Sunday, September 6, 2009

Morphing My Research Interests

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

A Comparison with Circa 2006

In the fall of 2006, when I first began my part-time Masters in Organization & Leadership with a specialization in Adult Learning and Leadership, I searched among all Columbia University dissertations for key words, trying to imagine a focus for my ultimate, "integrative project" and listed my free association here.

Today, for fun, I looked at the ProQuest PhD dissertations and Masters theses database, which lists all of them worldwide -- not just Columbia's -- and searched for: "'Second Life' and 'Virtual World.'" There were 11 results total, five of which were Masters theses.

My discovery inspired today's tweet, which asked, "What are you doing?" (Twitter didn't exist, as far as I knew, in the fall of 2006, and I had just then been introduced to Second Life, without yet having experienced it):

"Preferring originality, but so far haven't found any formula for creating writing that is both original and popular." In other words, it's cool that my potential topic (see second idea in my previous blog-entry) has not yet had lots written about it, since it's so new, but it might also be too marginal and insufficiently valued as a result.

At work, recently, a colleague reacted to an unrelated proposal, which I considered much less ground-breaking, saying that it was, "...fine, but ahead of its time." I know that my kvetching about this is reminiscent of the job-interviewee, who when you ask him or her for one weakness, responds, "I've been told I'm overly dedicated," i.e, that's not a weakness. In other words, what could possibly be wrong with being innovative, right?

I remember a colleague telling me he was getting his MBA because he had earned a patent for what was essentially web-TV, and yet no one was interested in doing anything with it at the time; "I'm getting the MBA, so that I can learn how to sell my ideas," he said.

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