White Paper: Network Intelligence

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The networks and communities that can now be accessed are broader and richer terrains than they’ve ever been before, because the opportunity to connect immediately with people and the information that they have to offer has improved exponentially in this digital age. A recent study by Social Essentials, ComScore and Facebook’s new social media research platform says that, “a Facebook analysis of top 100 brand pages reveals that for every fan there are an additional 34 friends of fans that can be reached. This multiplier was found to grow even larger when one looked beyond the top 100 brands.”2 This means that when asking a question, setting a challenge, seeking feedback by casting for it out into the lake of ideas, that it’s not just about what you catch, it’s also about the ripple effects.

It is estimated that a Top 100 brand network has the potential to reach nearly 232 million people. That network can include internal employees, customers, vendors, prospective customers and all of their associated communities.

What's Inside

Consider how to make meaning outside the boundaries of the organization.
Learn how the EPA used network intelligence to solve a significant problem.
See how AT&T reached deep into their network to create their new product, Toggle.

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White Paper: Network Intelligence

  1. 1. 
 NETWORK INTELLIGENCE JESSICA DAY, ROMI MAHAJAN & ROB HOEHN IDEASCALE
  2. 2. 
 The Network Has Always Been There An Organization’s Reach Making Meaning Outside the Boundaries of the Organization The Mind as Itinerant Traveler IdeaScale: How You Get In Touch with Your Network Case In Point: Implementing Ideas at the Speed of Suggestion Conclusion 3 4 4 5 6 7 Network Intelligence
 The Source Of True Innovation
  3. 3. 
 The Network Has Always Been There John Harrison was the son of a carpenter with a passion for clockwork. One story goes that when he was ill as a child, he spent his bed-rest dismantling and re-assembling a working pocket watch just for amusement. Some of the clocks that he produced over the course of the 18th century were considered to be the most accurate clocks in the world at the time and are still on display in some of the finer museums today. The maritime trade in the early 18th century was intrinsic to the economy and industry of England, but it was also treacherous. And one of the challenges that made those voyages so perilous was the problem of accurately tracking longitude – there just wasn’t a tool to do it. The earliest captains relied on dead reckoning for long voyages, which sometimes resulted in ships running aground with crews (and their cargo) lost. And so, by an act of Parliament, the Longitude Prize was established which was an invitation to the entire British population to provide an easy and accessible method for measuring a ship’s longitude.1 John Harrison, talented clockmaker that he was, emerged from the crowd and provided the world’s first marine chronometer, a truly next-generation innovation that was used by sea captains well into the 20th century to accurately track longitude. Even in 1714, the responsibility for innovation wasn’t something that rested with a single person or even a group of people. Fortunately, British Parliament had enough wisdom to look beyond the boundaries of their own legislators and was able to produce a tool that could help sustain maritime travel for their nation by accessing the widest network available to them. John Harrison wasn’t a public figure, really, and there is no other way that they would have found him otherwise. The search for knowledge must cast a wider net and, today, network intelligence has never been more important or more accessible. Network Intelligence
 The Source of True Innovation 3NETWORK INTELLIGENCE
  4. 4. 
 4 An Organization’s Reach The networks and communities that can now be accessed are broader and richer terrains than they’ve ever been before, because the opportunity to connect immediately with people and the information that they have to offer has improved exponentially in this digital age. A recent study by Social Essentials, ComScore and Facebook’s new social media research platform says that, “a Facebook analysis of top 100 brand pages reveals that for every fan there are an additional 34 friends of fans that can be reached. This multiplier was found to grow even larger when one looked beyond the top 100 brands.”2 This means that when asking a question, setting a challenge, seeking feedback by casting for it out into the lake of ideas, that it’s not just about what you catch, it’s also about the ripple effects. With these figures in mind, it is estimated that a Top 100 brand network has the potential to reach nearly 232 million people.2 That network can include internal employees, customers, vendors, prospective customers and all of their associated communities as well. And those communities have the ability to change a company dramatically. Which is why 51% of all current crowdsourcing activities are dedicated to creativity and knowledge sharing.3 NETWORK INTELLIGENCE Making Meaning Outside the Boundaries of the Organization Take, for example, the most well-known instance of crowdsourcing: The Netflix Prize. Netflix launched an open competition with a $1 Million purse that would go to anyone that could design an algorithm that out-performed Netflix’s own recommendation algorithm. The competition lasted for