Innovation Creators & Enterprise Digging

Rod Boothby has been hard at work beating the corporate blogging drum where he works and part of his process has been to externalize his thinking on a blog set up specifically to generate awareness and test his ideas.

He’s thought long and hard about not only the benefits of creating a blogging culture at a company, he also has gone into quite a bit of detail on different approaches and sprinkled it with thinking about the cultural implications as well.

Rod’s been posting regularly since October and I would encourage anyone that is thinking about corporate blogging to subscribe to his feed. Here are some highlights from the past few months:

But my all time favorite innovation here is Rod’s concept of Enterprise Digg. The social bookmarking service blew onto the scene much like Slashdot in that important stories are submitted to the service by its members and then subsequent users “digg” the stories throughout the day. I became aware of digg.com from their diggnation podcast in which the founders of the service recount the past week’s top diggs over a few tins of their favorite beer.

Apply the social bookmarking aspect of digg.com to the enterprise and you have a service that serves many requirements that Rod alludes to in earlier posts. A social bookmarking service in which popular posts bubble up to the top is:

1. Social – collective linking behind the firewall gets everyone tuned into the news of the day without interruptive chatter.

2. Rewarding – if someone continually submits links that bubble up to the top, they will be recognized for their innovative vision and alignment with the interests of the company’s employees.

3. Fun – not to be forgotten, there’s a certain thrill at being the first to discover something no one else has seen. It’s the, “be the first on your block” syndrome applied to corporate culture.

4. Efficient – if you slice off the top 5% of diggs to the system, you very quickly filter out the noise and get to the most important opportunities and threats that face your company. No more email blasts from the CEO, no more soul searching corporate surveys, no more breakout session SWOT analysis flip charts. Set up a bookmarklet on your browser toolbar and bag-n-tag sites while you work and go back and review the aggregate on a monthly basis.

But why stop there. The only thing missing is that there needs to be a financial incentive to really drive this engine. Put some skin in the game and reward the top diggers, the people with the most votes on their pages.

Let’s take it a step further and have folks buy and sell shares in the top ideas. We had this issue every year in a company where I used to work. Every year all the open projects were gathered together for review and were matched against resources and over a painful 72 hour period, the project plans for the next 12 months were laid out and locked into place. It was increadibly frustrating for the project managers and stressful and highly political for those making the decision.

Why not pull out top ideas into a pool in which employees can place a portion of their virtual portfolio onto certain ideas. When those ideas get promoted into production there is an initial payout (as in an IPO) and as the profitability of the feature is measured over time, the payout would continue to pay dividends. This payout would act as a proxy for real money in order to base it in reality and, just as with the real world stock market, Product Manager and Senior Management would be restricted from the amount of trading they can do because of a conflict of interest.

Take a look at the Buzz Game on Yahoo! Research – we’re working with O’Reilly to use predictive markets to do just that.

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