Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Teeny,tiny Words

"I took all of the weak signals that we noted in our retreat exercise and dropped them into two types of text maps; one is a word cloud and the other is a phrase net...Just looking at the maps, certain words quickly rise to the top, 'Social," Sector,", 'Change,' 'Technology,' 'Social Media' are all very prominent."

Cerrone Lundy, "Not-So-Weak Signals," The Bridgespan Group, 5-25-10

Sometimes our trend-spotting only discovers the present all around us, not a new and pathbreaking future.

"Another thing I wonder: Are these charts interesting or are they insightful."

Not really, but the technology is cool. It would have probably been best to stop here and not pose "two challenges...whence insight derives."

"The first is found in the white space between our words: what are we missing?"

Good question -- but don't stare at the white space too long. It might be more useful to get outside of Bridgespan's normal network -- and words.

The second area of insight lies in the teeny, tiny words on the fringe...So what about the signals that are truly in their infancy? The small words at the edges are the t rue weak signals. How do we track them to see which ones take off and which die off."

I took a look at the teeny, tiny words, at least a bunch of them: 'life,''old,' 'daily,' 'feel,'hope.'

Sometimes analysis,even fancy analysis yields zilch. That's okay.

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