• Global Pulse HunchWorks Project: Week 0 (or, Why You Should Care)

    We recently started a month-long collaboration with Global Pulse on their ambitious, important, and really cool initiative called HunchWorks. Over the next few weeks, we'll be asking for participation from the UX community. Here's the scoop…

    What’s Global Pulse?

    Established by the UN Secretary General in April 2009, Global Pulse is an innovation initiative that is developing a new approach to crisis impact monitoring. Global Pulse is looking to harness new data and emerging technologies to detect, in real-time, when populations are changing their collective behavior in response to global shocks (such as the compound food, fuel and financial crises), and to protect vulnerable communities from harm. This involves unlocking new streams of data, developing a technology platform and toolkit, and establishing a network of innovation labs around the world to test, iterate and implement the new methods and technologies on the ground.

    We could go on and on about all the fascinating stuff Global Pulse is doing, but we’ll let them tell you in their own words.

    What’s HunchWorks?

    Global Pulse is developing HunchWorks, a place where experts of all kinds can post their hypotheses–or hunches–that may warrant further exploration. These hunches are the main way analysts around the world using the Global Pulse technology platform would become aware of anomalies in the data about collective behavior that trigger further investigation and analysis work.

    What’s so cool about this is the ability to capture the intuitive, gut knowledge and situational awareness of the experts. These hunches would be extremely valuable even when empirical evidence may be lacking. HunchWorks also provides a mechanism to help prevent silos of knowledge, surfacing the hunches of other researchers and promoting the cross-pollination of ideas and evidence.

    Here’s an example from Global Pulse

    An analyst at the Pulse Lab in Bangalore is asked to look for significant changes in behavior following the start of a food crisis. She posts that she has noticed mentions from twitter feeds / facebook status etc. that people are not able to purchase medicine because they're switching consumption to food. Even though she's only seen a couple of tweets, she still thinks it's a plausible hypothesis, a pattern worth exploring – she posts it to HunchWorks as a way to share it with her colleagues and elicit feedback. Once she has posted her hunch, other experts, analysts and colleagues can discuss her hunch, vote on whether they agree or disagree, modify her hypothesis, challenge it, corroborate it, and merge it with similar hunches.

    How Adaptive Path and Global Pulse will be working together

    We’re pursuing weekly challenges to tackle HunchWork problems.

    Challenge #1: Connecting People
    How can users join the community and quickly establish trusted networks?
    Challenge #2: Establishing Trust
    What mechanisms need to be built for users to establish trusted relationships and to be able to easily set up their privacy settings according to the requirements of their work and environment? What risk mitigation measures need to be built in? How is reputation established?
    Challenge #3: Hunch Merging
    How do hunches interact with each other? Can they fork? Can they be aggregated? Who controls these mechanisms? What about contravening hunches?
    Challenge #4: Verifying Hunches
    How is a hunch verified? What kinds of evidence are attached? How do people vote on hunches and evidence? Should there be different models of verification?
    Challenge #5: Hunch Evolution
    What is the life cycle of a hunch?

    Our first goal is to help move HunchWorks closer to a reality. Our second goal is to help promote the project amongst the UX/design communities to foster participation. We’ll also be blogging about our progress.

    How can you help?

    We’d love as much participation in the discussion around our work as possible, and we hope you share your own thoughts on how to solve these big hairy problems. We want to help Global Pulse in any way we can!

    There are 2 thoughts on this idea

    1. Javi

      Hey PJ, what do you think of http://thinkupapp.com/ ? Could it be useful in your Pulse Lab Bangalore scenario? The researcher could plug in to existing social networks with Think Up to derive trends/patterns.

    2. Rob Atkinson

      Are there any thoughts here about the data inputs and output publishing requirements to test or challenge a hunch, or to turn the outputs into a service if its proven valuable?

    Comments are closed.

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