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Some people think data and science are boring. Not us. Here’s where you’ll find news and where we get super-enthusiastic about things we’re inspired by or grappling with.

Surface, Prioritise and Predict Consumer Trends

A three minute read to understand the benefits of Trendscope and the outcome driven approach it provides to our clients.

PepsiCo & Trendscope’s partnership is more than just crisp flavours!

Read about how PepsiCo have used our Social Prediction capabilities to not only decide the flavours of their new crisps, but also to inform their marketing decisions too.

CNBC Article: Avoiding the ‘Shoal of Piranhas’ using Social Prediction

Small brands are attacking PepsiCo and other giants like a ‘shoal of piranhas.’ Here’s what it’s doing about it.

Social Prediction – The Evolution of Social Listening

Read about Social Prediction and how we can help you make important marketing decisions, in Hugo’s article in Marketing Week. 

gategroup & Black Swan: An Alliance To Transform Airline Retail Services

gategroup and Black Swan announce an alliance to transform airline retail services.

Contagious Interview – Using predictive analytics to streamline product development

Hugo Amos and James Howarth (our PepsiCo client) were interviewed by Contagious  journalist Sophia Epstein during our Open House event for MRS Impact Week.

PROPTECH GOES MAINSTREAM AT LSH

This article from Property Week details how Black Swan created The Knowledge Network for LSH – an industry leading tool to improve and target sales opportunities. 

Understanding What Consumers Want Without Ever Asking Them

Black Swan’s Chief Strategy Officer Hugo Amos examines the power of social listening in brand strategy. 

How to Manage Your Brand & Customers in 2018 – A Twitter Perspective

Maya Hari is the managing Director of Asia Pacific at Twitter. We’ve worked with her and The Drum to produce the below article, which can also be read on The Drum online. 

IT’S TIME FOR AN AI CONVERSATION: STEVE KING IN CITY AM

Artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as one of the hottest areas of technology in recent years. It’s in our phones, cars, and living rooms. It’s part of our banking decisions, love lives, and even our weekly grocery shop.

WHEN’S THE BEST DATE TO GO CHRISTMAS SHOPPING?

Our HR Director Rosie asked our Data Science Director Dick Fear to use data science to figure out when the best day in December is for Christmas shopping. Here’s what Dick had to say.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU COULD PREDICT THE FUTURE?

Our Business Development Director predicts Dragonfly will be the big news of 2017. Read on to find out why…

BLACK SWAN APPEAR IN 2017 DELOITTE UK TECHNOLOGY FAST 50

We are delighted to appear in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50, announced last night at an awards ceremony at Hilton Bankside.

Black Swan listed in Gartner’s latest Market Guide

We’re thrilled to be identified as a representative service provider of Data Science and Machine Learning in Gartner’s most recent Market Guide. 

Is It Time To Start Innovating Innovation?

Will Silverwood asks – as consumer voices become louder, and reviews more powerful, is it time we started Innovating Innovation?

FROM QUIRK’S: CREATING A CATALYST FOR CHANGE IN INSIGHT

Our Insight and Innovation Director Nik Pearmine has written the following piece for Quirk’s Marketing Research Review about Big Social Data and how it can be maximised for effective Market Research.

We’ve Won an APEX Award for Inflight Entertainment Innovation!

We are delighted to announce we’ve WON a prestigious APEX award! We were presented with Best Inflight Entertainment Innovation award last night for our work with LEVEL Airlines and our client IAG.

The March of the Machines – from The Drum

The March of the Machines: predictive models have broken out of the supply chain and are heading straight into marketing territory. 

We’re Ranked in the Sunday Times Tech Track 100

We are delighted to have been included in this year’s Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 awards!

The Pride of Cannes Lions – Insights into the Lion’s Roar

“A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes” (Sandberg, 2013)

The Golden Prospect of Machine Learning – from Econsultancy

Can machines, immune to human cognitive flaws, accurately locate correlations in data that we cannot? Rose Barnett investigates the word of Machine Learning.

