In the second half of the seminar, small student teams with participants from MIT, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Aalto University Helsinki, and University of Cologne, Germany will work on their own trend analysis, prediction, and viral marketing projects using Web mining and dynamic SNA tools and methods, gaining invaluable insights about global virtual collaboration and about themselves as members of cross-disciplinary global virtual teams.

Descriptions of projects completed by students in the course are available below.

Social Innovation with “CreateHere”

While there are many pockets of social innovation around the world, the results of these efforts are mainly local. How might we connect these localized nodes of action and scale up social innovation in order to (1) to diffuse and improve upon process models for social innovation and (2) to recruit and train more people in becoming social innovators? Goals for this project include using dynamic social network analysis (SNA) s/w tools to capture and interpret the “buzz” around social innovation in (3) identifying and/or constructing methods of analyzing/replicating/scaling identified transformative social innovations and also potentially building policy platforms from the analysis of social innovation; and (4) visualizing these pockets and finding ways to broker new connections. This can take the form of intervening to ‘glue’ them together, rather than build some new structural element with the idea that once contexts are threaded together successfully new structures will emerge to support it.

In this project we will work with “CreateHere”, a group of Chattanooga residents and new recruits working for arts, economic, and cultural development, unified by the belief that place-making and connectivity are the source of innovation.

Coolfarming YouApp

Based on one of the COINs seminar projects of last year, the goal of the project is to further develop and grow the user community of YouApp. YouApp is a community-building platform integrated into Facebook. It addresses patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD; including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) and their primary caregivers by connecting them on Facebook. YouApp does this in two ways: It shows the user—patient or caregiver—how they fit in, by displaying their social network and how they are embedded in it. Second, it allows users to find and make new friends on Facebook who share similar interests and concerns. While a first prototype has been developed, much development work still remains to be done. The second, and even bigger challenge, is to recruit and nurture a user community of YouApp users, who will use it to find friends and hang out in this virtual community.

Creating GalaxyIndex

The goal of this project is to create an index about the big megatrends of humanity: nutrition, energy, communication, and health. Using the Condor coolhunting tools, this project strives to create four indices similar to Dow Jones, S&P, or NASDAQ, also including volatility information such as the VIX that track consumer sentiment and latest research developments in these four areas. Towards that goal, different information sources such as Wikipedia, Twitter, Blogs, and scientific paper collections should be continuously collected and tracked to define, develop, and maintain four indices.

Analyzing Social Movements in the 2011 Chilean Student Unrest

Using social media archives of the 2011 Chilean student unrest and dynamic social network analysis, we study how leaders and participants use social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, and Blogs to self-organize and communicate with each other. We trace the emergence of the movement, from an early call of students to more equitable access to the countries three-class basic education and expensive semi-private university system, to an unrest infecting the entire population, with blue-collar mining and factory workers now asking for fairer access to the country’s wealth derived from Chile’s vast natural resources. This project is in collaboration with Universita Cattolica di Santiago de Chile.

Predicting Travel Destinations from Mexico

In a joint project with online marketing agency Wannaflock and AeroMexico we identify key traveller forums similar to TripAdvisor for Mexican travelers as well as public sources such as Twitter and Facebook. Based on online discussions of travelers about popular destinations we try to predict future popularity of new travel destinations, to help identify AeroMexico potential new destinations, and at what frequency and with which size plane to fly to existing destinations.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2011
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Lecture Notes
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