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People Analytics: How Social Sensing Technology Will Transform Business and What It Tells Us about the Future of Work Hardcover – Apr 22 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: FT Press; 1 edition (April 22 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0133158314
  • ISBN-13: 978-0133158311
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 2.5 x 22.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #202,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Discover Hidden Social Patterns Within Your Company--and Supercharge Both Performance and Employee Satisfaction

“…a watershed book in advancing the understanding of human dynamics.”
—Michael Arena, Head of Global Talent & Organization Capability, General Motors

“…Waber convincingly shatters orthodoxies of team and workplace design. A must-read.”
—Scott Anthony, Managing Partner, Innosight, and author of The Little Black Book of Innovation

“…[Waber] provides numerous examples to illustrate how social analytics could help transform business operating practices in the future. It’s a fascinating area of study.”
—Paul Mascarenas, Chief Technical Officer, Ford Motor Company

“Ben Waber follows a new trail of ‘digital breadcrumbs’ to see the world with fresh perspective...A fascinating read.”
—Sherry Turkle, Professor, MIT, and author of Alone Together: Why We Expect More of Technology and Less from Each Other

We’ve always used data to help identify what workplace behaviors make people effective. But this data has always been subjective, biased, and limited in scale. Cutting-edge social sensor technologies open up a world of new possibilities, allowing you to identify hidden social patterns within your organization—and make subtle, unobtrusive adjustments that lead to large, measurable improvements.

People Analytics will help you discover how your people really work, collaborate, and innovate, so you can help them do it more successfully. It will help you uncover sources of creativity and expertise you never knew you had. And it can help you optimize everything from customer service and marketing to R&D and M&A.

MIT Media Lab innovator Ben Waber shows how new sensors and “big data” analytics can help you gain an unprecedented understanding of how your people work and actionable insights for building a more effective, productive, and positive organization.

Through cutting-edge examples, Waber demonstrates how you can use these technologies to optimize everything from call center performance to sick-day policies. Most remarkable of all, you’ll learn how to accurately measure (and effectively address) “subjective” success factors…from culture to creativity.

• Measure the informal interactions that are crucial to long-term success
• Recognize emerging problems before they derail teams, projects, or mergers
• Systematically improve the effectiveness of in-person and electronic communication
• Discover who your “internal experts” really are
• Identify surprising hidden sources of creativity and innovation
• Get fine-grained data for better nuts-and-bolts HR decision-making
• Enhance employee performance—and reduce employee stress at the same time

About the Author

Ben Waber is President and CEO of Sociometric Solutions, a management services firm that uses social sensing technology. He is also a visiting scientist at the MIT Media Lab, where he received his Ph.D. He was previously Senior Researcher at Harvard Business School.

Waber’s work has been featured in Wired, the New York Times, on NPR, and he has given invited talks at Google, EMC, and Samsung. His research was selected for the Harvard Business Review ’s List of Breakthrough Ideas and the Technology Review’s Top 10 Emerging Technologies.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I enjoyed this book greatly, but not for it's depth of insight - rather it presents a great picture of an emerging technology. Now this is technology that is here now. When I finished reading this book - I knew that the workplace survey is DEAD. Yes, it will continue as a zombie for a few more years - but I would be surprised if workplace surveys exist in their traditional form in 5-7 years.

The development of the socio-metric badge - along with linked-related smart phone apps can provide near real-time behaviour - not self-reports on behaviour.

More significantly as algorithms for real-time data analysis become integrated and employees are able to see the aggregate data-analysis from their organizations - it also brings into question the role that managers will play. If institutional innovation arises out of new ways to measure new types of values - this book reveals a revolution of the institutions of management and leadership ready to be born.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xb33576d8) out of 5 stars 15 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb2d29138) out of 5 stars Intriguing, data-driven ideas about the future of work June 20 2013
By Jesse Lahey - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I first heard Ben Waber by chance, when I was flipping the radio dial and happened to hear his remarks at the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival, broadcast on NPR's Talk of the Nation. Very soon after, I read about his work in INFECTIOUS, Achim Nowak's excellent book about how to connect deeply with others and inspire people. Then, a colleague shared an article with me an article about People Analytics. I was fascinated and had to get the book myself.

This book will likely change the way you think about productivity and teamwork. For me, the biggest surprises were regarding the "Water Cooler Effect" and "Should I Stay at Home and Work in My Pajamas?"

