Internal prediction markets enable colleagues to wager on the fate of crucial projects and the success of products in the pipeline.
By Chris Taylor
Why: Corporate decision-making gets smarter if it taps the insights of rank-and-file employees.
Key innovation: Private prediction markets let employees forecast the results of corporate choices.
Crowdcast helps companies set up private predictions markets inside their organizations in order to use the collective knowledge and experience of employees to guide management decisions. Employees are given a stake of play money to start with and then bet on the outcomes of company activities, like whether a product will ship on time or how well it will be received in the market. Crowdcast has developed a Web-based software platform that allows its clients to easily collect and analyze this "social business intelligence."
According to Gartner, business intelligence and analytics software surpassed $9 billion in 2009 and is expected to continue showing strong growth. Founded in 2007, Crowdcast has already landed major corporations like Hallmark and GM as clients, as well as universities like Harvard and MIT.
Crowdcast's service combines two popular trends, harnessing the wisdom of crowds to make predictions, and social gaming. Management sees improved accuracy in its forecasts, and employees feel like they are being listened to while having fun trying to amass the most virtual cash.
Challenges and Next Steps:
Management might not like what it hears from employees, which can sometimes lead companies to drop Crowdcast's service even when it has shown results. Over time, the company will have to show that its service is not only cool, but good for the bottom line.