Long tail innovation in internal crowds - hidden dream teams in your organization
LONG TAIL OF INNOVATION IN INTERNAL CROWDS …a case story of a hidden dream team! Frank Hatzack and Maria Carlsen @frankhatzack, @MaCarlsen Innovation Office, Novozymes R&D
WHAT IS THE ‘LONG TAIL’ OF INNOVATION?Notion that creativity has a highly skewed distribution in inventorcrowds. Breakthrough innovations are usually found in the ‘long tail’section of the distribution curve, meaning they are rare but highlyvaluable.
SETTING THE SCENE FOR OUR CASE STUDYIn Novozymes R&D we usecollaborative online idea campaignson a regular basis… Who scores the most successful ideas…because they have delivered new in such online campaigns? ideas which turned into projects… Are they our ‘usual inventors’?…as well as a few potential breakthrough innovations. What do high performance inventors have in common?Hence, we have started to investigate If they were basketball players, whata couple of questions: kind of breed would they be?
THE CASE AT HAND Growth Bets 2011 online idea campaignONLINE PHASE 2. Selection 1. Selection 96 inventors 25 top ideas 5 winner ideas MATURATION 222 ideas Participants were scientists of the global R&D organization, selected by a tiered peer selection system. There were more participants than the 96 active inventors. Further details to be published. Due to the highly complex technologies in scope of this campaign the external crowd option was deselected at the time being.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN IDEA AND INVENTORPOPULATIONS IN THE CAMPAIGN:Does your history in idea posting make you a top performer in thecampaign?? Ideas Inventorstop-category of 25 ideas 5 winning ideas with a history of posting 31 ideas on the idea web ? with no history of posting 65 ideas on the idea web 197 other ideas idea web: internal idea collection established over several years. Comprising hundreds of ideas regarding new technologies and products. About 70 - 90 ideas are posted each year.
LIMITATIONS & CAVEATSThe findings presented here are of highly preliminarycharacter: As of now we only have compared inventive performance in one campaign with the inventive activity records of only one other source, namely the idea web Clearly, one needs to take into account other records of inventiveness such as publications and IP to get a more granular picture (on-going) Also, one has to investigate more than just one idea campaign dataset to confirm presented conclusions The inventor population sample studied here is rather small and all our statements which go beyond strictly descriptive content have to be taken with a grain of salt…
THE FIRST THING WE DID WAS TO TAKE A CLOSER LOOK ATTHE INVENTORS WITH A HISTORY ON THE IDEA WEB Ideas Inventors with a history of posting 31 ideas on the idea web ? with no history of posting 65 ideas on the idea web 197 other ideas
WE FOUND THAT THE IDEA DISTRIBUTION CURVE OF THIS GROUP HAD AN ASSYMETRIC SHAPE WITH A LONG TAIL 35 idea web curve 30 25 31 participants in the campaign had a historical record of posting a total ofno. of posted ideas 149 ideas on the idea web over severall years (inventors A to AE) 20 15 10 5 0 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z AA AB AC AD AE inventors
A SUB-GROUP OF EIGHT HIGHLY ACTIVE INVENTORS STOOD OUT: THEY CONTRIBUTED 70% OF THE IDEAS 35 idea web curve 30 25no. of posted ideas A ‘High Activity Group’ of only 8 inventors (A – H) contributed 103 ideas to the idea 20 web over the years. Thus, this sub-group accounted for 70% of the ideas. 15 10 5 0 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z AA AB AC AD AE inventors
LONG TAIL GROUP: THE REMAINING 23 INVENTORS HAD A RECORD OF POSTING OCCASIONALLY OR SELDOMLY ON THE IDEA WEB 35 idea web curve 30 25no. of posted ideas 20 15 10 Long tail group: 23 inventors (I – AE) accounted for 46 (30%) of 5 the idea-web ideas in question 0 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z AA AB AC AD AE inventors
ON-LINE CAMPAIGN OBSERVATIONS: The ‘long tail group’ outperformed the ‘high activity group’ by producing more top-category ideas. Also, all 5 winner ideas were ‘from the tail’. ‘THE BANG IS IN THE TAIL!’ 35 idea web curve 30 25 x Top category idea (x= no. of top category ideas posted)no. of posted ideas 1 Winning idea 20 15 2 10 1 1 5 1 1 campaign curve 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z AA AB AC AD AE inventors
IF THIS WAS BASKETBALL… then ‘long tail’ inventors would be the kind of hidden talent players with dream team potential which you were almost unaware of. In the present game they spectacularly outperformed the regulars by scoring more points with fewer shots per player … and they did all the slam dunks! Also, a number of players with no historic record showed up and scored 6 times! inventors with history on idea web inventors with noCampaign history on the ideastats High actitivity Long tail group web basketball terms group (A-H) (I-AE)inventors players 8 23 64total ideas shots 49 68 73ideas/inventor shots pr player 6.1 3.0 1.1top ideas scored points 4 15 6winner ideas slam dunks 0 5 0hit rate shot accuracy 8% 22% 8%hit probability probability to score 50% 65% 9% in game
WHAT MOBILIZED THE HIDDEN DREAM TEAM?We are not sure yet but a couple of reasons seem likely: Monetary or material incentives were not promised and can therefore be ruled out. Awards were symbolic tokens only.
CONCLUSIONThere are 5 good reasons to conduct internal online idea campaigns1. Mobilize the great innovation potential of your less prominent and less outspoken inventors. Organizations tend to overlook their ‘hidden dream team’2. Capture their great ideas and turn them into projects for new growth. Allow them to engage in this process3. Save costs – online idea campaigns are substantially cheaper than face-to-face ones!4. Boost an engaging innovation culture across your organization5. Try out internal crowd sourcing first before you go external – you dodge the IP-challenge and you may be positively surprisedAnd there is a sixth one, which is detailed in another slide deck: http://slidesha.re/165rt6w6. Leverage inventor diversity by engaging highly diverse crowds for optimal outcomes