Gap Analysis

August 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

Here’s a thought provoking term called ‘Gap Analysis’.

According to Wikipedia,

In business and economics, gap analysis is a tool that helps companies compare actual performance with potential performance. At its core are two questions: “Where are we?” and “Where do we want to be?” If a company or organization does not make the best use of current resources, or foregoes investment in capital or technology, it may produce or perform below its potential.

Technically, it refers to the gap between current state and end state. While, I have often done this in the recent past with respect to my life, it is nice to put a name to it! 🙂

Another reason why I think an organization and an individual can be governed using the same set of business theories/strategies!

 

– Arun Vallappan

Multi-tasking

September 7, 2009 § Leave a comment

Do you multi task?  If yes you should definitely read this. Stanford researchers have proved that multi-tasking more than often distracts your mind than helping it. I could remember my mom telling me “Do one thing at the time; What’s the hurry?”. All these years, I have been thinking, its genius to be able to do so many things at the same time. But with research findings not in my side, may be its time to a take serious look.

multi-task

Three different tests were conducted on a set of chronic multi-taskers and another set of light multi-taskers to decide on the filtering ability, short term memory, ability to control their thoughts.

In one experiment, a set of rectangles(red and blue interspersed) were shown twice and the group of participants should identify if the orientation of red ones had changed from the 1st time. The light multi-taskers were comfortably able to divert their thoughts from blue rectangles but the chronic MT’s were distracted by them.
In another one, participants were shown images of alphabets and numbers. In one case, they should focus on alphabets identifying vowels, consonants and in the 2nd case ignoring numbers, participants should say odd or even. Again the chronic multi-taskers were not able to focus on one thing.

Ophir says “Light multi taskers have a greater tendency for top-down attentional control, and thus they may find it easier to attentionally focus on a single task in the face of distractions”. Multi-taskers try to acquire as much information as possible from every source in front of them there by working on something with another secondary thought running in the mind.

All these R & D, blah blah is good,but, personally I do not think the situation is going to get any simpler. Social networks, YouTube, Google, Twitter, News feeds along with all sms and chatting are going to rule our lives. Added to that is Google Wave which is going to be a real time update, synchronization and  integration of all the above said things, there is going to be little possibility for something called Attention span in life.

Instead of diverting thoughts every 3 minutes throughout the day (on an average), do it for every 30 minutes or 1 hour. Every now and then cut yourself off from all the frenzy, spend a day or two with no network connection atleast. Or as we all know our brain, could rewire itself over a period of time, to skillfully handle all threads of thought.

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Arun Vallappan

Crowd-Sourcing

September 2, 2009 § Leave a comment

Andrea Lunsford a professor of writing and rhetoric at Stanford University from her Stanford Study of Writing research conducted for 5 years concludes,

..we’re in the midst of a literacy revolution the likes of which we haven’t seen since Greek civilization and young people today write far more than any generation before them.

Nowadays, people express themselves so much in their facebook accounts, blogs, tweets or sms’s it greatly increases their ability to write. Twitter updates in less than 140 characters helps our thoughts be brief. Blogs on the other hand lets us get in depth..or writing on the wall teaches us how to grab the attention of people or commenting on a post/video is nothing but argument.. There have been concerns on using acronyms like LOL or gr8, etc, but it does not mean people who use it do not know the spelling for ‘great’ or similar words.

crowd

Anyway, why not take social networks deeper into the classroom? For e.g, Create a controlled environment which could simulate YouTube or Flickr(could be any social network having enough scope for participation) and let the students interact meaning people would contribute to the community and get commented/criticized for an item, etc. Over a period of time when these interactions are recorded and assessed it would provide interesting insights on the behavior of an individual or the level of contribution in a collaborative space. It’s been realized that such kind of controlled environment even promotes innovation cited by this INSEAD research paper (InnoTube : A video-based connection tool supporting collaborative innovation).

In the world of book publishing, collaborative reading (using a wordpress theme) is already in practice where readers can add their comment on for each page/paragraph/sentence or even a word in a book, much like Wikipedia. This would at the end basically look like a used hard copy text book which is valued for its smart explanations and notes on the sides of pages.

More implementations like the above would harness the power of social networks in a quantifiable way. As a sort of confession, I was part of the team that created the 1st version of InnoTube cited above under Albert Angehrn at CALT-INSEAD.

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Arun Vallappan

References:

1. WIRED Article – Clive Thomson On the New Literacy

2. InnoTube Brief Introduction – Video

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