From Black Swans to Flying Pigs…

Business Development network BDLN interviewed Steve and Hugo from Black Swan for their website – from pub chat to Disney and everything else in between.

Meet Black Swan at Gartner Data and Analytics Summit 2017

By 2018, over half of large organisations globally will compete using advanced analytics and proprietary algorithms, causing the disruption of entire industries (Gartner, 2016).

Can You Help White Swan Bring Wellbeing to the World?

Why should anyone need to live in pain, not knowing what is wrong with them or what to do about it? White Swan can help.

Stop Black Friday Casting a Shadow Over Your Business

You can love it. If you choose to you can loathe it. But there’s one thing you definitely can’t afford to do with Black Friday and that’s ignore it.

Gently Down The Stream…How Socialnaut Helped British Rowing

British Rowing represents all aspects of rowing – from the training and selection of rowers to represent Great Britain, up to and including the Olympic and Paralympic games, to developing the sport and growing participation across all forms of rowing in England. How could Black Swan help?

From Ape to Scientist: Explaining A Genetic Algorithm

Genetic Algorithms are a method of solving optimisation problems based on a natural selection process mimicking biological evolution. Here Data Scientist Sam Sifari explains how data science is linked to the way your pet dog fetches a stick!

Will I Be Replaced By A Computer?

Everyone’s familiar with the idea that, given enough time, a monkey bashing away at the keyboard will eventually type out Hamlet. But what would it take for your computer to actually understand Hamlet?

How We’re Waking Up To Data

We waited about 5 years for the year of the mobile, as if it was a fixed date in the calendar, yet none of us remember waking up one day all “on-mobile” – because that’s not how it works!

Why Wait To Make a Difference? – “In a Gentle Way, You Can Shake the World”

We believe making a difference, and in passion fuelling our purpose. It’s not the size of the contribution, but having the passion and desire to do it.

Why Most Company Videos Suck and How To Ensure Yours Doesn’t

Making a company video to reflect the essence of your business is a really difficult challenge. That’s why so many get it wrong. Here are some ideas that will help steer you in the right direction.

Fleet of Foot and Feather

Here at Black Swan, we do a whole heap of things really well. Just check out the other blog posts and you’ll get a feel for the breadth of things we do, and think of doing. And even think about thinking about.

UI and UX – Time and Space

It’s a pretty regular debate for us, here in the Black Swan Creative team. What is UX anyway? A little like Justice Stewart and his observation on obscenity, we know it when we see it, but an exact definition eludes us. The boundaries between UI design and UX design are incorrigibly blurred and seem to change while we’re not looking.

Why Do So Many People Give Up Learning To Code?

I recently wrote a python script to capture posts and their comments from Facebook and report on the volume, sentiment and topics of discussion. As you’ll quickly realise, my coding skills are self taught through online education platforms such as Codecademy and my ability to write fully functioning tools is still fairly new.

You Won’t go Hungry at a Hungarian Hackathon!

The Microsoft IoT Hackathon is an international event organised by Microsoft to grant visibility to viable Internet of Things projects, and to advertise their Azure platform that can be a good foundation to these concepts.

Guest Post: Big Data – Does Size Matter? by Timandra Harkness

But it’s a lot more powerful than a hunch. So next time I write a book, I’m going to ask Black Swan to tell me how many cups of tea, and bottles of whisky, I’ll need to get me from publisher’s handshake to print. At least next time we’ll have some data to go on.

Markus Frise, Head of Data Science, Interviewed for Ajilon.com

An exclusive interview with Markus Frise, Head of Data Science at Black Swan, an innovative business intelligence and digital solutions company headquartered in London, proves that point. He reveals insight from his experience as a data scientist at Black Swan, and as a former senior project manager of supply chain transformation at Tesco.

