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Networked Innovation | Vyacheslav Polonski


#networked innovation

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Networked Innovation | Vyacheslav Polonski


#networked innovation

The mystery of life begins with the intricate web of interactions, integrating the millions of molecules within each organism. The enigma of the society starts with the convoluted structure of the social network.

 

CURRENT POSITION:

Oxford Internet Institute
Kellogg College

 

EXPERTISE:

Network science
Behavioural science
Sociology of the Internet
Digital strategy

 

EDUCATION:

University of Oxford
Harvard University
London School of Economics

 

Vyacheslav 'Slava' Polonski (@slavacm) studies complex social networks, human dynamics and technology adoption. His research at the Oxford Internet Institute is located at the intersection of behavioural science, sociology, big data and social network analysis.

Vyacheslav has previously studied at Harvard University, University of Oxford and the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is currently working towards a DPhil/PhD in Computational Social Science at the Oxford Internet Institute. His doctoral research received the inaugural Kellogg College Community Engagement and Academic Merit Award this year. In 2013, he was awarded the Master of Science (MSc) degree with Distinction in the Social Sciences of the Internet from Oxford University. He also obtained the Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree with Distinction in Managerial Economics and Strategy from LSE in 2012. He has been a Stelios Scholar and received multiple awards from the British ESRC, as well as the German Studienstiftung and the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung.

In 2011, the British Council named Vyacheslav one of the UK’s most distinguished “International Students of the Year”, and in 2012, he won the “Future Business Leader of the Year” award at the national “Student of the Year” competition by TARGETjobs. In 2016, Real Leaders Magazine featured him as one of 100 Visionary Leaders Under 30 alongside the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai.

In 2015, he was a teaching fellow for the graduate course "Social Dynamics of the Internet" at the Oxford Internet Institute. He contributed to several academic research projects that were funded by Google and the European Union, and presented his research at prestigious conferences around the world, e.g. in Toronto, London and Helsinki. 

Prior to his academic career, Vyacheslav was a management consultant with Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, and worked on digital strategy with Mars and Bertelsmann. In addition to that, he was involved in several start-ups as part of the 2012 cohort of Entrepreneur First with his co-founder Alex Loizou, who was recently selected for the European Forbes 30 Under 30 List in Technology. Vyacheslav was the first employee of Hello Fresh in the UK. After opening the London office of Rocket Internet, he contributed to dramatically scaling Hello Fresh's operations and diversifying its product offerings while maintaining its culture of innovation.

Vyacheslav is actively involved in the World Economic Forum and its New Champions communities. He was named a Global Shaper by the Forum and elected to serve as Curator of the Oxford Hub. Under his leadership, the Hub hosted events with world leaders, most recently with Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Alphabet/Google. In 2015, he was a panellist at the Forum's "Annual Meeting of the New Champions" in China. In 2016, he was part of the Forum's "Britain in the World" meeting with PM David Cameron and 10 cabinet ministers to discuss the future role of the UK in Europe. In 2016, the World Economic Forum selected him for its premier Expert Network in the Behavioural Sciences, Science and Technology and he will be attending the next WEF Annual Meeting in Davos in 2018.

His research and commentary have been featured in the media, including in the New York Times, Bloomberg, BBC, Newsweek, Tagesspiegel, Forbes, Fortune, Euronews, BerlingskeVoice of America and TechCrunch.

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Conference Presentations | Vyacheslav Polonski


"THE BEST WAY TO PREDICT THE FUTURE IS TO INVENT IT"

- Peter Drucker

Conference Presentations | Vyacheslav Polonski


"THE BEST WAY TO PREDICT THE FUTURE IS TO INVENT IT"

- Peter Drucker

Featured talks and conference presentations

 

2016

Harvard Kennedy School & Oxford Blavatnik School of Government: Data Science for Government Conference

Oxford, UK

World Economic Forum: Annual Curators Meeting 2016

Geneva, Switzerland

World Economic Forum: Britain in the World Meeting 2016

London, UK

 

2015

World Economic Forum: Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2015

Dalian, China

ICCSS 2015: International Conference on Computational Social Science

Helsinki, Finland

ICWSM 2015: International Conference on Web and Social Media

Oxford, UK

 

2014

CyborgCamp at MIT Media Lab

Cambridge, USA

SM&S 2014: Social Media and Society Conference at Ryerson University

Toronto, Canada

 

2013

TEDx Conference at IE University

Segovia, Spain

KNetworks Conference at CEGER

Lisbon, Portugal

Nuffield Network Analysis Seminar at Oxford University

Oxford, UK

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Featured Insights | Vyacheslav Polonski


"what excites me is when two things that aren’t supposed to connect, connect"

- Vint Cerf

Featured Insights | Vyacheslav Polonski


"what excites me is when two things that aren’t supposed to connect, connect"

- Vint Cerf

Featured insights

I love studying networks. Looking into the deep structures of complex social systems can reveal important features and patterns of relations that have the power to open our minds and broaden our horizons.

