Bioteams and Twitter: interactive poll results: NLAB Social Networks Conference

*** STOP PRESS *** Stunning Interactive Poll results from NLAB Social Networks Conference. Q1 Would your work team be better or worse if it organised itself more like your favourite sports team? - Only 7% say it would make things worse! Q2 Does Twitter (and other such tools) distract from work and is it worth it? - Yes it does but Yes it is!


Results of two Interactive Polls by mobile phone texting at NLAB Social Networks Conference

POLL 1: Would your work team be better or worse if it organised itself more like your favourite sports team?

I bylined the responses as "Only 7% say it would make things worse" but the pie chart below tells the whole story!

This feedback was in response to a provocation that great teams, such as sports teams, naturally use bioteaming principles instinctively without even realising it. Checkout the full session/presentation at NLAB.


POLL2: Does Twitter (and other such tools) distract from work and is it worth it?

I summarised the responses as "Yes it does but Yes it is!" but to be honest the replies are too rich and varied to do them justice with a tidy numerical analysis - heres what the delegates actually said - reach your own conclusions!.

This response reflects the collective intelligence of Social Network practitioners at the NLAB Social Networks Conference and was deemed to be the single most important question they should apply their distributed brain to.

Does Twitter distract from work and is it worth it?

  1. It must do

  2. The office cat doesn't like the mobile phone ringing all the time

  3. No

  4. Massive distraction but important

  5. Depends how you use it!

  6. Depends how you use it?

  7. Productive distraction ;)

  8. It's part me my job

  9. Yes but in a good way.

  10. 10% useful, 90% waste of time.

  11. More productive with some natural breaks during the day

  12. Yes but could be useful if planned

  13. Twitter is a tool, not a distraction. It's how you choose to use it.

  14. Of course it is. But some people pretend otherwise

  15. It is part of my work

  16. No more than the phone or walking around talking to people.

  17. Depends how focused you are at the time

  18. For internal communications its an asset.

  19. It can distract. But it can get such speedy responses when needed. And prevents isolation.

  20. You have to be supernatural!

  21. Yes but if planned activity could be useful

  22. I find it relaxing

  23. depends on how its used

  24. Distraction

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What would happen, Ken, if two teams played a game such as and one team was organized with classic opertive to base-radio and the other with swarm teams?

What would happen, Ken, if a command-and-control team played a swarm-team at a game like

Thanks Jo

This would be cool thing to test out at a workshop or a conference with the audience - the difference between central control and peer control (self-organisation) using some very simple game which could be completed in 5-10 minutes.

Eric Bonabeau author of Swarm Intelligence describes some simple games you can play at cocktail parties to illustrate emergent phenomena.

They are described in a Harvard Paper

and heres a site

where you can run a simulation of them and gives an excellent 1-page overview which explains

"You can play The Game for real with 10 or more participants. Ask everyone to each randomly select 2 individuals - person A and person B. Now ask the participants to move so that they always keep A in between themselves and B - so that A is their protector from B. Everyone in the room will mill about in a seemingly random fashion and will soon begin to ask why they are doing this. Now tell them to stop, and that they are now the protector so tell them to move so that they keep themselves in between A and B. The results are striking. Almost instantaneously the whole room will implode on itself with everyone clustering together in a tight knot."




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A team of one is sometimes best. It might sound like heresy but sometimes the most effective way to produce something is not through collaboration. Collaboration is best for tasks which cannot be fully achieved by a single person – if a job can be completed best by one person then to collaborate to do it will only make it worse.

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