Jeff Headley Learns to Listen to Data

At some point in our lives, we all figure out the difference between “hearing” vs. “listening”. Often we learn the hard way. Maybe you were presenting a conference and three quarters of the audience were staring like zombies into their mobile phones. Or maybe a close friend was trying to share some important news while you were distracted by other matters.

Black Swan Appoints Jeff Headley as US Managing Director

The UK’s top data science start-up, Black Swan has announced the appointment of a new US MD as moves to capitalise on the demand for its services across North America. The company has also been named as having the fastest-growing international sales of any SME in the UK, according to The Sunday Times, SME Export Track 100.

Black Swan Number 1 in Sunday Times Export Track 100 Awards

We are delighted to announce that Black Swan have been awarded Number 1 in the Sunday Times Heathrow SME Export Track 100 Awards announced today.

DataSift Guest Post: Are Your Ad Dollars Working Hard Enough?

With digital ad spend set to outstrip TV, is your ad budget working hard enough?

Miniconometrics – The Black Swan A-Team

Econometric models take tons of data and transform it into actionable insights. One of these insights is understanding how many of your sales can be attributed to your marketing campaign. With the right data, you can also find out how many sales you lost to your competitors, or if you need to improve your distribution channels.

DataSift Guest Post: Farewell Don Draper, Hello Social Data

The Don Draper-style of agency executive and marketer is an enduring one. Big personalities, well connected, they come up with the big creative ideas that impress big (often hard-to-please) clients and result in all-singing, all-dancing campaigns, often devised on the back of long, liquid lunches.

How To Be A Crab!

I am really talking about trying to understand totally different disciplines and seeing how they might apply. The amazing slime mould experiments are a good example, and here at Black Swan we have used similar concepts to create more robust fulfilment/routing models for some of our clients.

On Oysters and Innovation

Here at Black Swan, our output is often new tech and processes that our clients use to make significant improvements to their bottom line. But what happens to all this technology? It seems a bit of a waste to just deliver it to a single client – in fact why just share it with our clients, why not the wider world? Clearly, there are issues of intellectual property and competitive advantage that we need to honour, but blanket application of that reasoning in order to avoid sharing knowledge across the business and wider economy seems like we are losing something.

Users – the Clone Wars

The great UX revolution of the last decade has brought a wonderful change to the way we design and build software. No longer do we design around the constraints of the technology, blindly mirroring database schemas in view hierarchies and other such crimes against humanity. Now we talk about the end-users of our software, and design around them and their needs. We figure out what they need and then shape the technology around them. That’s great.

Taking Care in the Air

Applying Big Data and Cutting Edge Algorithms to Drive Better Passenger OutcomesEverybody is always looking for the cheapest flight available, right? The rise of the budget airlines proves that the only thing people are really interested in when they book a flight is to get the lowest possible price. Well no, actually.

Introducing Black Swan’s New Insight Division

James “JT” Turner joins Black Swan as Chief Insight Officer, bringing close to 2 decades of research and insights experience to the data science and technology firm, to unlock a new cadre of analytic capabilities.

The Keyword Conundrum – Insights and Brand Names

Everyone who has ever worked in Data or Social Listening been involved in building queries will hopefully relate to what I am about to write.
The 1st step in all the briefs we receive is to come up with a query that will enable us to retrieve all the data we need to surface insights.

Press Release: Series B Funding from Mitsui Confirmed

Black Swan today announced a strategic investment from Mitsui that will help support the UK-headquartered advanced analytics and prediction business to continue on its rapid growth trajectory. Investment allows Black Swan to accelerate development of its NEST platform and geographic expansion into the US and Japan.

Blowing the Black Swan Trumpet

Sometimes at Black Swan we have some news we just have to share; the last time we couldn’t keep a cork in it was the UK’s Fastest Growing Start-up award from the Sunday Times. This time we are delighted to confirm our series B investment has been secured from our friends at Mitsui, Japan’s top corporation and one of the largest groups in the world.

