People as a focus, novel idea?

Going back through all of my papers written for ICS 601, I wanted to highlight one of the more interesting.  Please enjoy, as I enjoyed the book How Google Works.

Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg explore the foundation of Google’s success and what facilitated its growth into the global powerhouse it is today with the book “How Google Works” (2014).  The book, not a technical guide to how Google “works”, is an overview of theories, relationships, and values that worked for Google.

Google’s core value is “focus on the user” (Schmidt and Rosenberg, 2016).  While this is not unique in a consumer driven market, the way Google facilitates adhering to the core value is unique.  Embracing the “smart creative” as an employee is the way to do this.  They focus on hiring talent and give them the freedom to use that talent.  Google has a culture in which creativity, autonomy, collaboration, and ownership is expected and appreciated across the organization.  In this culture, their smart creatives work with different departments, either working on new ideas or more importantly improving upon the successes that are central to their core business.  They encourage inter-department collaboration to facilitate the flow of ideas and creativity.  Employee input is encouraged.  Google gives a voice to every employee creating a sense of ownership and responsibility to deliver a product in line with their core value, focus on the user.

The focus on hiring the “smart creative”, giving them the freedom to act and the ability to communicate positive and negative feedback creates an environment at Google geared toward success.  Schmidt and Rosenberg (2014) showcased the environment of what makes it all work and yet they did more.  They stated that it is the responsibility of leaders within the company to create this environment.  The focus of hiring the right people is only part of the equation.  Communicating, listening, firing when needed, networking and nurturing employee strengths and ideas at all levels facilitates an environment for company and individual success at Google.

Glass Houses Need Insulation

For anyone pursuing a career in technology, politics, research and development, finance, etc., Glass Houses by Joel Brenner is a must read.  The book takes us on a journey through the world of a technological system that is vulnerable.  More and more industries are plugging high value data into the internet without protecting it properly.  Companies are becoming targets, attacked from foreign cyber attackers.  Government intelligence data is at risk from internal theft and cyber-attack.

Recent attacks include the hacking into the DNC database and DDoS attacks through IoT devices.  These attacks are not new nor are they going to go away.  They are increasing and affect every market.

As an individual working in the field of technology, I will be working with companies that need proper security planning to make sure valuable data is not stolen.  Cyber-attacks can cost millions of dollars whether in lost revenue or stolen secrets.  If we as managers/leaders in this field don’t insulate or secure databases sufficiently, company revenue and research will “leak” offshore shifting the innovative edge to other countries and companies.

Noise Theory in an Election Year

What is human communication?  I recently began developing my own theory.  The Shannon-Weaver model of communication: sender, encoder, channel, decoder, receiver, and noise is the simplest form of communication and serves as launching point for my own professional theory.

The recent presidential election illustrates my theory that Noise does not only affect the path we use to communicate, it effects the intention, perception, existing bias, and stated bias.  We had two candidates (senders) on the campaign trail sending messages (information) to citizens (receivers).  They communicated their information at rally’s, televised debates, and social media.  Whether backing the democratic nominee, republican nominee, or third party candidates we can make a choice on who we will vote for.

I found myself getting upset, railing at the perceived ignorance of people who do not check on the credibility of those they decide to back.  Then, SMACK, it hit me.  I was making assumptions based on my point of view and perspective.  I assumed the reasons people voted for candidates was blind faith, not the cry for change, the cry for status quo, or any other reasons guiding them.  Assumptions I made based on the noise of my experience.

I summed up my theory with my own assumptions.  If I am the writer, speaker, or audience I bring my “noise baggage” to the communication I am involved in.  Likewise, others are part of the noise as well.  If there is a lesson to be gained from the recent presidential election, it is that there is noise all around us.  Everyone is a part of the noise due to experiences that shape us and we have a responsibility of awareness to facilitate moving forward.

Plagiarism- A Dual Robbery

 

Plagiarism- A Dual Robbery

Plagiarism– “the act of using another person’s words or ideas without giving credit to that person”- Merriam-Webster.

I’ve always wondered what motivates people to take the low road of plagiarism.  Do they not have the ability to form their own ideas?  Do they not understand the topic and therefore prefer to use the understanding of someone else?  Are they just lazy?  Do they not understand the consequences to themselves and the people they are robbing?

I spoke to a colleague a few weeks past about plagiarism, and she brought up the subject of self-plagiarism.  This is a concept I’ve heard in passing but never actually thought about or researched.  Self-plagiarism occurs when authors “reuse their own previously disseminated content and pass it off as a “new” product without letting the reader know” (ORI).  According to the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) doesn’t consider self-plagiarism as misconduct.  After all, how can you steal from yourself (ORI)?

