Content analysis: Using taxonomies to improve collaboration

Ark Group presents our One-day MASTER CLASS

March 24, 2010 Holborn Bars, London

Thanks to the Internet, the world has become a swelling ocean full of data. One grand challenge of our age is to find a way to harness that data. And that’s where the burgeoning field of analytics comes in. Companies as large as IBM and as small as Twitter are looking to hire people who can boil down this ocean of data into knowledge and insights that can help improve the performance of their businesses.Business Week, December 2009

First it was Tag Clouds and Folksonomies. Now it is a growing number of services, such Twitter Trends, Trendrr, and Trendsmap. Web 2.0 is embracing self signifying knowledge — making useful inferences from patterns in metadata [1]. The massive investment in analytics software by the likes of IBM indicates the size of the market, and the size of the problem. The need for better analysis has never been greater.

The Master Class will show how to use content analysis techniques to turn the tables on the knowledge glut. The increasing volume of information flows becomes an intelligence advantage, rather than an overwhelming challenge.

Using Content Analysis techniques, collaborators can co-create a new level of self signifying intelligence. They can reflect on their collective thinking in new ways, based on measurable evidence, rather than hearsay.

Content analysts have been making systematic inferences from communications flows using faceted taxonomies for at least 70 years in both academia and in intelligence communities.[2] Its tried and tested methods have now been vastly enhanced by Web 2.0, and Open Source software giving it the capability of  becoming a widely used knowledge refining tool for collaborating social networks, just when the need for such a tool is becoming increasingly urgent.

These techniques do not rely on any black box or AI software solution. Nor do they require any specialised academic knowledge to implement. They do demand a degree of discipline and consistency, not to mention the real thing … shared human intelligence. The techniques, when learned, are simple and inexpensive — ideal for times when money is scarce. On the other hand, it will increase the value and productivity of work groups because they will be working with a much higher level of common knowledge.

The Master Class will be given by Jan Wyllie, who has been practicing content analysis for more than 30 years, providing clients with bespoke intelligence reports, mainly on the subjects of computing, communications and the Internet.

It will also feature the first public showing of the all new Open Intelligence software dedicated to making the social networking experience of creating collaborative intelligence, an engaging, as well as a valuable and productive use of a community’s knowledge working time.

Attendees will gain hands on experience of the power of taxonomies in action simultaneously monitoring multiple knowledge flows, as well as a taste of what a new level of self signifying knowledge looks like.

£495+VAT. Click here to book a place

[1] KM Frontiers: Self Signifying Knowledge, Inside Knowledge, September 2009, (p. 12) and , Self signifying knowledge – Part 2, Inside Knowledge, October 2009 (p. 17)
[2] Content analysis – A technique for systematic inference from communications, T F Carney, B T Batsford, 1972



Wednesday, 24th March 2010

09:00 Registration and refreshments


Intelligence is about consciousness responding to unexpected change

09:30 Introduction to taxonomies and their purposes

  • Three types of taxonomies
  • Three types of purposes

What makes intelligence analytics taxonomies different?

  • Benefits of human intelligence versus AI analytics
  • Asking questions
  • Compiling self signifying knowledge
  • Making inferences

11:20 Morning coffee break

11:50 Intelligence findings

  • Another form of consciousness?
  • What are trends?
  • What is significance?
  • Case study – The Consumers Report

12:30 Networking lunch break


Collaboration is about working together to achieve a common purpose

13:30 How to

  • Monitor and classify information flows
  • Analyse results
  • Discuss findings
  • Write syntheses
  • Identify trends
  • Infer significance

14:50 Afternoon coffee break

15:10 Hands on session (using Open Intelligence proprietary software)

16:00 Reflective summary

Questions and discussion of future scenarios

16:30 Close of masterclass


Master Class Leader, co-founder of Open Intelligence: Jan Wyllie

Jan Wyllie has used faceted taxonomies in his content analysis practice for more than 30 years having learned the technique from John Naisbitt of Megatrends fame at the Canadian Trend Report in the late 1970s.  Having re-emigrated to the UK, in the 1980s and the early 1990s, his company, Trend Monitor, published Trend Monitor Reports with Aslib, which provided intelligence on the subjects of Computers, Communications and Media.

In the early 1990s, he identified the importance of taxonomies to knowledge management in the context of the Web information explosion. In 1997, with David Skyrme, he wrote the first edition of Ark Group’s very successful, Taxonomies: Frameworks for Corporate Knowledge, which has been updated twice since then begetting its own series of Master Classes. Since then, other publications include Ark Group’s, Beyond CRM: Surviving in a Buyer Centric Economy (2004), and Consumers: Going for Broke (2003). In addition to writing articles and working a 42-acre woodland, Jan and his business partner, Simon Eaton, are launching Open Intelligence, which combines content analysis and MySQL database software to produce ultra rich intelligence flows, starting with the topic of Energy.


3 Responses

  1. […] details of this important and pioneering effort are available on the Open Intelligence web site, where you can also book your […]

  2. […] Content analysis: Using taxonomies to improve collaboration « Open Intelligence. […]

  3. […] next ‘Master Class’ is ‘Content analysis: Using taxonomies to improve collaboration’ (see…/). The conclusion that Web 2.0 collaboration is the new game is timely too, since the link to the […]

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