Diamond White v Pinot Noir | A Study

Ok, so this isn’t about data like our normal, amazing Black Swan blog posts– this is about data that matters to me. This data is all about research like:

“Women whose mothers worked outside the home are more likely to have jobs themselves, are more likely to hold supervisory responsibility at those jobs and earn higher wages than women whose mothers stayed at home full time”.

Man v Machine – The Changing Face of Business in 2016

I came across an interesting comment recently from Annemie Ress, Former Global HR Director of eBay and Skype, when asked what she expected the HR trends of 2016 to be: ‘While success in the 20th century was driven by process, structure and encouraging people to function more like machines, success in the future requires us to make more of the human side of business*’.

University of Exeter becomes part of Catapult Centre of Excellence

Congratulations to our friends and colleagues at the University of Exeter for becoming a Satellite Applications CatapultCentre of Excellence.

The Satellite Applications Catapult is delighted to be adding two more Centres of Excellence in satellite applications to its network, as it continues to broaden its regional engagement and support the sector’s growth in the UK.

Guest Post: How do the environments in which we live influence human health and wellbeing?

Friend of Black Swan and Board Member, Professor Michael Depledge of the University of Exeter shares his research and thoughts on how our environments influence our health and wellbeing.

Mark Fingerhut: Part Swan, Part Motion Graphic Artist

For the past couple of years, whilst in school, I began to research methods of digital content production outside of the mainstream CG pipeline. I grew tired of waiting for renders and baking lightmaps and chose to instead work in a totally real-time environment. The video game engine turned out to be the perfect tool for building all sorts of interactive and motion graphic works.

Introducing The Nest – Black Swan’s Data Platform

The Nest is Black Swan’s proprietary data unification platform, an ingenious piece of kit built to ingest data from a mighty range of sources, which in turn enables us to create swift proof of concept algorithms….unlocking solutions through applied prediction. We are extremely proud of our product; find out more about The Nest in our product video.

An Insight is just an M&M – Approaching the insight definition from a sweet perspective

As most of you, I share my opinion online on a daily basis (thank you Facebook for changing my life), but I don’t often have a real chance to discuss something at the very centre of my life as an Insight expert. Insights are mentioned all the time. I have worked in many departments of advertising agencies, from the creative side to campaign delivery, to the analysis and reporting on KPI.

Giving Buzzwords their Meaning Back – A Non Technical Introduction to Networks

There have been a few terms from maths and science that have entered into daily usage to become buzzwords in this past decade: e.g. Chaos, Complexity and Sustainable. We see them branded on buses in adverts; we hear them in business talks and sales pitches; we hear them a lot when a politician is talking but not really saying very much.

How to not have to make friends & influence people | Opinion Dynamics

This summer Black Swan went glamping. It was that singular hot day of summer and there we were, at 2pm, sweaty and playing three-legged races in the middle of Sussex. Toward the end of the evening we were treated to the DJing talents of our CEO, and whilst there was no lack of enthusiasm for dancing, the musical tastes of gen X and gen Y were soon apparent.

The Science of Santa: In the Nick of Time

It’s Christmas Eve. You’re preparing for the biggest day of the entire year; the only day, in fact, that you’ll get any real work done. The other 364 days have been spent overseeing subordinate clauses, planning your route for this evening’s journey, and most importantly, making a list and checking it twice.

Obi Swan Kenobi | The Force Awakens

As in households, schools and offices worldwide, Star Wars fever has infiltrated Black Swan, with some staff taking the day as holiday to ensure they get an early screening.  With a  client’s private screening of ‘The Force Awakens’ coming up, I thought i’d take a quick look at some of the figures that Disney can expect to … Continue reading Obi Swan Kenobi | The Force Awakens

Guest Blog Post: The University of Exeter and Environmental Sciences

The University of Exeter is a global leader in environmental science research, and aims to ensure that our research delivers a better world where we live within our environmental limits. Our 10-year strategic partnership with the Met Office, which is based in Exeter, is also critical to these aspirations.

