I am connected … To a world of ideas
Keystroked and swiped, Hash tagged and liked
We are connected … By problems
Shared confusion, Desired solutions
We can choose … To ignore, to harm,
Or to accept how connected we are
We are able … To connect …
Helping one another, And bringing the world closer together
I love poetry.
I have enjoyed the craft of wordplay for most of my life. Voraciously consuming art continues to bring me much pleasure … almost as much as using the word “voraciously”.
I specifically enjoy witnessing creativity in unexpected places. Though my career has been definitively technical, my colleagues and I have fun being creative in our technological work. Some of you reading this piece right now may not see the art in your own work. I would wager you and your colleagues express creativity in ways you may not realize. Think about your everyday tasks. Do you execute them precisely the way you were trained, or have you made tweaks over time? Have you made nuanced adjustments that customized the workflow and made it more efficient for you? When you pass information, do read from a script or summarize your understanding using your own words?
There is art between the intersection of law and technology. We see that art of consultation before and during a forensic investigation. Of course, we analyze technology and use technical tools, but the art is evident in several ways. You can see it in one’s approach to a new case, in the drafting of an expert report, and in the style of expert testimony. I have watched attorneys craft arguments in the war room, then artfully submit them to judge and jury. Technological experts have expanded my perspective with innovative approaches to data science. I have collaborated with programmers who tweak existing tools and create new ones to engineer a more productive path. So many professionals – attorneys, chemists, physicists, investigators, engineers, programmers, poets, painters, songwriters, and more – all share a common trait … We are all problem solvers.
The journey of a technologist often brings creativity to bare through the art of consultation. I have come to view consulting as a bridge between the worlds of scientific method and creative expression. When a client comes to us a with a project, we listen, ask questions, and listen more. This helps us get an idea of the problem. We then leverage tools, methods, and experience to craft the right solution. The tools are common … chain of custody, defensible collection, data processing, system mapping, etc. You may not feel inspired by terms like custodian interviews, data processing, searching, TAR, active machine learning, normalization, or automated data extraction … but when I hear them, my mind ignites with options. I think of scenarios where these tools could help. I ask myself what my clients are missing. Are the existing tools sufficient? How can we augment them for greater efficacy? Can we modify the use of a tool created for one purpose and achieve our goal?
This is similar to poetry. Every poem starts as an idea. When an idea comes to me, I ask myself, “How do I use this idea to create a tangible form of expression others might consume?”. So the problem I am seeking to solve is finding the best way to relay the idea. To make the idea something real for others to consume. Writing is my method for seeking a solution.
In the process of creative writing, I leverage technical tools to help me solve the problem. I use vocabulary, syllabic sequencing, metaphor, simile, rhyme, method, poetic form, experience, etc. The more knowledge, understanding and mastery I have of the tools, the more freedom I enjoy when attempting to use them creatively. I have deployed these tools thousands of times throughout my life to combine words in different ways. Each poem represents a different solution. A creative way of solving the idea problem. As a data scientist, I see the same creatively technical process take shape in every matter.
Even when we use common tools, solutions will often need to be tailored to the issues of a specific matter. All the ideas will not be good ones. The answers could be simple or elaborate … blunt or intricate. However you describe it, our goal is to keep listening and thinking until we craft the solution that works for your circumstance. When everything clicks perfectly into place, we can weave these scientific elements together to create a solution one might call poetry.
I hope that reading this will help you begin to see the creativity in your own work. And if you still can’t, let’s chat about it. I would love to hear from you. You will find me writing poetry and solving problems for the rest of my life. Perhaps we could solve a few together. I will never stop asking questions and listening to problems, be they poetic and/or scientific.
Even in the world of data science, every matter … every issue … is a new chance to help craft what may one day be considered a masterpiece.
iDiscovery Solutions is a strategic consulting, technology, and expert services firm – providing customized eDiscovery solutions from digital forensics to expert testimony for law firms and corporations across the United States and Europe.