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Key Points Around Spigit’s Idea Marketplace Offering

By Anthony J. Bradley | December 02, 2008 | 2 Comments

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I just had a good vendor briefing with Paul Pluschkell the CEO of Spigit. Here are some interesting points spurred by the briefing.

1. Spigit is a great example of the evolution of the social software market from best of breed tools (best wiki, best blog, etc.) to social software suites (Jive Software, Awareness, Drupal, etc. See recently published 2008 Social Software MQ– subscription or fee required) to technologies addressing horizontal business needs (Idea management and prediction markets in Spigit’s case).

2. Spigit exemplifies the need for some technology structure to enable community emergence. Spigit is rich with functionality (e.g., structure)  specifically targeted at mining the community for innovative ideas and then empowering that community to advance those ideas. The environment structure is intended to facilitate the emergence of ideas. There is no restrictions to the ideas that can emerge. This highlights the critical difference between environmental structure that facilitates emergence and content related structure that may stifle it.

3. It is clear when examining Spigit that significant effort has gone into designing an experience tailored to idea management. It is quite detailed in the intricacies of facilitating an idea marketplace. This is not something the usual enterprise could or would want to build into a general purpose suite. Spigit puts the focus of the organization on the social part of social software (that is growing and maintaining a productive community), where it belongs, and not on delivering a bunch of custom code and templates.

4. Spigit heavily employs gaming theory to make the experience fun. I see more and more gaming theory applied to enterprise 2.0 implementations to enhance community participation. All enterprises implementing E2.0 should strive to make a participants experience as fun as possible. Applying gaming principles is a good place to start.

5. A focus on analytics is also a critical capability. Growing, nurturing, and guiding the productivity of a community is no trivial exercise and it is important to have the tools to know how the community is functioning and where it needs help.

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2 Comments

  • Mark Turrell says:

    Being a practioner in this area for the last ten years, and actually implementing real systems at massive scale (as opposed to being a start-up with interesting software), there are several practical concerns with the bottom-up approach to ideas and innovation management.

    Just to focus on one area. Innovation is about implementing ideas, not just about generating them. There is a huge distinction between ideation (idea generation) and scale-up and execution. To make this scale-up work, you need to actively and deeply engage management and put in real resources.

    These bottom-up approaches – and the bottom-up tools promoted by the simple web 2.0 vendors in this area – by and large lead to a train wreck of ideas hitting the mid-layer in the organization, leading to dissatisfaction of the submitters, and potentially damaging the organization’s innovation climate.

    Now, within five to ten years this type of approach will become more normal as people age, and as the tools and methods mature. There is a long time, though, between today and five years time – start-ups tend not to last that long.

    Just some thoughts – Mark Turrell, CEO, Imaginatik

  • Anthony Bradley says:

    Thanks Mark. Definitiely some interesting points here. Idea generation and idea execution definitely are not the same. They are different activities requiring different actions by stakeholders. No tool can create innovation. Culture, management, etc. will always play a pivotal role. Web 2.0 social tools have begun addressing idea generation but have yet only barely scratched the surface of idea execution. That indeed may take five years time to mature.

    However, I think many, including me, would argue that social software tools are having and will continue to have a significant and successful impact on idea generation. There are numerous examples of success we can now point to (e.g., IBM idea jam, threadless, Staples, Google, Intel). As with any relatively new approach there will be numerous organizations that make mistakes and fail. I’ve seen many bad practices and have docmented some in this blog and many more in my published research. However, the “age of the community” is upon us and bottom up is gaining momentum. It is always easier to implement grass roots innovation vs. top down because at least a portion of those who will be impacted by the change are already involved in the movement. The more people we can get positively involved early, the better chance change has of sticking. Though idea generation and execution are distinct they certainly are not unrelated.