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Hackathon Pilot: Passionate Analytics by Steve Todd

by Chris Grams on April 27, 2011


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Hackathon Pilot: Passionate Analytics by Steve Todd

A few weeks ago, we kicked off the Hackathon Pilot, an experiment enabling passionate MIXers to collaboratively "write the chapter" on how to enable communities of passion within our organizations (learn more about the pilot here and here). During Sprint #2, our pilot team was tasked with defining what a community of passion is and how exactly you might enable one. This is the first of three posts where pilot members synthesize the ideas from Sprint #2. Today's synthesis post comes from Steve Todd.

Passionate Analytics
by Steve Todd

When Chris Grams challenged us to come up with a concise definition of “community of passion,” we outdid ourselves.There was simply too much information to process. MIXers contributed passionate (and long) opinions. As I scrolled through pages of comments, I realized that I simply did not have the time to form a meaningful conclusion.

IT departments know this problem all too well. In fact, there’s a trendy new phrase for it: “Big Data”. This phrase even has its own conference. Art is the new norm for big data analysis.

With that in mind, I used Wordle to analyze our contributions and get insight into our own definition. I entered our comments into Wordle, removing all variants of the words “passion,” “community,” and “people.” Here is the picture that emerged:

I looked for clusters of big words that flowed together, and came up with the following definition of a community of passion.


               an innovative new group of members

                               share their interest and ideas,

                                              for the purpose of one common goal,

                                                             and build many different, unique solutions.

Creatively combining the biggest words offers a lot of insight (try it for yourself!). What about the smaller words? If we creatively combine them we can form a different definition for what it means to “enable” a community of passion:

Question your mind,

               Think of others,

                               Identify talent,

                                              Find knowledge.

I believe the artistry behind our words is telling us that the key enabler for communities of passion is selflessness.  Assume someone else has the answer and go searching for it. Identify what they are good at, and you will find an answer inside of them.

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