30 September 2010

Time to Join the Diologue

2pm when the «Guardian» of the White-wooden-chair 白木椅 put in the hands of the WBD Ambassador «Edu» the first poster to promote the 14th World Business Dialogue. Now, is your time. Join the Dialogue.


22 September 2010

21 September 2010

Great Festival opportunity for students and junior researchers

Great Festival opportunity for students and junior researchers: "

The Festival of NewMR is gathering speed and will be held (virtually) 6-10 December.

One of the features of the Festival, which may be of particular interest to students of market research or junior researchers is the Poster competition. The Poster competition is free to enter and has a prize of US$ 1000. More important than the prize is the chance to catch the eye of people you might want to work with and potentially to influence the shape of market research.

The challenge is to create a Poster that best answers the question “What is the next BIG idea in understanding consumers' needs and wants?"

So, if you work with students or junior researchers, please forward this article to them.


The Application Process starts in 15 days!! Look what our Amb... on Twitpic

The Application Process starts in 15 days!! Look what our Amb... on Twitpic

14th WBD -> Cologne -> Germany: "The Application Process starts in 15 days"

17 September 2010

14th World Business Dialogue

Social Media and Ethics

Social Media and Ethics: "

Whilst at the recent ESOMAR Congress in Athens I created a vignette in my mind to help explain the many issues that can arise. Consider the following hypothetical example:

In Facebook I discover the “ACME TV and Video” page which has a wide variety of posts on it from people who use or like or are interested in ACME TVs and ACME videos. Because I do not want to keep visiting the site I create a script in my favourite web scraper to log in every day and to collect all new posts and to put them in a database for me.

For my client, a major electronics company based in the US, I produce a report, based on social media, looking at the different social contexts of the consumers home electronics. I note within this ACME page a 200 word poem written by a member of the page who writes about how her neighbour’s 8 year old daughter is often left at home on her own and uses the TV to feel less alone and lonely.

In my report I include a copy of the poem and I mention that it is taken from the ACME TV page. However, in order to protect the 'respondent anonymity', I change her name to some fictitious name.

So, what’s wrong with any of that? Well let’s count some of the ways that come readily to mind as potential problems.

  1. By using a web scraper to collect data from Facebook I have broken the terms and conditions of my use of Facebook.

  2. By using material for Facebook for my commercial research I may have further broken the terms and condition that I signed up to when I joined Facebook.

  3. If the person I collected the data from was under 16 (according to the UK MRS rules) then I have collected data from a child without prior parental permission.

  4. By not quoting the author of the post I have broken many conventions about properly citing and crediting sources.

  5. By quoting the poem in its entirety, without permission and without citing I may have breached copyright issues.

  6. By using a literal quote I may have made it possible for the author to be identified. Because I have named the group the client could use a web scraper to load all recent posts and then search for the text in the report.

  7. Not only may I have compromised the anonymity of the author, but if they post photos, if they have not protected their profile, I may have provided access to personal information such as mobile phone number.

  8. Because I may have identified the author, I may also have identified the existence and identity a vulnerable child left alone.

  9. Because the data is personally identifiable it falls under (in the UK) under the Data Protection Act, which means I need to hold it securely, and I can’t simply send it overseas to the US which has a different set of legal protections.

I am sure there are other problems that people can highlight, but I hope that the vignette will help illustrate that when we are working inside the area of social media we need to be very careful and we need to think about what we are doing.

In thinking about social media we need to think about: laws, terms and conditions, market research ethics, and other relevant codes, practices, and expectations. The general concept of informed consent will still provide a good guide, but we need to be clear about whose consent and how we ensure that it is informed consent.


15 September 2010


14th WBD -> APPLICATION DATE -> | 1st October--15th November | ->

 keep it on mind all the time, like me, and 

"Managing Complexity - Create Perspective"

International Day of Democracy

"Let us recognize that democratic governance is a yearning shared 
and voiced by people the world over.  
Democracy is a goal in its own right, and a  indispensable means 
for achieving development for all humankind."

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Message for the International Day of Democracy 2010

Democracy is a universal value based on the freely expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems and their full participation in all aspects of their lives.

While democracies share common features, there is no single model of democracy. Activities carried out by the United Nations in support of efforts of Governments to promote and consolidate democracy are undertaken in accordance with the UN Charter, and only at the specific request of the Member States concerned.

The UN General Assembly, in resolution
A/62/7 (2007)  encouraged Governments to strengthen national programmes devoted to the promotion and consolidation of democracy, and also decided that 15 September of each year should be observed as the International Day of Democracy.

14 September 2010

Next Gen Market Research Job Networking

Next Gen Market Research Job Networking: "

Are you looking for a next gen market research aficionado?

