Monday, July 29, 2013

Almost there. Game theory in action for the fight for ideas.

One way to get people to contribute ideas to your challenge is to let everyone know you almost have the number of ideas you are shooting for.

A key part of a successful collaborative innovation strategy is to make certain you communicate the team’s successes.  It is a terrific way to let everyone know their efforts are being rewarded.  Armed with this knowledge those who collaborate gain enthusiasm for continuing to provide contributions.

Game theory plays a considerable role in the collaborative ideation process.  Sometimes it’s about pitting one team against another.  Sometimes audiences are “engaged” with the notion of a “point scheme” whereby each member gets a basket of points for a challenge, allowed then to assign up to a certain number of those points to any given idea.  This gets contributors thinking; it gets their wheels turning; they’re interactively engaged, enthused and participating.

So although it may seem like a small thing...
...showing off or reporting the progress the team is making (toward the number of ideas you’ve set as your goal) will spur additional ideas and participation.

You know that big poster of a thermometer on the village square that notes the progress of the fund raising project?  Well it seems that works.  

People are more likely to contribute when the goals are close to being reached.
This means I should give you two pieces of advice when launching your idea challenge... 
          1.      Shoot for an attainable target number of ideas
          2.     Raise the goal as the challenge progresses

Celebrate Quick Wins
Celebrating victories, accomplishments and milestones in the Innovation process is an important step in demonstrating a senior level company endorsement of Innovation for two reasons:

  •         It keeps the employees’ spirit and energy high, and turns more people into Innovation “believers”
  •         It showcases the management’s commitment to making Innovation an integral part of the way the company operates

Always have in place a few short-term and a few long-term goals and then track the team’s progress toward achieving them. When a goal is accomplished, make it a point to praise the team.

By stopping to celebrate progress, to recognize individual accomplishments and reflect on the work completed thus far, it is also possible to evaluate the overall Innovation effort and course correct, if necessary.

You can communicate the progress of the challenge; the number of ideas “achieved” so far by posting a progress chart on the innovation portal dashboard, by sending out a daily, weekly, monthly newsletter or by sending an email directly noting the progress everyone has made to date.

In conclusion
Set a goal of an attainable number of ideas for a challenge.  Raise the goal number of ideas as the challenge progresses.  Communicate the progress of the challenge to the contributor community.

Cryder, C. et al., “Goal Gradient in Helping Behavior,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology (forthcoming).
Ron Shulkin blogs, researches and writes about enterprise technology focused on social media, innovation, voice of the customer, marketing automation and enterprise feedback management.  You can learn more about Ron at his biography web You can follow him Twitter. You can follow his blogs at this Facebook group.  You can connect with Ron on LinkedIn.   

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. CogniStreamer has been rated as a “Leader” in Forrester’s recent Wave report on Innovation Management Tools. You can learn more about CogniStreamer here . Ron also manages The Idea Management Group on LinkedIn (JoinHere).

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