Civis Analytics runs on data. Civis is a big data analytics firm that uses predictive analytics and statistics to help companies and organizations develop better business strategies. Civis was founded by Dan Wagner with the company’s goal to “empower organizations to unlock the truth hiding in their own data” by building a “data-driven world.” Civis is thinking forwardly and creatively in order to make the world a better, more efficient, place. They claim that since information is “precise, portable, and universally available,” they can measure, make inferences, and do what’s right over what’s easy.
Civis is a fairly small company, founded by the analytics team from the Obama 2012 campaign. Dan Wagner worked as the Chief Analytics Officer, overseeing a 50+ team of people. This team of people helped the campaign understand voters and increase voter turnout.
Now, a third of the original team works at Civis. This group of people are passionate and dedicated to their field, which helps cultivate creative thinking to problem solve organizational problems by developing algorithms, models, experiments, and data science infrastructure (just to name a few.) This method of taking a problem turning it inside-out, upside down, and twisting it around helps cultivate creative work. According to Lubart & Sternberg, “creative work often involves taking an existing problem,” the organization’s problem or on a larger scale, the general lack of strategic use of information, “and redefining it by approaching the problem from a new angle.” (Lubart, 273) This includes approaching the issue from an analytical and mathematical perspective in the context of an organizational problem. Additionally, in the context of the general lack of strategic use of data, this means building a passionate team of people driven by statistics and big data.
Creativity arises when there a problem that needs to be addressed and the passion to act upon it. According to the Uzzi article, “creativity is spurred when creative material in one domain inspires or forces fresh thinking in another.” This is exactly what Civis is doing. Civis is inspired by the power of information and technology; therefore they are using it to bring more power to non-profits, educational systems, and health care businesses. Civis is a “social system of actors that amplify … one another’s creativity.” (Uzzi, 448) Civis began as a group of diverse beings that came together with a variety of skill-sets for a specific cause they believed in. Ultimately, this group evolved into a data company.
In class readings:
In class readings:
Lubart and Sternberg. An Investment Approach to Creativity: Theory and Data, Chapter 12
Uzzi. Collaboration and Creativity: The Small World Problem