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Sensing Best Practices

Ben Waber (Sociometric Solutions)
Data Driven Business
Ballroom CD
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Slides:   1-PPTX 

Today companies have no idea what makes their best employees tick, or why one team outperforms another that has the exact same processes. Managers are left with a subjective, trial and error process that takes months or years to uncover best practices, at which point they’re normally obsolete.

This problem is particularly critical in industries such as retail. While it is difficult to compete on price, speed and service are crucial to the long term survival and growth of the industry. Employees exhibit a wide variation in the way they interact with customers, other employees, and where they spend their time. Until today there had been no way to harness this variation to rapidly scale best practices across the company.

With the explosion of sensors in the workplace, however, we can now discover these best practices in real time. From speaking percentage when interacting with a customer to social networking patterns between employees at work, we can connect real world behaviors to hard outcomes like sales and retention.

These insights allow companies to not just understand their workforce, but actively change it. A/B testing, so common in the online world, can now be applied to the way companies actually work. Rather than making sweeping organizational changes, companies can test hundreds of models across the company and see how these changes affect behavior nearly instantaneously. Using real-world case studies, we’ll discuss how this new method of management fundamentally changes how people work, manage, and change.

Photo of Ben Waber

Ben Waber

President and CEO, Sociometric Solutions

Dr. Ben Waber is the president and CEO of Sociometric Solutions, a management services firm that uses social-sensing technology to drive innovative transformation services. He is also a visiting scientist at the MIT Media Lab, and he was previously a senior researcher at Harvard Business School. He received his Ph.D. from MIT for his work with Alex “Sandy” Pentland in the Human Dynamics group at the Media Lab. Waber’s work has been featured in major media outlets such as Wired, The Economist, and NPR. He has consulted for industry leaders such as LG, McKinsey & Company, and Gartner on technology trends, social networks, and organizational design. His book People Analytics was released by the Financial Times Press in 2013.