Monday, December 17, 2012

Last lesson learned: Ideation for Innovation is a social networking activity

Today’s look at how to get people to engage in collaborative ideation.

In a final thought for the year, as we wrestle with getting our Innovation Strategies in line with our Innovation Climate; with getting our Innovation Technologies in place, the biggest hurdle remains adoption.  How do we get people to collaborate.  How do we get everyone to use the new idea management system?  Well here are some thoughts.

We all continue to learn how best to get communities of individuals to work together on the challenges organizations face.  We know we need technology to get enough people to engage; to have them engage across divisions and time zones; to keep track of all the accumulated ideas and information.  We know it takes more than technology; it takes an Innovation Strategy and creation of a climate conducive to collaboration.  But we keep learning more based on both experience and ongoing social science conducted at an academic level.  

Here are some thought from the world of academia…

  • You need good examples from the top.  This should be no surprise based on our intuition.  We all sort of know that if the boss makes a contribution then everyone else get a bit more comfortable.  But recently, a study showed that a decline in prejudice was strongest when populations saw good examples in an active way. The effect was also stronger among those least likely to embrace.
  • We’ve always embraced failure out here in Innovation world but a common question I’ve heard from neophytes is “What do we do with all those old timers and conservative types who post negative comments?  They can kill a project before it starts.”  Studies have shown it is healthy for folks to post their negative thinking, but only if it is dismissed as such by consensus or the moderator of the challenge.  By writing down…then throwing it away, the community can actually reverse one’s judgment.  Contributors then tend to rely less on those thoughts to judge.  BTW, imagining the act of throwing one’s thoughts away didn’t have the same effect.
  • When we start vetting ideas by pointing out the negative attributes (like Weaknesses and Threats in a SWOT approach), we can draw attention to the catastrophes awaiting our organization by NOT following through on Innovation.  This starts opening minds making communities more open to the ideas of others; it creates a preference for diplomacy and negotiation instead of outright rejection of others notions.
  • Lastly, new research suggests that you can boost contributions merely by offering  up rewards in separate categories. In several studies, participants were asked to participate in tasks in exchange for up to two rewards, awarded in proportion to effort. In the first scenario, some contributors were told that for extra work (like ideas instead of working on their day jobs), they could pick a second prize from the same large pool of prizes; in the second experiment, the community was divided into two small groups, and collaborators were told that for extra work, they could pick a second prize from the another category. Even though the first scenario allowed participants more options in choosing rewards, the second scenario caused participants to expend significantly more effort on the tasks, because participants didn’t want to regret not choosing a reward from the alternative collection.

Of course expert advice is offered for community management, idea management and how to kick off a social network dedicated to innovation from your software vendor. 

Goldman, S., “Effects of the 2008 Obama Presidential Campaign on White Racial Prejudice,” Public Opinion Quarterly (Winter 2012).
BriƱol, P. et al., “Treating Thoughts as Material Objects Can Increase or Decrease Their Impact on Evaluation,” Psychological Science (forthcoming).
Pyszczynski, T. et al., “Drawing Attention to Global Climate Change Decreases Support for War,” Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology (November 2012).
Wiltermuth, S. & Gino, F., “‘I’ll Have One of Each’: How Separating Rewards into (Meaningless) Categories Increases Motivation,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (forthcoming).
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Ron Shulkin is Vice President of the Americas for CogniStreamer®, an innovation ecosystem.  CogniStreamer serves as a Knowledge Management System, Idea Management System and Social Network for Innovation.  You can learn more about CogniStreamer here

Ron manages The Idea Management Group on LinkedIn (Join Here) . You can follow him Twitter. You can follow his blogs at this Facebook group.  You can connect with Ron on LinkedIn.

CogniStreamer® is an idea management software tool.  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, Case New Holland, Cytec, Doctors without Borders, Imec, Phillip Morris, Picanol and ThyssenKrupp. CogniStreamer®

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