Trillium Insights

Thoughts and Insights from Trillium's Practice Leaders

Watson is Relatable

Watson is Relatable

If you search YouTube, you can find the historic Jeopardy episode and watch as IBM’s Super Computer “Watson” blows away Brad Rutter, Jeopardy’s all-time biggest money winner, along with Ken Jennings, the show’s record holder for longest championship streak. The formidable players stood no chance against Watson, which ended the game with $35,734 compared to Rutter’s $10,400 and Jennings’ $4,800. Watson parsed the keywords in the Jeopardy’s clues while looking for “related” terms as responses.


The operative word is “related”. Identifying related terms and concepts is something that pure Boolean searches cannot do – after all, Boolean searching is about looking for specific keywords (i.e. those included within the string itself).  The ability to identify related terms and concepts is akin to Semantic Search, which seeks to improve search accuracy by understanding searcher intent and the contextual meaning of terms as they appear to generate more relevant results.


The ability to quickly research and answer trivia questions (or provide questions for the answers, in the case of Jeopardy) is a far cry from having to boil a hiring need (skills, capabilities, and specific responsibilities in specific industries and environments) down to a series of queries to mine flawed and incomplete human capital data (i.e., resumes and social media profiles) in order to return people who have a high probability of not only being qualified for the position, but also interested in the job (i.e. “recruitable”). My short term goal is to use Watson to create the process to get and relate the data into those requests and find the right recruitable people.

Watson I Presume

Watson I Presume

After using IBM’s Watson within a Healthcare project I was challenged to determine if IBM’s Platform as a Service, PAAS, and Infrastructure as a Service, IAAS versions of Watson would make sense for the Recruiting and Sourcing areas of Trillium Solutions Group. Along the way I’ve observed a few things and learned a few lessons that I’m going to pass on. Most of the usual admonitions of projects are still in force, namely executive support, a clear vison of what you want the end game to look like, budgets of time and dollars and getting past the hyperbole of an exciting and new technology and down to something that can add value to an organization.


As I investigate Watson, I expect that Sheer Luck (for you Sherlock Holmes fans) will be my salvation.

Tips For Surviving A Career Transition

Tips For Surviving A Career Transition

Career transition can be tedious and challenging, whether it is a move to a brand new company, a company downsizing, or a complete career change.  Here are some tips to help keep you on track and ensure your success.

Action Plan: Create a plan of action for yourself, with long-term and short-term goals.  Hold yourself accountable to these goals and refer back to them if you ever feel like you’ve gone off course.  Identify the skills you possess that will carry over to your next opportunity, and figure out what training might be necessary to develop new skill sets.  Finally, be sure to assess your resources to reduce the pressure of financial obligations while in transition.  Cutting out distractions will increase and enable your focus.

Accountability:  Whether it be a career coach, a friend or spouse, find somebody to hold you accountable to your action plan.  Visit with them often, and make sure that you select someone who will be objective about your strengths and weaknesses.

Network:  Networking is a critical step in your transition process whether you are just starting out or are a more seasoned professional.  Network both in person and on social media.  Follow companies and people that you are interested in on Twitter and LinkedIn.  Not only will networking help you build upon existing relationships and help you get in touch with the right people, it may also allow you to find roles that are never actually advertised.  Give your network the chance to lend a hand.

Things are going to happen over the course of your career.  Some of them will be good and rewarding, and others not so good.  You may be the one to orchestrate some of your career transitions, while some will be orchestrated by others. Regardless of the reason, if you combine relationships and research, skills with foresight, and the knowledge of what you want in order to reach your career goals, nothing will be able to stop you.