Improved Performance by Having Your Life Uploaded

Sandy Pentland has a great paper in the Harvard Business Review called The New Science of Building Great Teams. There’s so much to glean from this paper; I’ll be reflecting for days on applying the ideas to my team. But one thing that jumped out at me was straight from the pages of Your Life, Uploaded:

Every day for a week, we provided team members a visualization of that day’s work, with some light interpretation of what we saw. (Keep in mind that we didn’t know the substance of their work, just how they were interacting.) We also told them that the ideal visualization would show members contributing equally and more overall contributions. By day seven, the maps showed, the team’s energy and engagement had improved vastly…

The notion that visual feedback helps people improve quickly shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who has ever had a golf swing analyzed on video or watched himself deliver a speech. Now we have the visual tools to likewise improve teamwork through objective analysis.

There’s not much question that quantitative feedback will increase in the workplace wherever it can be used to advantage. And we’ve seen it applied to sports like crazy, even at the amateur level. The question is: how much will people value and adopt this in other areas of life? I’ve gleaned a lot by looking back on old email exchanges. Seeing the exact words rather than the haze of memory makes one more tolerant of miscommunication. But I doubt people want every aspect of life under the microscope. Only time will tell how much territory the lifelogging revolution will take.


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