2015 was an important year in our company’s journey toward unlocking the collective potential of the communities we power. The year was full of challenges and company defining opportunities.
Here are some of the highlights:
During 2015 we expanded the work we’ve been doing with Lockheed Martin, but we also brought on numerous new clients. We are enormously proud of the work we do for these clients and the impact their communities are having.
Some of the highlights of 2015 include:
- GE and Clinton Foundation - building a health ecosystem in Houston
- Genentech - building innovation and centre of excellence communities
- Mercer - building various customer hubs and development communities
- Delivering Happiness - building communities around workplace culture
- Various Healthcare Innovation initiatives - sharing best practices and accelerate innovation
2016 will be an exciting year for customer growth. We can’t wait to mainstream more intelligent knowledge sharing communities and help our clients create a culture of scalable learning.
John Seely Brown
It is a great honour for BraveNew that the legendary John Seely Brown joined us as an advisor and investor. In so many ways we see JSB as one of the fathers of social learning. JSB is co-chairman for Deloitte Center for the Edge, and a prolific writer, speaker, and educator. JSB is adviser to the provost and a visiting scholar at the University of Southern California. This position followed a lengthy tenure at Xerox Corporation, where JSB was chief scientist and director of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. JSB has published more than 100 papers in scientific journals and authored or co-authored seven books, including The Social Life of Information, The Only Sustainable Edge, The Power of Pull, and A New Culture of Learning.
We’re working with JSB to create a culture of scalable learning in the enterprise. He challenges the team to think about how we can leverage game mechanics and the lessons of collaborative play such as World of Warcraft on the communities that we power. We also embrace and share JSB’s vision on the future of learning. In the words of JSB ‘Instead of pouring knowledge into people's heads, you need to help them grind a new set of eyeglasses so they can see the world in a new way.’
JSB was also the co-founder of the Institute for Research on Learning (IRL) where he co-developed the following seven principles on learning that BraveNew subscribes to:
- Learning is fundamentally social.
- Knowledge is integrated in the life of communities.
- Learning is an act of membership.
- Knowing depends on engagement in practice.
- Engagement is inseparable from empowerment.
- “Failure to Learn” is the normal result of exclusion from participation.
- We already have a society of lifelong learners.
Some recommended reading from JSB include:
- His website is a treasure trove of information and articles: http://www.johnseelybrown.com/
- Learning in the 21st Century: http://www.johnseelybrown.com/CJKoh.pdf
- The lifetime learner: http://www.johnseelybrown.com/lifetimelearner.pdf
Our engineering team, lead by the formidable Carl Roett, rewrote our entire technology platform from scratch between December 2014 and July 2015. The new platform shipped on time at the end of July, much to our clients delight.
The goal of this rewrite was to move our core language from PHP to Python, giving us access to Python’s excellent machine learning and data analysis libraries. During 2016, our engineering team will leverage this new injection of technical equity to transform the user data we collect into valuable customer-facing features; including things like content recommendations and usage insights.
Better Name. Same Great Company.
We decided to rebrand the company from BraveNewTalent to just BraveNew.com. The reason behind this was simple: the word ‘talent’ was pigeonholing the company around our past as a social recruiting solution.
We felt that simplifying the brand with a shorter name better positions us as an intelligent knowledge sharing platform. Furthermore, we can now embed collaborative learning communities into any domain on the web, meaning our own brand becomes less important as a consumer destination.
In November 2015 we moved into an incredible office on the 41st floor of 101 California Street. We have floor to ceiling windows with views as far as the eye can see across San Francisco and the beautiful Bay. It is amazing how inspiring a great office can be for the team.
From Big Data to Big Insights
Most organizational learning happens in a black hole. It doesn’t get tracked, and it doesn’t get measured. At BraveNew we believe there’s a close connection between learning and performance. If organizations could better track and understand how knowledge flows within and amongst their teams, they could increase the performance of their human capital.
We’ve been investing a huge amount into our tracking and analytics tools. We want to help our clients go from Big Data around learning to Big Insights around performance.We are also experimenting with what we call ‘The Learning Circle’ - this helps clients use their insights around their community to continuously iterate their community and the content they share. We have big plans for this area of development through 2016.
Reflections from Davos, The World Economic Forum
I have had the great honour of being part of the Young Global Leaders Community for the last 5 years. This year was my 8th year in Davos. It is always a fascinating time for learning, networking and friendship. I wanted to share two interviews I did in Davos that take a look back over the last year for BraveNew:
Finally, I’d like to complete this blog with some of the most important lessons the BraveNew team learned in 2015:
- Platform, Methodology, Analytics - We realized that technology is only part of the solution in building successful communities. We now work with all our clients through a 90 day on boarding methodology that we include in the cost of deploying with us. This way we help our clients maximize the success of their community.
- The Learning Circle - Communities should never be static environments. Community managers should continuously evolve the community based on the value members are getting from them. This is where analytics can be very powerful.
- All about member value - When setting up a community it is critical to break down the different stakeholder groups and map the value lifecycle they will get from the communities. Different stakeholders want and need different things from your community. You will have most success by catering to those needs.
- Unleash communities rather than build them - When starting with community building, it is much easier to take a group of people that already has a shared identity and purpose and help them achieve their collective potential rather than building a brand new community from scratch.
I’d like to take this closing moment to thank all those that contributed to a fantastic 2015. Most notably the BraveNew team, our clients, our investors and all the partners that are helping us develop a more intelligent way for companies to share knowledge.