and chose the Entertainment category.


As with most content platforms, there are popular TED talks and many less-viewed options. We found that generally, people who explored content with less reliance on its popularity metrics ended up at content that is less known by their peers, but more suited to their personal interests. As assumed, users who consistently search by their topics of interest and rely less on the crowd’s previous choices were less likely to suffer from echo chambers. On the flip side, people who were susceptible to echo chambers in our research setting had a strong reliance on Popularity sorting and a low utilization of Category search.

Furthermore, we found that three types of people were most at risk for falling into echo chambers: highly social individuals, those already familiar with TED content, and young users. They were all more likely to rely on popularity considerations and explore less. They also were less likely to choose from unsorted topical results.

People who consider themselves opinion leaders were more likely to explore the videos and had lower reliance on the content’s popularity. We found that male opinion leaders in our sample conducted more topic-based exploration and invested more effort in search than male non-leaders. Apparently, these opinion leaders are more likely to seek new avenues for influence, and look for novel content to introduce to their followers that may ameliorate their group’s own echo chamber.2

We also studied how influenced people are by knowing how popular a piece of content is. With “like” counts and view counts now baked into most online environments, was this information making people more likely or less likely to explore unfamiliar territories?

To answer this question, we randomly assigned users to one of two conditions, where popularity information was either shown or blocked in category-based searches. Interestingly, in our study, only male opinion leaders were affected by the display of view counts.



Business leaders should be aware of echo-chamber dynamics and the human factors feeding into them. Our findings can help identify individuals who are seeing more or less diverse content, which can help shape marketing strategies in online environments that are increasingly dominated by algorithms.




more...
No comment yet.