The Exeter Engaged Smart Transport Project

Black Swan are excited to be involved in the new Exeter Engaged Smart Transport project, launched today in collaboration with Exeter City Council and Devon County Council.

Data. First it was Big, then it was Open.

We are producing data at an astonishing rate, as more and more of our tools and toys become ‘smart’ this trend seems set to continue. Even the humble traffic light is now becoming incorporated into systems that make up our new ‘smart cities’.

Underwater Web and The Data Revolution

The history of the human race is a history of revolutions: agriculture, pottery, religion and wars all defining our development as a species.

From Pigment to Pixels – What Makes Beauty ‘Work’?

Dragonfly is a truly inventive piece of software. It replicates the human brain function of immediate visual analysis, splitting an image captured in real time into a series of pixels. An algorithm then applies a formula modelled on the exact cognitive formula the human brain applies every day.

Black Swan TOPS Sunday Times Sage Start-Up Track 15!

Black Swan have been awarded the TOP position in the Sunday Times Sage Start-Up Track 15 list, it was announced on Sunday 15th November 2016.

Warm Reception at BBC for Black Swan Consultant Prof. Tim Lenton

Tim Lenton , Professor of Earth Systems Science at Exeter University and friend of Black Swan, is sharing his knowledge on issues surrounding Climate Change on the BBC News website today.

Data Science – How Do We Do It? (Part 2)

In part one we established that a data scientist wants to find patterns, and a pattern is just something that repeats. So how do data scientists go about finding these “intelligible form(s) or sequence(s)”?

What Exactly is the Purpose of Data Science? (Part 1)

Everyone knows data science is important. Most people have heard stories about companies who used data science to predict the future, revolutionise their business, or even disrupt an industry. Many people know that data scientists ‘build models’, ‘write algorithms’ and ‘make predictions’. Few people know what those buzz words actually mean, let alone why we use them. The answer, in a nutshell, is simple: The purpose of data science is to find patterns.

What Can Corporations Learn From Ernest Hemingway?

Here at Black Swan Edge we help companies raise finance from the investor community. Although we use data and marketing techniques when executing campaigns we always start a project with helping our clients tell their story.

How to Avoid an #Identity Crisis!

Can we predict our identity from the way we use language?
We love social media at Black Swan, and what particularly interests us is analysing the language used across these different media platforms, as well as observing the common and differing features between different social demographics.

And The Winner Is……. Us, but next year!

Making predictions this year has been an incredibly uncomfortable experience as far as my ‘sciencey spider senses’ are concerned. I’d like to say I sought solace in meditation- through focused reflection on Buddhist teachings.

Cannes Lions: Black Swan’s Oscar Winning Formula?

In my research for model inspiration whilst trying to predict the Cannes Lions, I found two papers discussing approaches to predicting the Oscars. A fitting link, as the Cannes Lions have often been described as the Oscars of the ad industry. Or at least some people think so.

Day Three Cannes Lions Predictions: Design, Radio + Cyber Awards

Welcome to day 3 of Black Swan at Cannes Lions, where we are predicting the awards winners all week from Cabana 4, outside the Palais des Festivals on La Croisette. Today sees awards for Design, Radio and Cyber. Have we got our predictions right?

Cannes Lions: Advertisers just don’t talk enough

My non-mathematician friends often look at me strangely when I talk about equations and models as if they are people.

Day Two at Cannes Lions: Media, PR, Outdoor + Creative Effectiveness Predictions

Welcome to day 2 of Black Swan at Cannes Lions, where we are predicting the awards winners all week from Cabana 4, outside the Palais des Festivals on La Croisette. Today sees 5 awards announced. Have we got our predictions right?

