Saturday, May 30, 2009

Crowdsourcing Creativity

From Ryan Hahn at IFC in the World Bank Group:

"A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune of attending a conference on prediction markets hosted by Inkling, a prediction market platform provider. The first presentation of the day actually had little to do with prediction markets, but still had everything to do with tapping into the wisdom of the crowds. (Or, better yet, the wisdom *in* the crowds.)

Mike Samson, one of the founders of a very cool site called Crowdspring, discussed his efforts to create a marketplace for creativity. Any small business (or large corporation for that matter) can go on the site and post specifications for a project, e.g. designing a logo or building a website, and anyone around the world with internet access can submit entries. Hidden talent seems to crop up in unanticipated places (there was one tale of a janitor winning projects who had no formal training in visual design)..."

Read more here...

Friday, May 22, 2009

We surveyed users in a company after running an internal pilot and here's what they said

We recently helped one of our clients - a large retail chain - conduct a survey after they ran a 3 month internal pilot targeted to manager level and below from locations around North America. The data (fortunately - whew!) showed a lot of positive signals and the team we're working with was able to incorporate the results in to the business argument for continuing the marketplace beyond the pilot phase.

We were mostly encouraged too, like the 97% of people who said they will continue to use the prediction market beyond the pilot. But there are also areas to improve. Even though the strongly agrees and agrees far out-weighed the disagree/strong disagrees, we'd like to see the trend be even more in the positive direction and get some of those no-opinion folks off the fence!

I personally was most interested in the "primary reason you traded" question. Although 48% of respondents said they used only personal knowledge to trade, the fact that the other halfsaid they did minimal or extensive research, then traded, shows a different type of engagements than only contributing what personal knowledge capital you have. These are people willing to broaden their own perspectives in order to effectively trade and get smarter about operational and strategic issues in the company. That is a benefit of prediction markets we always see that needs to get more love when we describe the value proposition.

We plan on conducting this survey again with this company in a few months to continue the feedback loop and are doing the same with other companies. We'll be sure to keep you apprised of how things are going even if we still have some of those pesky no-opinion types.

Here are some of the results:


Monday, May 04, 2009

Resend invites to users

Email can be a tricky thing. Too often messages get stuck in junk mail or deleted accidentally. For awhile we've given users the ability to have an Inkling invite resent to themselves on the login page if they didn't get the registration email.

And now we've provided the ability for marketplace administrators to send their users a new invitation if they need it. In the "manage users" area of Inkling, select the users you want to send new invites to and use the drop down menu to select "Send User(s) a New Invite":

Capture More Information About Traders

Sometimes you want to understand not only what the outcome of a question you're asking is going to be, but how specific types of people are trading.

For a long time we've allowed administrators to capture additional information about people when they complete their profile pages, but now we give you the option of making some of those questions required during the registration process.

For example, a consulting firm we're working with is requiring people to enter a Department Code during registration. They can now cross-reference this information with trading information and gain new insights about the behavior of the community, e.g. People from one department think the chances are high an event will occur, where as people from another department don't agree.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Prediction Markets in the Insurance Industry

A few weeks ago I wrote about some ideas we had for prediction markets for the logistics and freight industry. We're close to finishing similar write-ups for several other industries and I wanted to share a draft of what we've written for the Insurance industry.

Insurance companies we've worked with or spoken to are naturally worried about much more these days than business continuation plans and natural disasters. They're under tremendous pressure in the current financial environment to achieve sufficient return on investments, respond to increased claims and fraudulent activity, and keep attrition rates down, all while addressing increased competition and calls for a more stringent regulatory environment.

Here are some potential uses in a few key business processes:

Business Performance

  • Forecast quarter over quarter or year over year growth in individual policy areas;

  • Understand impact of marketing campaigns and new policy programs on new customer acquisition; and

  • Predict customer behavior: attrition, loyalty, and satisfaction levels

Company and Business Partner Health

  • Predict returns on investments to understand impacts on capital levels;

  • Forecast ability of reinsurance providers to write new business (or vice versa to understand need if you're a reinsurance provider);

  • Understand agency performance locally, regionally, and nationally

  • Predict metrics related to claim levels; and

  • Ramp up fraud protection activities by understanding what types of fraud will be most prevalent in a future timeframe

Competitive and Regulatory Environment

  • Compare market share performance and other publicly available metrics with primary competitors;

  • Understand impacts of changes in public policy, the likelihood of legislation passing, and budget allocation;

  • Leverage employees, partners, agencies, subject matter experts, and other players in the value chain to gain comprehensive view of sector trends; and

  • Predict impact in marketplace of competitor's marketing campaigns and other strategic moves