Monday, March 5, 2012

Starting Up: Infusing business with social science

Over the past seven years I've become increasingly frustrated when people talk about things like influence, engagement, community, or collaboration (to name just a few) without enough of a nod to the wealth of data in social science.

I've blogged before about my concern that business is "awaiting igon valuation." This is the idea inspired by Steven Pinker's review of Malcolm Gladwell's “What the Dog Saw,” that there are solutions available to some of today’s more complex business problems, but they need to be made into banal generalizations before catching on.

Starting today, I've decided to apply myself to this 'cause'. I'm dedicating myself-- with a new professional venture-- to defy igon valuation and introduce more of the richness from psychology to business via research. KNowable Research, name courtesy of my former colleague, Peter Kim.

The origin of my idea is simple-- and you can walk through this from the perspective of an individual or a business:
  • Online and mobile platforms for social interaction and the resulting data have made the formerly invisible dynamics of human attitudes, cognition and behavior more salient.
  • This awareness has changed the ways we relate to people, places, and products.
  • To be successful, businesses require a deeper understanding of these 'ways we relate' and the underlying thoughts and attitudes, through known principles from social science.
In subsequent posts, I'll walk through the above in more detail. I'll also provide more information about my plan, as things unfold. I'll be developing my ideas again here(!) and look forward to your feedback, reactions, ideas, perceptions, and any other elements of your psychologies you choose to share.

More to come.

*Photo credit: Kurt Lewin, the father of social psychology. Image in public domain via


vic said...

looking forward to this. I agree this is much needed! SO much research in Academia but so little of it is popularized in a way that isn't oversimplified so as to be totally unscientific. A vmuch needed service.

kate said...

Thank you! Indeed some simplification is necessary, but it's really more synthesis and application than bastardization.