Home / News & Videos / News / Business & Management /

Engineering Serendipity

Engineering Serendipity

April 8, 2013

Business & Management, Natural Sciences

The New York Times — Serendipity is one of the reigning buzzwords in the business world today. The term, coined by the British aristocrat Horace Walpole in a 1754 letter, long referred to a fortunate accidental discovery.

Today, serendipity is regarded as close kin to creativity — the mysterious means by which new ideas enter the world.

As Yahoo and Google see it, serendipity in the workplace is largely connected to social networks that enable face-to-face –and often spontaneous — communication among colleagues.

Ph.D. candidate Michael Fire, Dr. Rami Puzis and Dr. Yuval Elovici from BGU’s Department of Information Systems Engineering have developed a data mining technique that can automatically generate a map of how a company’s employees are connected on social networks.

The team has already constructed social network maps of a half-dozen technology companies—including one with more than 50,000 employees—in a matter of hours using readily available data.

“Armed with such maps, managers can spot isolated teams and structural holes, tweaking the organizational structure in real time,” says Michael Fire.

“Rather than wait for their employees to cross paths, they could simply make the necessary introductions.”