Check out how young Next Gen Market Researchers are leveraging new media to network on social media. Next Gen Market Research member Ben Fowler shows us he’s thinking outside the box by ‘mashing’ technologies (vimeo video and LinkedIn Groups - Jobs Tab on the NGMR LinkedIn discussion board).

Ben Fowler - Aspiring Market Research Aficionado from Ben Fowler on Vimeo

The Next Gen Market Research group (NGMR) on LinkedIn, now with well over 9,000 members, originally did not allow membership to recruiters. However, because of the great recession, starting in 2008 we began allowing recruiters to join the group as long as job related posts were kept in the jobs tab. I understand we now have a healthy market research job search community of consisting of both recruiters and applicants who use that part of the board.

God luck Ben, a great way to think out of the box and get noticed!


Source: http://www.tomhcanderson.com/

Research of new products

TARSK 13 The Adoption Curve:

The adoption curve, particularly in the context of that key group the ‘early adopters,’ is one of the most commonly used ideas in the research of new products. The adoption curve is also referred to as the diffusion of innovation process or diffusion of innovation theory.

The proposition behind the curve is that there is a normal curve that describes how a technology is adopted by a community, society, industry etc. The classic terms for the different parts of the process are:

  • Innovators

  • Early adopters

  • Early majority

  • Late majority

  • Laggards

Like many good ideas the adoption curve and the theory of the diffusion of innovation have many potential originators, but the classic form of the curve is the one published by Everett Rogers in 1962 in ‘Diffusion of Innovations’ (a book which has been updated regularly and now exists as Edition 5, published in 2003).

From my own experience there are two common mistakes that some marketers and some market researchers make, and which the researcher should watch out for.

1) There is sometimes an assumption that people are early adopters in a general sense. This is clearly not true. Think about somebody you know who is an early adopter of a specific category, for example kitchen technology, and think about whether they are also an early adopter of most other categories, for example of cars, computers, gardening equipment. Being an early adopter requires time, money, and interest, so it is hard to be an early adopter outside of a group of products.

2) There is an assumption that the adoption curve is predictive. However, the data about product adoption is subject to survivor bias (see TARSK 10). Products that have successfully diffused into a society, community, or industry tend to have followed the adoption curve. However, most products that are adopted by the innovators never get beyond that group, many products that are adopted by the early adopters never break through into the mainstream.

The link between the Tipping point and the adoption curve
It should be noted that the area under all normal curves (i.e. under all bell curves) produces an S-curve when plotted a cumulative distribution (also known as an ogive). At first the area under the left tail only increase slowly, then we get to the rapid increase in height of the curve, which sends the S-curve upwards, after the top of the bell curve the S-curve is still raising steeply, but it has started to rise less steeply, when we get to the right tail the S-curve has flattened out as it approaches it maximum (for example 100% if we assume everybody will eventually adopt this particular thing).

This link between a normal curve and the S-curve is illustrated below using the same scale for both the normal distribution and its cumulative frequency curve.

Adoption Curve

The steeply rising part of the S-curve is the tipping point that Malcom Gladwell popularised in his book. Again, the tipping point is not a prediction, it says that products that become adopted start by being adopted by a few, and if they are going to be successful will at some point rapidly spread to most of the people who are going to adopt them, and then the rate of adoption slows down.

Be part of the 14th World Business Dialogue

Join the Dialogue

12 September 2010

14th World Business Dialogue - News (TOPIC)

As the economy is getting back on track after the century's toughest financial and economic crisis, the 14th World Business Dialogue wants to disclose the causes underneath the surface and examines the phenomenon of complexity as one key trigger. The last decade's fast and dynamic incidences and developments provoke immense challenges for the world's population, as well as politics and the economy. Increasingly complex systems and processes shore up this trend/the scene.
Often it is up to very few people in key positions who know about multilayer and complex correlations and make decisions with substantial consequences for companies, states and even the world economy.
Therefore, the 14th World Business Dialogue aims at analysing complexity and complex systems and elaborating on future prospects. Key topics for a profound discussion about complexity are:

Which requirements for managers and leaders are claimed by the "global village" and the challenges of our time? How can interconnections in the globalized world be organized and navigated? Entrepreneurs and managers are central actors within the complex economic system. Modern value added chains generate networks of companies that are crucial competitors in contrast to former singular companies in rivalry.
The European Union is, on the one hand, the worlds most successful project of regional integration and gained enormous power in international politics and economics. On the other hand, the decision about Greece's future demonstrates how complex and
intransparent interdependencies are within the union. It is not evident, who is responsible for which decisions. How can interests and different standpoints of political and business actors be united and accommodated in the end?

