Whiteboard @ SonicRim: October ’13 – Big Data

SonicRim would like to invite the community to join us for October’s Whiteboard gathering on Friday October 25, 2013 from 2PM to 5PM at our San Francisco office (665 Third St Suite 410, San Francisco CA 94107).

There is a huge variety of people working on Big Data approaches, methods, and technologies to study/understand different spheres (e.g. pure sciences, life sciences, human behavior at various scales, technology usage, business intelligence, etc.) with varying degrees of sophistication and expertise. This has resulted in a complex and confusing picture, not all of which is relevant to our concerns.

We hear an increasing volume of stories around the shortcomings of current approaches to Big Data, resulting in failures of decision-making, biased insights, excessive data collection, and semantic confusion around the term itself. In our community, recent conversations have turned to the question of how research can participate in this picture, and blending the qualitative and quantitative approaches to insight generation.

However, it’s our perspective that these conversations are defensive and in reaction to the technologies that have made Big Data possible. We’d like to shift to a strategic perspective that allow us to anticipate problems & act with foresight. We invite you to join us in clarifying this picture.

We would like to bring together a variety of people who we think can all learn from each other; you should come if you’re one of:
– already experimenting with qualitatively informed Big Data approaches.
– wishing to bring this to your organization (both leaders and researchers).
– have experienced some of the challenges of working with Big Data.
– are witnessing the adoption of Big Data approaches in your organization, and wishing to adapt to it.
– aren’t sure that Big Data is right for your organization.

In contrast to our usual facilitated-but-unstructured discussions, this time we will explore the following issues in sequence:

a. Which of your old assumptions about methods, tools, analytic techniques, and data need to be dropped?
b. What are the kinds of things can you study with a qualitatively informed approach to Big Data?
c. What kinds of analysis can you perform, and what new methodologies need to be devised?
d. What new data collection tools are possible/needed? What are the consequences (for individual practitioners as well as organizations) of moving from piecemeal tools & techniques used in data collection,  to instrumentation pipelines that constantly deliver data?
e. In order to set this approach in place, what organizational changes and altered/new relationships between stakeholders are necessary? In other words, how should your organization prepare for Big Data?

We look forward to seeing you there. We can comfortably accommodate about 25 people, so please RSVP by emailing whiteboard@sonicrim.com

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