SOURCE: MIT Sloan School of Management

MIT Sloan School of Management

June 22, 2011 09:45 ET

MIT Sloan and Cambridge Judge Business School Announce First Worldwide Time Critical Social Mobilization Experiment / Competition

Cyber Aspect of the Competition Is Open to the World

CAMBRIDGE, MA--(Marketwire - Jun 22, 2011) - A first ever worldwide Time Critical Social Mobilization Experiment, which will unfold in the form of a worldwide competition, will debut on July 2, 2011, according to two academics, at MIT Sloan School of Management and Cambridge Judge Business School, who created the event.

Based in the United Kingdom, this social mobilization experiment offers both a real world and a cyber component allowing competitors in any country to build a support team unencumbered by geography.

Five knights will be placed around the UK in public parks with each being assigned a unique code. Three of the knights will be 'real knights' that must be found in person in actual parks to secure their code number. Two of the knights, however, will be 'cyber knights,' which will be represented by photographs that competitors must find through the use of Google Maps or Google Earth to determine their code number.

The first person to find each knight will receive a $1,600 reward, and the person who recruited those particular team members will win $800 each. In addition, a bonus will be given to any team that finds more than one knight. Funding is being provided by Langley Castle in celebration of its 25th year as a hotel.

The competition will commence on Saturday, July 2 at 9am EDT after photos of all the knights are released at http://www.langleyknights.com/knight_photos.pdf, and will continue until all the knights are found or by Monday, July 4 at 9pm EDT. Tools to leverage people's use of social media, such as connections to Facebook, will be provided. For competition guidelines and to register now, please visit: www.LangleyKnights.com. For answers to specific questions, please e-mail: LangleyKnightsInfo@LangleyCastle.com.

Following the competition, the teams with the largest number of members as well as the teams that found one or more knights will be announced on www.LangleyKnights.com.

Dr. Stuart Madnick, a professor of information technology at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a co-principal investigator of the experiment, says, "We will be studying the various different ways that people use social media to 'spread the word.' We will also be examining the impact of traditional media as we publicise the event through those channels."

Dr. Chander Velu, a university lecturer in marketing at Cambridge Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge and co-principal investigator, adds, "We believe that there are many practical business applications of social mobilization. Networking via social media is becoming increasingly prevalent and we must determine its impact on strategic marketing. The Langley Knights Challenge provides a unique experiment allowing us to understand better the dynamics of social networking and communication about new products and services."

A first 'Time Critical Social Mobilization' experiment was funded in 2009 by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), a United States government agency that sponsored research that helped lead to the creation of the Internet and other related technologies. In that experiment, competitors had to locate 10 red weather balloons tethered over 10 locations across the United States. More than 4,000 teams were created with a network of approximately 350,000 participants. The winner was a team based at the MIT Media Lab, who determined all 10 locations within nine hours. A key to their success was the use of an incentive scheme for recruiting members through social media.

According to Madnick, the Langley Knight Challenge builds and expands upon the earlier DARPA experiment by adding the cyber search component -- which opens up the competition to a worldwide audience -- along with the provision of explicit connections to Facebook to allow competitors more ease in inviting 'friends' to take part in and grow their teams.

"With the help of a central database, much more comprehensive information for research will be gathered than was possible in the DARPA experiment, especially regarding the growth and evolution within teams and across teams," says Madnick.

About MIT Sloan School of Management
The MIT Sloan School of Management, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has been one of the world's leading academic sources of innovation in management theory and practice. With students from more than 60 countries, it develops effective, innovative, and principled leaders who advance the global economy. http://mitsloan.mit.edu

About Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge
Cambridge Judge Business School is internationally recognised as one of the leading providers of innovative, intellectually challenging and practical business management education across a portfolio of undergraduate, graduate and executive programmes. As a fully integrated department of a world renowned university, Cambridge Judge Business School hosts one of the largest concentrations of interdisciplinary business and management research activity in Europe. Built on an ethos of collaboration, the School is a unique place where policy makers, regulators, industry leaders, not for profit organisations, entrepreneurs and academics can meet, interact and share ideas. Cambridge Judge Business School delivers business education for the 21st Century networked economy, fostering collaborative leadership skills, developing communities of partners to meet the challenges of the new global business landscape. Ranked 26th in the 2011 FT Global Rankings of business schools, 30th in the 2010 Economist Intelligence Unit Global MBA Rankings, 10th in the Bloomberg Businessweek 2010 Best International Business School Rankings and 3rd in the 2009 Forbes Global Rankings for one year MBA programmes, the Cambridge MBA sits alongside the very best in the world. www.jbs.cam.ac.uk/

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