The credibility and quality of scientists and researchers is often judged by the number of publications he/she has (Dorigo).  If you plagiarize another scientists work, you steal that credibility.  But, if you self-plagiarize, and build up your number of publications who does it hurt?  It hurts the reader, the person seeking to gain new insights (ORI).  It hurts you by stunting your growth.  It undermines colleagues in the field, they do put in the time and effort.  It is questionable if you have earned your credibility and achieved quality as a scientist if you copy your own work rather than cite and build upon it.

I believe plagiarism of others or self is harmful not only to the original author, but the person plagiarizing.  You cannot grow, learn, and become more by copying others.  You rob yourself of opportunity when you self-plagiarize by not challenging yourself to research and gain knowledge.  When you plagiarize others, you are taking away the the value of expanding knowledge with new information and insights.  Plagiarizing another’s work is a dual robbery of them and self.  Plagiarizing yourself is a dual robbery of self and your audience.

Cites:

Dorigo, T. (2015, March 31). Fighting Plagiarism In Scientific Papers. Retrieved from http://www.science20.com/a_quantum_diaries_survivor/fighting_plagiarism_in_scientific_papers-154460

ECFR — Code of Federal Regulations. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=0f3847d91381a6998a52d451d3a21311&mc=true&node=pt42.1.93&rgn=div5

Plagiarism. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plagiarism

Self Plagiarism. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://ori.hhs.gov/plagiarism-13

 

Information Renaissance- Opportunities and Challenges

Information Renaissance- Opportunities and Challenges

Renaissance– “a period of new growth or activity”. Merriam-Webster
We are experiencing a point in our evolution where we have access to an unprecedented amount of information to which individuals are contributing daily.  An article by Dr. J. Gillette purports a renaissance era as times when society experiences negative and positive challenges during transition into a new area or age.  As technology plays a larger role in an individuals’ daily habits, it is important to note these challenges during our time of growth.

The ability to plug into the internet for information, communication, curiosity, and amusement is driving the Information Renaissance.  We are collaborating on a global scale to improve healthcare, education, infrastructure, and maintain personal relationships.  We have information at our fingertips (positive) but are reactive, a consequence due to our infancy in understanding the need to be responsible and be aware of negatives associated with communicating in a technology age.

For instance, Social Media allows people to connect and collaborate regardless of geospatial, demographic, and cultural barriers.  You can share books you like, music interests, scholarly works, news, and new information.  Alternatively, if you choose your social network based on similar likes and dislikes the opportunity to experience something new, outside your comfort zone, narrows.  We are lucky to explore and experience the unknown.  On the flip side, we can also seclude ourselves and seek out only information and sources to support our positions and understanding.

A look at the reliability of “news” in the Information Renaissance sums up the positive/negative relationship we are struggling to balance.  As explorers delving through information, we as individuals are responsible for filtering the information we receive.  We have a responsibility to become information literate.  There is information and misinformation, the test for validity falls to us.  We must look past the surface to see if the information we are receiving is factual, reliable, and credible.  Not everyone is a scholar so we will struggle with this new responsibility while continuing to evolve and grow with the information we gain.

The CICS Melting Pot

The decision to join a masters program, leaving behind a 20 year career in business management, was one of the best decisions I have ever made.  I chose CICS because of the diversity in the curriculum, faculty, and students.  The CICS masters program is a unique program that facilitates students personal and professional growth, capitalizing on individual strengths and encouraging collaboration to make success a group activity.

Graduate students joining the program have a variety of under graduate degrees- Psychology, Criminal Justice, Business, Theater, Accounting, and Journalism. By joining CICS they are able to take foundation courses to prepare them for a career in the tech world while using electives to tailor their degree towards the specific path they want to take.  Graduates come out of this program ready to pursue careers as consultants, network engineers, project management, data analyst, etc.

The Center for Information and Communication Sciences also offers an opportunity for students to gain experience working with Institutes associated with the program.  These institutes allow students to work on real-world problems, research opportunities, and certifications while pursuing their degree.  With this “immersive learning” approach, students graduate with hands-on experience.

The social learning  portion of the program is truly unique.  The faculty and alumni are committed to make sure students are not only armed with the academic education needed for success but also social skills.  From learning what not to do with your resume, preparation for an interview, business dinner etiquette, and appropriate dress the faculty and alumni mentor students throughout the entire process.  The success of this program by the unique approach of classroom, social, lab and institute opportunities, and alumni involvement is evident by the 90% success rate of students graduating having already secured employment.  The social learning opportunities, hands on experience, and challenging curriculum are only part of the mix of CICS.  The faculty support, alumni mentoring, and student collaboration combine to create a melting pot of success.