As the quote from Albert-László Barabási above suggests, networks provide extraordinary insights and new ways of thinking about our society and the ordinary things that surround us. I am especially interested in social networks — the intricate patterns of relationships we are continuously shaping in our everyday lives, as we interact with people online and offline.

The interesting thing about visualising a network is that it allows you to take an abstract bird’s eye perspective to discover the surprising interconnections around you. Social network analysis can be used not only to better understand how social groups are structured and how ideas spread through these groups, but also to create strategies to influence human behaviour on a large scale, helping people to live better, healthier and more sustainable lives.

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Mapping political polarisation and Internet populism on social media 

The Internet has rewired civil society, propelling collective action to a new dimension of citizen autonomy. Yet it has also contributed to radicalisation and conflict. As part of a larger study on the future of digital democracy, I have analysed large amounts of social media data to understand how political polarisation on social media has fuelled the rise of populism with regard to the Brexit vote in the UK's recent EU referendum and its implications for future elections.

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Analysing networked structures of online communities 

Social network analysis provides a large toolkit of quantitative techniques that allow us to understand the structure of relationships of people in the context of their social groups. Using these tools, I have analysed the friendship relationships and conversational patterns of the World Economic Forum's Global Shapers Community, which spans across 450 hubs and brings together young people to work on social impact projects in their cities.

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Exploring the evolution and spread of ideas in semantic networks

Ideas and concepts that are related to each other can be visualised in semantic networks that represent the degree of connection between these concepts, e.g. to understand the degree of relatedness of meanings associated with individuals, places or entities. Having extracted hashtags from Instagram activities around the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos 2016, I have looked at the way how the event was perceived and experienced by its participants and the general public.

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Fourth Industrial Revolution | Vyacheslav Polonski


"Creativity is just connecting things"

- Steve Jobs

Fourth Industrial Revolution | Vyacheslav Polonski


"Creativity is just connecting things"

- Steve Jobs

Fourth Industrial Revolution

 

TOPICS OF INTEREST:

Evolution of social media
Future of government
Artificial intelligence
Digital transformation
Digital privacy
Virtual reality

 

Involvement:

Teaching
Speaking
Consulting

 

Twitter:

@slavacm

As the Fourth Industrial Revolution transforms societies globally at an unprecedented pace, leaders from business, government and civil society will have to face many uncertainties. New technologies like drones, 3D printing, human augmentation and the Internet of Things clearly have a tremendous potential to disrupt existing industries and alter societal conventions. Prof Klaus Schwab, Founder of the World Economic Forum, asks how these technologies are changing our lives and that of future generations, and reshaping the economic, social, ecological and cultural contexts in which we live?

Although these topics have been intensively discussed in countless panel discussions and smaller councils, many open questions on the effects of these technologies remain. There is evidence to suggest that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is transforming entire systems of production, distribution and consumption, as well as education and healthcare. I wonder, however, whether the untrammelled evangelism for technological innovations may have obscured much of the nuance and uncertainty regarding the actual implications of such technologies. Wouldn't it be nice if, whenever a new technology is unleashed, it took only the most productive and benevolent forms? The Fourth Revolution will entail many implications – both good and evil, and society needs to be aware of all the possible repercussions of these technology trends.

In my research at the Oxford Internet Institute, I work on precisely these questions, looking at the way how new technologies are adopted and used, and the extent to which new technologies could exacerbate existing digital divides, leading to new forms of "techno-elitism", producing unintended problems for society. Will the Fourth Revolution create novel solutions or lead us to new terrifying realities? New ideas and new leadership will be required to address these issues and ensure fast and responsible decision-making that, as Prof Klaus Schwab explains, "works for all by putting people first, empowering them and constantly reminding ourselves that all of these new technologies are first and foremost tools made by people for people."

To paraphrase Chris Dancy, the allegedly most connected human on earth: Maybe we should stop trying to solve our human problems with technology, and instead try solving our technology problems with humanity.

Press and Media Coverage | Vyacheslav Polonski


Commentary and analysis featured in press and media

Press and Media Coverage | Vyacheslav Polonski


Commentary and analysis featured in press and media