The Untapped Resource Startups Can Leverage to Design the World’s Best Workplaces

Posted on by Brandon Klein

Companies both big and small want to steer management decisions away from dangerous half-truths and recycled best practices. Stanford professors, Jeffrey Pfeffer and Bob Sutton brought data based decision making to the world of business through evidence-based management to help these companies make better people decisions.

Evidence-based management, decisions that are made on data rather than intuition, provides organizations with the tools they need to make better judgements. Google also kicked off the trend towards data based decision making in HR through their use of People Analytics. At its heart, the core of both People Analytics and Evidence Based Management is to bring data where data hasn’t been used before.

The Neuroscience of Trust

Posted on by Brandon Klein

Companies are twisting themselves into knots to empower and challenge their employees. They’re anxious about the sad state of engagement, and rightly so, given the value they’re losing. Consider Gallup’s meta-analysis of decades’ worth of data: It shows that high engagement—defined largely as having a strong connection with one’s work and colleagues, feeling like a real contributor, and enjoying ample chances to learn—consistently leads to positive outcomes for both individuals and organizations. The rewards include higher productivity, better-quality products, and increased profitability.

So it’s clear that creating an employee-centric culture can be good for business. But how do you do that effectively? Culture is typically designed in an ad hoc way around random perks like gourmet meals or “karaoke Fridays,” often in thrall to some psychological fad. And despite the evidence that you can’t buy higher job satisfaction, organizations still use golden handcuffs to keep good employees in place. While such efforts might boost workplace happiness in the short term, they fail to have any lasting effect on talent retention or performance.

In the relationship era of business, networked structure rules

Posted on by Brandon Klein

In the heyday of the industrial era, business jargon had a mechanical ring to it. A flourishing organization was a “well-oiled machine,” and terms like “precision” and “maximized production” dominated workplace conversation. Management ruled the corporate engine, overseeing operations from atop a clearly defined hierarchy.

In today’s relationship era of business, however, this type of rigidity is counterproductive. Among millennials in particular (who will make up 50% of the workforce by 2020), there is almost no greater source of unease than the feeling of being a “cog in a machine.” Today’s business buzzwords—“disrupt,” “innovate,” “thought leader”—elicit images of free-flowing ideas. Employees (especially millennials) expect to have a voice that contributes to the company’s mission. Giving them a voice requires rethinking traditional management structures.

Blockchain control of self organizing communities

Posted on by Brandon Klein

A network of decentralized markets and communities. Create, operate, and govern. Powered by Ethereum, Aragon, and IPFS.

Districts are marketplaces and communities that exist as decentralized autonomous organizations on the district0x Network. All internet citizens will be able to deploy districts to the network free of charge, forever.

Critical arcs detection in influence networks

Posted on by Brandon Klein

The influence class of network problems models the propagation of influence (an abstraction of cascading beliefs, behaviors, or physical phenomena) in a network. Such problems have applications in social networks, electrical networks, computer networks, viral spreading, and so on. These types of networks have also been studied through the lens of critical arcs detection; that is, which arcs (edges) are the most important for maintaining some property of the network (e.g., connectivity). We introduce a new class of problems at the intersection of these two models. Specifically, given a set of seed nodes and the linear threshold influence propagation model, our work proposes to determine which arcs (e.g., relationships in a social network or communication pathways in a telecommunication network) are most critical to the influence propagation process. We prove NP-hardness of the problem. Time-dependent and time-independent mixed-integer programming (MIP) models are introduced. Insights gleaned from MIP solutions leads to the development of an improved MIP-based exact algorithm rooted in the idea of diffusion expansion. A heuristic based upon a new centrality measure is also proposed, and computational results are presented. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. NETWORKS, 2017

Critical arcs detection in influence networks. Available from: [accessed Sep 3, 2017].

