You’ve had a great life, Handshake! Way back in 2007, there was so much talk about social networking. Some companies were putting social networking sites outside their firewalls to engage their customers, and some (like IBM) had internal sites. Handshake was the first to do both, and what a challenge it was! We had to use the “email argument” to convince InfoSec to change their policy, enabling MITRE employees to post content outside the firewall and engage with our partners.
We based you on Elgg because that was the first platform Tom Read was able to get up and running, and later we hired Brett Profitt, one of your core developers. Handshake became an opportunity for us to experiment and conduct research, learn from our mistakes, and do fun things. We launched the first pilot in 2009 to a select group of users only to discover hundreds of users had already joined through word of mouth. We watched, we learned, we measured, we evaluated, we iterated. And in 2012, you became a corporate system!
You made your way to conferences in Hawaii, Georgia, Florida (twice), and California. You got yourself on the teaching curriculum at the Babson College School of Business. Along the way, you won the Step Two Design International Intranet Innovation Award (gold award for communication and collaboration) in 2010, the Nielsen Norman Group Top 10 Corporate Internets award in 2010, and MITRE Innovation Award for Extending MITRE’s Reach in 2011. But the best award over all those years was the fabulously motivated team you created, working together as if you were part of our extended family.
Farewell, Handshake – it’s not goodbye. You live on! You had a stint with the National Institutes of Health Data Commons Pilot and made an impressive impact as an Analytic Collaboration Environment for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Healthcare Fraud Prevention Partnership. You had a short run as eVA at the VA’s Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiology Research and Informatics Center but then came back to dominate as GenHub, a Multi-omics Research Ecosystem enabling thousands of genomics researchers to collaborate around research proposals; gain access to protected data in an analytic environment; and share, discover, and leverage research artifacts for research studies, clinical studies, and clinical trials. MITRE will be leaving you there to live out your legacy.
You may be gone from our lives, but never forgotten!