Nosco is a Danish startup specializing in idea and innovation management. The firm offers a product they call Idea Exchange, an idea management tool for corporations of any size. With Idea Exchange Nosco promises to help to optimize processes, cut costs, and identify new opportunities by using the collective wisdom of the employees. Idea Exchange is based on the concept of prediction markets, and it is about buying and selling shares in new ideas.
Prediction markets offer real-time forecasts on selected matters based on the knowledge and information held by the participants. Nosco’s Idea Exchange (you can sign up for demo and watch a video intro here) is said to mimic the functionality of a virtual stock market game, but in Idea Exchange instead of stocks there are questions like “will we meet the deadline?” Others can then participate in the game and share their knowledge and expectations by trading; buying in or selling out based on whether they think the deadline will be met or not. This way the current “price” forms a reliable forecast of whether or not the deadline will actually be met.
There can any amount of participants to the market, each having a certain amount of “money”, or tokens, to use in investing. Anyone can create new ideas to be valued in the market, also anonymously, and multiple persons can contribute in creating the same idea. Organizations could use Idea Exchange for example to help in broadening the design and execution of strategies, and engaging employees in creating constant improvements.
I like the idea of making the product function like a game. It makes the whole concept a lot more interesting. I have seen a few systems targeted at cultivating the interenal innovation process, and often especially the process for showing support to a particular idea may be cumbersome due to either technical reasons or due to end-user shyness. Using and combining the concepts of prediction markets and crowdsourcing this way could potentially offer an easy way to harness much more of organizations’ knowledge and ideas.
There has been some discussion and examples on creating game-like services and user interfaces, to improve user satisfaction and loyalty. Of course, at the same time a question arises how much of a game you actually can and want to make Idea Exchange type of service. For example, what incentive exactly will new participants have in participating? And to keep old members interested, at which point will you reset all standings and start anew?
Furthermore, a concern in traditional gaming industry has been that only a segment of users/players/consumers have a competitive nature (in a sense that they are eager to beat others and win), while others enjoy solitary or cooperative playing. Many, especially many female users (if you forgive me using a stereotype) are not that much into competitions, and it may be difficult to engage those kinds of users in a service which has competing at its core. And, since we are talking about “virtual stock market” as Nosco puts it, I guess speculation and bubbles might happen there as well…