Detailed Analysis of Team Movement and Communication Affecting Team Performance in the America’s Army Game

Posted on by Brandon Klein

We conducted the second data analysis with a new game log record dataset and focused on what
the optimal team structure is in terms of communication and movement. We utilized regression
analysesandcorrespondenceanalysestomaketheoptimalnetwork,  andweidentifiedseveral
importantfeaturesofoptimalnetworksfromthoseanalyses.  Furthermorewecoded‘Network
Fitter’ and used it to make a computer program figure out the most effective team organization.
Fromthefittingresult,  wecouldobtainfiveoptimalmovementnetworksandfiveoptimal
communication networks. Among them, we found out that a dense movement network with two
sub graphs and a long-chain shaped communication network would make casualty lower without
damagingthedeadlinessofateam.  Afteridentifyingtheoptimalmovementnetworksand
communication networks, we applied the findings from the analyses to the real world and made
three recommendations on training squad level unit, constructing effective TTP, and configuring
an optimal squad unit.

Structuring for team success: The interactive effects of network structure and cultural diversity on team potency and performance

Posted on by Brandon Klein


    We investigated the interactive effects of network structure and cultural composition on team potency and performance.

    Moderately centralized workflow networks facilitated team performance.

    Workflow network density was positively related to team potency.

    The positive effects of network density on team potency were more pronounced in culturally diverse teams.

    Culturally diverse teams required greater network centralization for optimal team performance.

Do People Mix at Mixers? Structure, Homophily, and the “Life of the Party”

Posted on by Brandon Klein

We used electronic name tags to conduct a fine-grained analysis of the pattern of socializing dynamics at a mixer attended by about 100 business people, to examine whether individuals in such minimally structured social events can initiate new and different contacts, despite the tendency to interact with those they already know or who are similar to them. The results show that guests did not mix as much as might be expected in terms of making new contacts. They were much more likely to encounter their pre-mixer friends, even though they overwhelmingly stated before the event that their goal was to meet new people. At the same time, guests did mix in the sense of encountering others who were different from themselves in terms of sex, race, education, and job. There was no evidence of homophily (attraction to similar others) in the average encounter, although it did operate for some guests at some points in the mixer. Results also revealed a phenomenon that we call “associative homophily,” in which guests were more likely to join and continue engagement with a group as long as it contained at least one other person of the same race as them. We consider the implications of these results for organizations and individuals seeking to develop their networks and for theories of network dynamics.

New rules for culture change

Posted on by Brandon Klein


We have studied culture transformations at numerous organizations, and our findings indicate the following:

    Leading by doing: Top management must lead by example, but this can be difficult when the new culture requires behavioral changes that are both foreign and challenging for the executives themselves to adopt.

    Engaging all levels: Driving change too much from the top can actually be counterproductive. For the lowest-performing change programs, the top leadership was actually quite involved in implementation, but the problem was a severe disconnect lower in the organization. The highest-performing programs involved employees at all levels of the organization in the change.

    Showing, not saying: Employees need to know what the new behaviors will look and feel like, so they can be brought to life for everyone. In essence, the desired behaviors must be embedded into every aspect of the organization, so they will eventually become hardwired into what employees do and how they act.


Systems Practice Workbook

Posted on by Brandon Klein

This workbook is ideal for people working on
complex problems across any fi eld of social
change who want to make sustainable social
impact, whether working at a community or
global scale.
It will walk you through a rigorous version of a
systems practice, which will prepare you to be a
discerning user of other systems tools that can
complement this approach.
This practice has been pioneered and developed
in collaboration with teams across The Omidyar
Group. This workbook aims to fi ll the gap between
the promise of a systems approach for making
social change and putting it into practice. This
gap closing was greatly aided by the social and
organizational learning knowledge brought by
Karen Grattan of Engaging Inquiry, and by the
human-centered design contributions of Daylight
The Omidyar Group represents the philanthropic,
personal and professional interests of Pierre and
Pam Omidyar.

