I have covered Spigit before (see Spigit Provides Version S3 as Market Matures for Idea and Innovation Management and Spigit – Enabling Enterprise 2.0 Innovation Through Market Games). I recently spoke with Shail Khiyara, Chief Marketing Officer, and Hutch Carpenter, VP of Product about the free ICON offering. Spigit’s overall company goal is to drive business growth and customer and employee engagement. Spigit brings your community – employees, customers, vendors – together on a comprehensive social innovation platform, and connects people who have questions with people who have answers.
It is designed to make full use of the good ideas across an enterprise and help companies then implement those ideas by using traditional workflow to connect the right ideas to the right person at the right time. To do this it provides business context and relevance to the crowdsourcing concept.
This is an important concept as the value of companies is increasingly found in the good ideas of their employees. For example, in 1982 38% of the market value of S&P companies was within their intangible assets, the ideas of their people. By 1999 that number had grown to 84% and I am sure it is still growing. The key to creating wealth in today’s economy is tapping the expertise within enterprise, as well as getting ideas from partners and customers. This is the task that Spigit addresses and I have been a fan for several years.
Spigit allows companies to solve specific problems by tapping into the expertise of relevant groups in a focused manner. As Shail said, up to 70% of the cost of an organization is now its people. Organizations could maximize this investment and drive higher rates of engagement which would lead to business growth. At the same time much work needs to be done here as he also pointed out that up to 67% of employees are disengaged from their work. Engaging them in meaningful ways to contribute and become a part of the solution is an excellent way to improve engagement. What once took managers and corporate hierarchy can now be done in the context of a community.
Spigit has launched ICON as a free service to promote the use of mass crowdsourcing with the purpose of innovation and growth. It combines best practices and knowledge gained from delivering Spigit’s solutions to the market. It lets employees connect with their entire organization by posing questions and challenges and getting immediate feedback from coworkers. They showed me a demo. Here is the home page.
Across the top of the screen is a serious of questions or challenges. You can decide which ones to take on. Contrary to typical voting mechanisms every idea in ICON gets equal assessment as coworkers and employees engage in a pair-wise comparison game of selecting this one or that one. The solutions the crowd finds valuable then bubble to the top of the leaderboard. There is room for comments and the forced choice method allows for more precise comparisons. Once you decide between one pair, a new one comes up to further refine your perspective. Over time you get a rank order of answers for an individual and for a group. Here is the question page.
There is also a gamification aspect as users can earn points and top leaderboard status by posting challenges, voting, commenting and “gifting.” The screen also shows the top answers, the top experts (people most active), and the question activity. The latter is an activity stream for a question so you can track what is happening. The system is dynamic and is constantly being updated based on new input. As an idea moves to the top, an alert is sent to the activity stream. You can also see who is voting and when this occurs.
They have also announced a Yammer integration. For Yammer users looking to take advantage of ICON, Spigit utilized Yammer’s open APIs to build this integration, which publishes activity stories such as new ideas, challenges, votes and comments in Yammer’s Ticker in real-time. Yammer users can also log into ICON via the Yammer Connect button, using their Yammer credentials to bring their Yammer identity, profile information and corporate social graph with them. If a user has not yet created a Yammer account, it will prompt them to do so.
I think this is great idea to make crowdsourcing more accessible at a time when it is much needed. For now the free version is seen as a possible lead generator to their more comprehensive commercial offerings. They may add a premium version of ICON in the future.