Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Successful idea management systems promote collaboration. Ideas are the result.

Gaming Ideas: The individual’s opinion is less reliable than the crowd’s opinion. That’s “gaming” as a verb.

There is a facet of idea management where a marketplace of ideas is put out to the community for members to buy and sell like a stock market. The problem: a really good game player can push a bad idea to the top because of the game, not because of the value of the idea.

The same thing holds true when the best ideas are automatically promoted based merely on votes. If there is a prize for the “winning” idea in an idea management system, there is nothing to stop an inventor from lobbying the crowd to submit their votes. Someone can send out an email to the voting community to please send their votes their way. “My kid’s starting college this fall, please vote for my idea”.

What is reliable is the cumulative activity of the community based on good social science. The best ideas are the ones who accumulate the most votes, sure, but also the ones accumulating the most comments, the most votes on comments, the most views, the most “follows”, the most “alerts”, the most bookmarks, the most clustered similar ideas, well you get the idea. The crowd’s opinion can be relied on as an accurate measure of their wisdom.

There are many pitfalls that the unwary can step into when inviting smart people to collaborate. The way any one individual acts is interesting. But the way all the individuals act can be measured reliably.

From this past Sunday’s Boston Globe: Don’t believe your eyes. All of us--but especially those in certain professions and pursuits--rely on visual intuition to make consequential decisions. Unfortunately, visual intuition can go horribly wrong, as when drivers or pilots misjudge their surroundings. A newly published study from a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley highlights just how easily this can happen. Students shown a simple pattern of blue and red squares consistently overestimated the percentage of squares of whichever color was clustered in the middle. This was true even when students could bet money on their judgment. When dealing with a more intricate pattern, however, students had less confidence in their visual judgment and didn’t let it affect their bets.

Andrade, E., “Excessive Confidence in Visually-Based Estimates,” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (forthcoming).

And just like visual intuition can go horribly wrong, so can the other sensorial clues any one individual may interpret and act upon. The nature of collaborative systems is their acts of collaboration. In fact the goal is not to get the best or most ideas. The goal is to get everyone consistently collaborating and the result is the discovery of the best ideas.

Ron Shulkin is Vice President of the Americas for CogniStreamer®, an innovation management system. You can learn more about CogniStreamer here http://bit.ly/ac3x60

Ron manages The Idea Management Group on LinkedIn (Join Here) http://bit.ly/dvsYWD . He has written extensively on Idea Management (Read Here) http://bit.ly/b2ZEgU . If you search on “Shulkin” here at the FEI blog web site, you’ll find numerous entries on idea management systems.

CogniStreamer® is used as the backbone for many companies’ culture of innovation. It is the idea collaborative tool to generate ideas. CogniStreamer is both an innovation knowledge management and idea management software tool, available both SaaS and behind clients’ firewalls. It is an open innovation and collaboration platform where internal colleagues and external partner companies or knowledge centers join forces to create, develop and assess innovative ideas within strategically selected areas. The CogniStreamer® portal is an ideal collaborative platform that invites users to actively build a strong innovation portfolio. In addition it provides a powerful resource for internal and external knowledge sharing. The CogniStreamer® framework is used by industry leaders such as Atlas Copco, Bekaert, BPost, Case New Holland, Cytec, Imec, Picanol and ThyssenKrupp. CogniStreamer® represents the best use of adaptive collaborative technology such to harness human skill, ingenuity and intelligence. Plus it supported by a team of experts who have built best practices and lend guidance based on practical experience.

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