The mass is wise when it focus: how to transform the collective intelligence in products and services successfully
What is collective intelligence? You’ve heard it many times. Thanks to Web 2.0, everyone can contribute our talents to a new community knowledge, global and shared. It is the intelligence of the “mass” attached, which allows us to develop new products and services, until recently, unthinkable.
We’re not talking about a science fiction film. The most visible fruit of this collaboration is already here among us. Are Wikipedia and the Linux operating system, services that have hundreds of millions of users around the world and are the fruit of labor and intelligence of the community.
The question we ask is: how exactly will the talent to transform the dough into a product or service? A New York Times article gives us some clues. Here is a summary of the very best:
Few concepts have had such success in the world of business recently as “open innovation (open innovation). It is often described as “the wisdom of the body” or “collective intelligence”, and refers to the generation of ideas, products or services on open and global networks, where users can contribute equally.
The basic notion is that the Internet opens the door to a new world in which we can produce a democratic and collaborative. The Linux operating system with hundreds of millions of users, the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and possibly the largest source of current know-precursors have been most successful.
For this new model, innovation is a question of quantity. The more heads connected, more gray matter, gray matter and the more, get more and better ideas. Following this line of thinking, it is clear that a huge population like China will take a bit to propose and develop some of the most remarkable ideas.
With a better focus and leadership of a group of experts
However, some recent studies suggest that models of open innovation can only succeed when they are carefully designed to solve a specific task, and when those incentives to attract employees more effective.
Ie, that knowledge of the mass is converted automatically into the best idea or the best product. We must go one step further: success comes when we focus the collective intelligence on a specific topic, they constitute an authentic group of experts to lead the project and to channel such intelligence.
The competition for Netflix
The competition posed by Netflix, a movie rental company, is a good example. In October 2006, Netflix announced it would pay 100 million dollars a contestant who managed to improve by at least 10% of the recommendation of the film-Cinematch program used internally by the company. In other words, Netflix was looking for recommendations that were at least 10% closer to the preferences of its customers, according to the measurement system.
The competition is about to end, because one of the participants has finally managed to overcome the barrier of 10% improvement and, according to the rules, the rest of the contestants has a period of 30 days to try to beat the mark. Curiously, or not-so-is that the provisional winner is actually a team of 7 persons. All members are experts in statistics and data are from United States, Austria, Canada and Israel. It is, therefore, a small elite rather than an indiscriminate mass. Indeed, competitors are also located right behind equipment with a similar composition.
It is also true that the Internet has played a key role has been the channel through which the team leader was “added” to other professionals needed to overcome the brand (some of them were well placed in the ranking published by Netflix).
+ Collective intelligence monitoring system
The open innovation model can be implemented to overcome the constraints imposed by hierarchical structures in different companies and organizations. However, projects are most successful in practice, a hybrid between a group of decentralized community-and-a small chain that leads the work and making decisions. In the case of Linux, anyone can contribute their code, but Linus Torvalds and a few people you trust are those who decide which code is incorporated into the operating system. Even Wikipedia, the fruit of a collaboration of people in different areas, has a management structure that judges whether the content is appropriate.
Collective intelligence is a resource that has not gone unnoticed in the market. Many companies are relying on the community to find good ideas. This is the case of IBM, which celebrates improvisational sessions (jams) of ideas through the Internet to invest in new business opportunities. They have 150,000 employees, customers, partners and academics. Also in this case, although the initial impetus comes from the collective ideas and focus to work them into concrete actions, for example, investments in energy saving systems, etc..