Social Media are named a range of digital media that function as platform for exchange, especially exchange of opinions and experience associated with a remarkable boom. Therefore, the resulting influence on target groups awakens interest from politics and businesses that see their public relations' success more and more in the cheep and effective use of social media. How will modern communication develop, especially once the so called digital natives enter the business world?

The 14th World Business Dialogue wants to approach the phenomenon complexity and elaborate on these questions. It is crucial to identify chances and risks and their significance for us and our future.

14th World Business Dialogue - News

14th World Business Dialogue - News

The Corporate Communications is preparing for a cooperation with a few students of the 'Rheinische Fachhochschule' Cologne. Brainstorming in the sun with an iced coffee seems to be quite efficient. We are sure they once again gonna do an awesome job!



6 September 2010

Mining social networks

Untangling the social web

Software: From retailing to counterterrorism, the ability to analyse social connections is proving increasingly useful

TELECOMS operators naturally prize mobile-phone subscribers who spend a lot, but some thriftier customers, it turns out, are actually more valuable. Known as “influencers”, these subscribers frequently persuade their friends, family and colleagues to follow them when they switch to a rival operator. The trick, then, is to identify such trendsetting subscribers and keep them on board with special discounts and promotions. People at the top of the office or social pecking order often receive quick callbacks, do not worry about calling other people late at night and tend to get more calls at times when social events are most often organised, such as Friday afternoons. Influential customers also reveal their clout by making long calls, while the calls they receive are generally short.
Companies can spot these influencers, and work out all sorts of other things about their customers, by crunching vast quantities of calling data with sophisticated “network analysis” software. Instead of looking at the call records of a single customer at a time, it looks at customers within the context of their social network. The ability to retain customers is particularly important in hyper-competitive markets, such as India. Bharti Airtel, India’s biggest mobile operator, which handles over 3 billion calls a day, has greatly reduced customer defections by deploying the software, says Amrita Gangotra, the firm’s director for information technology.
The market for such software is booming. By one estimate there are more than 100 programs for network analysis, also known as link analysis or predictive analysis. The raw data used may extend far beyond phone records to encompass information available from private and governmental entities, and internet sources such as Facebook. IBM, the supplier of the system used by Bharti Airtel, says its annual sales of such software, now growing at double-digit rates, will exceed $15 billion by 2015. In the past five years IBM has spent more than $11 billion buying makers of network-analysis software. Gartner, a market-research firm, ranks the technology at number two in its list of strategic business operations meriting significant investment this year.
Adoption is being driven by the availability of more sources of information, and by the fact that network-analysis software is becoming easier to use. A decade ago IBM employed experts with PhDs in mathematics to study social networks, according to Mark Ramsey, the firm’s head of business analytics for eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Today, college graduates can operate analysis software handling enormous quantities of data. Bharti Airtel employs only about 100 analysts to keep tabs on its 135m subscribers.

Take me to your leaders
Of course, companies have long mined their data to improve sales and productivity. But broadening data mining to include analysis of social networks makes new things possible. Modelling social relationships is akin to creating an “index of power”, says Stephen Borgatti, a network-analysis expert at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. In some companies, e-mails are analysed automatically to help bosses manage their workers. Employees who are often asked for advice may be good candidates for promotion, for example.
Ellen Joyner of SAS, an analytics firm based in Cary, North Carolina, notes that more and more financial firms are using the software to uncover fraud. The latest version of SAS’s software identifies risky borrowers by examining their social networks and Internal Revenue Service records, she says. For example, an applicant may be a bad risk, or even a fraudster, if he plans to launch a type of business which has no links to his social network, education, previous business dealings or travel history, which can be pieced together with credit-card records. Ms Joyner says the software can also determine if an applicant has associated with known criminals—perhaps his fiancée has shared an address with a parolee. Some insurers reduce premiums for banks that protect themselves with such software.
Last year an American government body called the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (RATB) began using network-analysis software to look for fraud within the $780 billion financial-stimulus programme. In addition to the internet, RATB combs Treasury and law-enforcement databases to uncover “non-obvious relationships”, says Earl Devaney, its chairman. The software works very well, he says. It has triggered about 250 ongoing criminal investigations and 400 audits.
Joe Biden, America’s vice-president, said in June that such software would be used to prevent fraud within the government’s Medicaid and Medicare health-care schemes. The Army Criminal Investigation Command already sniffs out procurement fraud by scanning text in e-mails. The software, developed by SRA, an American firm, can correlate numbers and phrases written in nine languages with financial databases. If a person discusses a particular Department of Defence payment with an individual not officially linked to the deal, SRA’s software may notice it.
The police department of Richmond, Virginia, has pioneered the use of network-analysis software to predict crimes. Police officers know that crime increases at certain times, such as on paydays and when there is a full moon. But the software lets them analyse the social networks around suspects, such as dealings with employers, collection agencies and the Department of Motor Vehicles. The goal, according to Stephen Hollifield, the department’s technology chief, is to “pull together a complete picture” of suspects and their social circle.
Party plans turn out to be a particularly useful part of this picture. Richmond’s police have started monitoring Facebook, MySpace and Twitter messages to determine where the rowdiest festivities will be. On big party nights, the department now saves about $15,000 on overtime pay, because officers are deployed to areas that the software deems ripe for criminal activity. Crime has “dramatically” declined as a result, says Mr Hollifield. Colin Shearer, vice-president of predictive analytics at SPSS, a division of IBM that makes the software in question, says it can largely replace police officers’ reliance on “gut feel”.
Network analysis also has a useful role to play in counterterrorism. Terror groups are often decentralised, so mapping their social networks is akin to deciphering “a big spaghetti picture”, says Roy Lindelauf of the Royal Dutch Defence Academy, who develops software for intelligence agencies in the Netherlands. It turns out that the key terrorists in a group are often not the leaders, but rather seemingly low-level people, such as drivers and guides, who keep addresses and phone numbers memorised. Such people tend to stand out in network models because of their high level of connectedness. To find them, analysts map “structural signatures” such as short phone calls placed to the same number just before and after an attack, which may indicate that the beginning and end of an operation has been reported.
The capture of Saddam Hussein in 2003 was due in large part to the mapping of the social networks of his former chauffeurs, according to Bob Griffin, the chief executive of i2, a British firm which developed the software used in the manhunt. Senior members of the Iraqi regime were mostly clueless about the whereabouts of the former president, says Mr Griffin, but modelling the social networks of his chauffeurs who had links to rural property eventually led to the discovery of his hideout, on a farm near his hometown of Tikrit.