Day One: Data, Mobile + Press Grand Prix Cannes Lions Predictions

The complex world of Prediction is both an art and a science, so just for fun Black Swan has decided to predict the winners of some of the Cannes Lions Festival awards categories.

Gorillas with Calculators – Can Predictive Science Aid the Creative Process?

As Nate Silver, the Godfather of modern predictive analytics puts it, ‘Prediction is both an Art and a Science.

“Bonjour Monsieur!” Noise and Dynamics in Data.

Noise and dynamics are two words with a precise mathematical meaning. For now though, lets imagine the colloquial meaning of noise or more specifically, let’s consider the noise in a classroom.

Creating an Internet Made of Sound, with Chirp

Today we are excited to announce our partnership with Chirp, as well as our investment in Chirp’s crowd funding campaign on Crowdcube.

How Black Swan Seized The Day with Quaker Canada’s #TodayList

Our day to day lives are packed with doing more and more. We work longer hours, we go out more and we spend more, we update,check, comment and post more.

Can You Describe the Taste of a Banana?

Imagine travelling back in time a century or so and trying to explain how we live in 2015…I reckon it’s about as easy as trying to describe the taste of a banana to someone who has never tasted one…go on, give it a try…the words yellow and bananary are banned.

The Lingo of Logic (and how to tell if you’ll be happy tomorrow!)

The study of logic concerns the study of sentences (propositions in the lingo of logic) and whether they are true or false.

My Sentiment Exactly…. We loooooove data science!

Black Swan’s Data Science Lead Architect Henrietta Eyre on the complexities of Sentiment Analysis, and how to build a sentiment classifier.

Black Swan Loves Legacy!

Everyone loves to start the New Year with a clean slate – and with this in mind, I think it’s time to set a certain record straight.

Shop ‘Til You Drop this Christmas with Black Swan’s Secret Formula!

Wondering how to use up those few days of annual leave you’ve got left?

The Black Swan Movember Beauty Pageant: The Results

The stunning Black Swan Movember Team have come to the end of their hairy faced endeavours and the results are in!

Put Your Movember Where Your Mouth Is

The Black Swan Movember team are always a stunning contingent, and this year, two Mo-Sistas have joined in the fun to show their support for a great cause.

Welcome To The Brain

Farming! José! Bunnies! Our Chief Technical Officer, Gary Townsend, shares his thoughts on The Brain, our latest innovation which will change the way Data Scientists produce scaleable models, forever!

Of Crabs and Beetroot: A Statistician’s Tale

How probabilities can affect even the smallest business decisions.

Unlimited Holidays, and How Dolly Parton got it Wrong, by 30 Minutes!

Richard Branson recently made a stir with his announcement that Virgin employees could take as much leave as they wanted.

Adaptive Behaviour

LANGUAGE GAMES WITH VAGUE CATEGORIES AND NEGATIONS. Our amazing Data Scientist Henrietta Eyre recently had a research paper published in Adaptive Behavior, the official journal of the International Society of Adaptive Behavior.

Scale Free Social Networks

With a background in theoretical physics, I naturally have a great fondness for theoretically interesting, but not necessarily practically useful, tasks.

Teaching an old dog new tricks….

For me, the benefit of nearly 3 decades in business is grey hair and a degree in hindsight, earned from riding the marketing wave with brands across sectors through cycles of boom and bust, taking the Army to war (as a brand) and digging RBS out of a hole during the recession, to name a … Continue reading Teaching an old dog new tricks….

Insight from Social Data

With a background in consumer marketing, I’ve spent more than my fair share of time sitting in focus groups or creating surveys in an attempt to gain some new consumer insight or try and validate a hypothesis.

The real data revolution

I first moved to London back in 1998 in the middle of the first dot com boom as a developer and to say the streets were paved with gold was a bit of an understatement. 

Hello, We’re Black Swan.

Two years ago we started Black Swan with a simple belief that data and technology can, and will change the way business is done.