If you are a leader at a large organization, you will gain many nuggets from this book about structural changes you can make to significantly improve overall employee engagement and productivity. If you lead a small team or work alone, you may find the concepts in People Analytics more challenging to implement ... but the time may come when you'll wish you had heeded Waber's advice about the future of work.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb2d2918c) out of 5 stars He wrote his findings as a fantastic read called People Analytics Feb. 29 2016
By Daniel Reidler - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Collaboration is a 21st century buzz word. Ben Waber uses science to prove how collaboration adds significantly to a company’s bottom line.

If I told you that “changing how people spent 15 minutes of their day” could yield $15 million in profit, would you believe me?

You should because Ben Waber et al. proved it in the their experiments namely the water cooler effect during his research at MIT. He wrote his findings as a fantastic read called People Analytics: How social sensing technology will transform business and what it tells us about the future of work.

Waber collected data from modified employee worn id badges and analyzed the effects of human interactions. While email data can easily be mined to produce a description of written office communication, Waber and his team at MIT wanted to capture the ‘hidden’ communication in office settings.

The value of the coffee break

Waber et al. studied the effects of synchronized coffee breaks for call center employees at Bank of America. The results showed conclusively that employees were more cohesive and less stressed as a result of taking their ‘coffee’ breaks with colleagues. The experiment did not require employees to communicate, they did that naturally. The orchestrated communication made employees feel more cohesive. These factors increased productivity and significantly decreased employee turnover. All significantly increasing BoA’s bottom line.

Co-location and outsourcing software development

Next, Waber investigated remote teams working together. Obviously, teams working together, at the same location, is ideal. But, what about remote teams? How can we increase their productivity? For instance, Is it worth it to fly everyone in and meet face to face before starting a project? Does that expense increase the remote team’s productivity. Waber proved an emphatic yes. When teams met face-to-face before the project they understood each other better, trusted each other better, and were better at collaborating afterwards.

Waber sums up the importance of collaborations as follows:

“In additional to doing away with this individual view of productivity, we need to get rid of the notion of the lone genius. An easy way to think of our creativity, and our impact on our colleagues as a whole, is to think about how much work we can actually get done by ourselves. Imagine you discover a way to increase your performance by 10%. Assuming you work 40 hours a week, you can end up saving 4 hours of your time every week by using this new method you’ve discovered. If you keep it to yourself, over one year you will end up saving about 200 hours.

But, what if you shared your discovery with 5 of your closest coworkers? Maybe it takes you a while to teach them this new method, say 20 hours. In that case, individually you would only save 180 hours, but collectively everyone would save 1,200 hours in that first year. On top of that, however, you’ve now created a community where sharing tips is expected… etc. (199-200)

Of course, as Waber emphasizes, we must be very careful about privacy employee privacy issues.

I recommend the book.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb2d29468) out of 5 stars Science of the communication at work April 27 2013
By Kazuo Yano - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Revolutionary insights on human behavior and communication in the organization. Wearing sensor badge may sound strange but, after reading this, I am convinced that it is the way we should go and it will be the future of working style. The book is well written and I really enjoyed reading the scientific evidences the author has really captured.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb2d29984) out of 5 stars simple, easy to read and VERY compelling Jan. 29 2014
By Heather E McGowan - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had the privilege of hearing Ben talk in Boston prior to the publication of the book. He has a very plainspoken direct presentation of compelling information about the impact of human interactions which comes across in his talks as well as his writing. I actually, honestly, hate most business books as they tend to follow the format of- present the theory and then crush you to death with boredom retelling the theory with repetitive examples that offer little further consideration. Ben's book is not like that at all- it is builds in layers a compelling view of the complexity of human interactions in a variety of work settings from customer service to banking to healthcare. I loved it and eagerly await his next publication.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xb2d2924c) out of 5 stars ground breaking Oct. 21 2013
By David Lathrop - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great read... Ben and his firm's work in this domain is potentially ground breaking and certainly powerful... it shows a way to unlock a deeper understanding of human behavior, while avoiding the difficulties of question asking, memory lapses, perception, and opinion... it's been said (Drucker maybe???) that you can't manage what you can't measure." Beneath managing lives understanding. Suppose this helps us understand our OWN ways of communicating so we manage ourselves better... suppose it gives people a lens AND a meter into themselves... this is fertile ground...