A small and really smart group of people convened by John Maloney (at the Gleacher Executive Center in Chicago), on November 6 to explore the latest developments in collective intelligence and use of prediction markets.
The conversation flow, diversity, and challenge to conventional thinking mirrored the forward looking sculptures in nearby Millenium Park.
For those new to prediction markets finding a public prediction market to explore is increasingly easy, for example see the Industry Standard and CFO Magazine. The 2.0 Adoption Prediction Market made news at the recent San Francisco Enterprise 2.0 Conference.
Andrew McAfee lists prediction markets as part of
Enterprise 2.0. This Inside Knowledge Prediction Markets Masterclass (co-authored with colleague Victoria Axelrod) describes the prediction market landscape
Why did I leave Chicago thinking that enterprise use of prediction markets to tap grassroots employee knowledge for forecasting, and in support of innovation. is about to blossom?
1. High Profile Proven Enterprise Prediction Market Applications
Exemplifying the time for new ideas and technology to find their way into widespread adoption first use of an enterprise prediction market is credited to Robin Hanson (George Mason University professor and Consensus Point prediction market platform provider Chief Scientist) and dates to 1990.
HP pioneered use of prediction markets with it's BRAIN project. (Dr. Leslie Fine, now Crowdcast's VP Market Design, was HP's BRAIN lead researcher.) The wider adoption of prediction markets by companies from Google to Best Buy, Cisco Systems, GE Healthcare, General Mills, Qualcomm and ArcelorMittal, is widely reported including in this New York Times articles.
Friday Rami Levy, added to the list in explaining Motorola's evolved use of a prediction market to filter ideas and speed innovation.
2. Technology Evolution
As a pioneering prediction market provider since 1994, Chicago Cluster sponsor Consensus Point hosts high profile clients Best Buy, Motorola and Qualcomm among others. The Chicago meeting also revealed a next generation of vendors including Crowdcast and Spigit. Crowdcast's focus is forecasting business results. Spigit gets attention because of Warburg Pincus's recent $10m investment. Their platform targets "innovation management" and embeds prediction in a social networking platform.
Each provider is carving out a niche and extending enterprise prediction market applications. In the process platforms are evolving, made easier to use and integrate into day-to-day business processes.
3. Growing Enterprise Understanding
While enterprise prediction markets have been the province of innovative companies, the Chicago participants pointed to a diverse and expanding array of new applications.
The talent represented in each of the platform vendor executive teams, and among participants implementing new applications, was also thought provoking about factors in successful use. Putting prediction markets to work in enterprises demands a wide array of skills from technical understanding for making markets perform within the culture of an organization, to relationship building to engage participants and encourage contribution. Quantitative skills + tie to business strategy + relationship building + technology are all essential.
What have I missed? If you were in the room in Chicago, or not, please comment to inform my reflection on the discussions.
~ Jenny Ambrozek