The Community Canvas

Posted on by Brandon Klein

We have spent the last 15 years building and participating in communities and found tremendous joy in them. And we have come to realize that while every community is as unique as the humans in it, many of them share a similar, underlying structure.

Based on our own experience and with the generous help of leading community builders, we have identified the first version of this structure and turned it into an openly accessible framework: the Community Canvas.

We hope this will provide a template for people to build more meaningful communities and bring as much joy to your lives as communities have brought to ours!

Real-time data on global collaboration networks can support new research and create further connections

Posted on by Brandon Klein

Do you remember the first group of friends you met at school? Chances are you do – as a species, and even from a very early age, we are drawn to form communities and social groups. Collaboration and communication are two of the key skills we’re learning even before we can walk.

The need to form groups is so ingrained in us that the effects of isolation on the human psyche are stark – studies have shown that we’re dramatically affected by perceived social isolation, and that it “is a risk factor for, and may contribute to, poorer overall cognitive performance, faster cognitive decline” and many other negative traits. In other words, it’s important not to be isolated.

But how does this translate into our working life, and specifically the working life of an academic researcher?

As researchers, we form lasting mentor-apprentice relationships throughout our early career; beginning as the apprentice and moving on to mentoring as we develop our skills and experience. I expect that in addition to being able to name our childhood friends, we can all name our early mentors and our first apprentices. With scientific research also becoming more international and more collaborative, how do our wider collaborations – especially the larger projects that span national and international boundaries – fit into this social picture?

When people work together, they’re literally on the same wavelength, brain waves show

Posted on by Brandon Klein

Thanks to scientists who have ventured outside the laboratory, we have learned that tight-knit groups of females experience synchronized menstrual periods over time, that cohesive groups engaged in decision-making discount dissenting viewpoints in the interests of consensus, and that couples who stay together long enough begin to look alike.

In the wilds of a New York City biology classroom, a new study has captured another group phenomenon known to exist in labs but never before chronicled in humans’ natural habitat: group brain synchrony.

Psychology researchers at New York University equipped each of 12 high school seniors with a portable, low-cost electroencephalogram and gathered the gadgets’ brain-wave readings over a semester’s worth of biology classes (11 sessions lasting 50 minutes each). Writing in the journal Current Biology, the researchers reported that when students were most engaged with each other and in group learning, the readings on their electroencephalograms, or EEGs, tended to show brain-wave patterns that rose and dipped in synchrony.

Methods for Facilitative and Transformational Leaders

Posted on by Brandon Klein

The Technology of Participation is a constellation of life understandings and methods that value inclusive participation and profound respect in a wide variety of settings and applications.

ToP methods emerged from the tradition and practices of personal and group empowerment of the Institute of Cultural Affairs. ToP methods are based on a philosophy of disciplined thinking, continual affirmation, inclusive responsibility, and a vocation of service. ToP practice is embodied through disciplined methods that are applicable to all fields, lifestyles and cultures that value comprehensiveness, consciousness, care, and courage.

ToP methods enable personal and group transformation through facilitation, planning, development, education, consulting, leadership and training. ToP is known world-wide for its life-enhancing impact in thousands of communities and organizations on every continent.

Social networks push runners to run further and faster than their friends

Posted on by Brandon Klein

The study offers some of the first hard evidence that health-related habits can spread — and so perhaps could be deliberately seeded and encouraged — by social influence and peer pressure. Previous research has sought such a contagious effect in factors such as obesity and smoking, but the results have been inconclusive.

The new study is a further example of the power of social data collected and made available routinely on a very large scale. Runners cannot lie about their times and distances as they might be tempted to do in self-reported surveys. (Although the competitive nature of running does drive some to cheat and ride a bike.)

Sillitoe’s lonely narrator liked to claim that running offered freedom. “I’ve got thoughts and secrets and bloody life inside me that he doesn’t know is there, and he’ll never know what’s there.” Perhaps not yet — but science is getting there fast.