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Business giants gain insight simulating real life reactions through 360 to bring about global change.


 In this day and age, the principles of 360-degree feedback reach beyond just defining what makes a good leader in an office environment. The benefits are recognised and used worldwide in many diverse areas of trade, business and production.  I recently wrote a piece on how the knowledge gained through this process  is used to aid soldiers on the front line in the American Military. Now, the multi-national computer technology company IBM is putting 360-degree feedback to great use in a very different way.

IBM have launched a multi-year research effort to connect and study huge compilations of data from a wide variety of sources in order to enable governments, businesses and individuals, to gain a better understanding of what can be done to improve human health. Using 360-degree feedback they hope to achieve this.

The aim of the project is to simulate the cause and effect link between eating and exercise habits, family life, transportation, city planning and socio-economic status. These are some of the complex interactions that make up a 360-degree view of health and the kind of advanced simulations IBM researchers are working to develop.

It’s widely acknowledged that there is a connection between processed food, a lack of exercise and obesity. But is it right to presume that this situation would change for the better if health food retailers were incentivised to open shops in parts of town easily accessible to people without them having to use their car?

Simulating real-life reactions that effect human health such as the example above will aid this research. The goal is to help predict which programs would be most successful before they are put into action.

This same cause and effect link is at the heart of any form of 360-degree feedback. Whether one is trying to establish the best way to tackle the advancement of human health, or understanding how those in management perceive leadership styles and methods. In business, the understanding gained from a 360 feedback can provide insight about the skills and behaviours considered necessary to accomplish the mission, vision and goals within your organisation.

IBM is finding ways to tackle global issues using feedback. Our own issues may not be global, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the benefits and the insight acquired through 360-degree feedback will be immeasurable.

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