From social to societal networks
Where is network analysis headed? The next step beyond mapping influence between individuals is to map the influences between larger segments of society. A forecasting model developed by Venkatramana Subrahmanian of the University of Maryland does just that. Called SOMA Terror Organization Portal, it analyses a wide range of information about politics, business and society in Lebanon to predict, with surprising accuracy, rocket attacks by the country’s Hizbullah militia on Israel.
Attacks tend to increase, for example, as more money from Islamic charities flows into Lebanon. Attacks decrease during election years, particularly as more Hizbullah members run for office and campaign energetically. By the middle of 2010 SOMA was sucking up data from more than 200 sources, many of them newspaper websites. The number of sources will have more than doubled by the end of the year.
Once these societal networks of influence can be accurately mapped, they can be used to promote the spread of particular ideas—those that support stability and democracy, for example. Last year America’s army, which jointly funds SOMA with the air force, began disbursing about $80m in five-year research grants for network analysis to promote democracy and national security. An authoritarian government, for instance, may have difficulties slowing the spread of a new idea in a certain medium—say, internet chatter about a book that explains how corruption undermines job creation. Diplomatic services can use this information to help ideas spread. Brian Uzzi of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, who advises intelligence agencies on democracy-promotion analytics, says diplomatic services are mapping the “tipping point” when ideas go mainstream in spite of government repression.
SPADAC, a firm based in McLean, Virginia, performs such analyses on Egypt and other countries in Africa, the Middle East and South-East Asia. Clients include the United States, Mexico and various diplomatic services. Riots, bloody elections and crackdowns, among other things, can be forecast with improving accuracy by crunching data on food production, unemployment, drug busts, home evictions and slum growth detected in satellite images. Mark Dumas, the head of SPADAC, notes that societies with longstanding and strong social and business ties abroad weather change well. In relatively closed countries, like Egypt, rapid shifts in social networks can trigger upheaval, he says. Last year SPADAC’s revenue reached $19m; this year it will exceed $27m.
Country analyses have great potential in peacekeeping and counterinsurgency operations, according to Kathleen Carley of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. She is developing a societal model of Sudan with a team of about 40 researchers. Foreign aid workers and diplomats frequently stumble in Sudan because they fail to work out which tribal and political leaders they should work with, and how.
Ms Carley’s model, known as ORA, analyses a decade of data on such things as weather, land and water disputes, cabinet reshuffles, reactions to corruption, court cases, economic activity and changes in tribal geographic maps. Within the information that emerges are lists of the locals most likely to co-operate with Westerners, with details of the role each would best play. This depth of insight, a demonstration of the power of network analysis today, will only grow.

Special issue in European Planning Studies Spatial planning and place branding: rethinking relations and synergies

Introduction:  Kristof Van Assche, Raoul Beunen and Eduardo Oliveira  Rethinking planning-branding relations: an introduction . https:...