four years and saved the company substantial effort and resources by not implementing their own coding team while also helping to improve their bottom line since nearly two thirds of all Netflix rentals come from the recommendations made by Netflix.4 The seven- person team that eventually took the prize was able to improve the accuracy of recommendations by 10% and was composed of a group of researchers and statisticians from AT&T, Yahoo!, and other consulting firms. The team simply heard about the contest over the internet and signed up on the website to compete. That fruits of that contribution are felt in every Netflix subscriber’s homepage of recommendations. Or take another more recent example of an idea sourced from within its own network. AT&T just debuted AT&T Toggle, an application that people can use to safeguard work data on a personal device by being able to switch back and forth between their personal profile and a work profile. Toggle is an innovation that has been called “a game-changing platform that allows mobile users
  5. 5. 
 5 to access their business data on personal Android 2.2+ devices -- regardless of carrier. For the enterprise, business data can be securely managed and safeguarded, even on users’ own devices. And by requiring fewer devices issued to its workforce, an enterprise could make tangible reductions in IT infrastructure cost.”5 And contrary to the pomp of the huge product announcement made by AT&T, the initial idea for Toggle simply came from an AT&T employee who randomly submitted the suggestion to the AT&T idea sharing platform: TIP (The Innovation Pipeline). Because the idea for Toggle fit with requests from numerous enterprise customers, the idea was discussed, improved upon, given to a developer and then later produced for the public. In the first month, the android application was downloaded 5,000 times.6 Opening up the conversation to the entire AT&T work force made possible one of AT&T’s latest innovations at a time when customers were asking for it. In fact, Forrester Research reports that nearly 60 percent of companies allow employees to use personal devices for work.7 Because the employee was encouraged to submit ideas, the idea arrived right when it was necessary, it was acted upon quickly and the final solution was available within a matter of months. It is simply the organization’s responsibility to effectively manage the process of applying the knowledge once they receive it from anywhere within their network, even if the responsibility to dream rests with everyone. The Mind as Itinerant Traveler The days of a CEO one-man show or of cloistered knowledge priesthoods are over. When Allstate was looking for design ideas for a mobile app that it was launching, the winning idea was sourced from one of the firm’s trial attorneys based out of the Buffalo office – hardly the head of their mobile marketing division.8 The growing trend is for both employers and employees to have the flexibility to move outside the bounds of their specific role with the freedom to be creative; ideas no longer have borders. This prevents against the heterogeneity of knowledge and the oppression of corporate monoculture. Another example: when the Environmental Defense Fund was seeking a solution to the problem of agricultural nitrate pollution by soliciting concepts for capture systems and nitrate control they worked with an idea management platform that introduced an open contest for new suggestions. The contest winner was a graduate student at Northwest University named Patrick Fuller who devised a system that collected agricultural runoff in order to cultivate this nitrogen- rich algae formed from nitrate usage and use it as fertilizer, a system that has never been implemented on a large scale before and could have great implications for farmers and NETWORK INTELLIGENCE
  6. 6. 
 environmentalists alike. It’s not only cost-effective, it’s environmentally friendly and it’s about to be tested by Iowa soybean and corn farmers.9 Although Fuller had a background in finance and is currently still working on a degree in chemical engineering, he threw his hat into the ring in hopes of better serving the environment. Without boundaries, great ideas can flourish and result in benefits for the whole network, simply by receiving the right information in the right context from the right source. It doesn’t require 100% participation from all sources all the time. Knowledge sources can contribute when they have knowledge to share, when it’s appropriate, in a non-episodic fashion. And those contributions can be multi-faceted and varied, no matter what the business is. But first, you have to have a way to tap into that knowledge. 6 IdeaScale: How You Get In Touch with Your Network Used by Fortune 500 companies, IdeaScale is a social engagement platform for gathering valuable ideas and insights for any business or organization. Having this sort of centralized management tool allows organizations to easily manage and utilize all the feedback and ideas a business is getting from its users all the time, anytime, from anywhere. IdeaScale is a site where a user submits an idea and others vote on the ideas submitted by users and the best idea gets bubbled up to the top. In this way organizations can ensure that they are in close touch with their network, what they’re looking for, what their needs are, and also what they have to offer. IdeaScale is used by all types of organizations ranging from government agencies to non-profits. And the platform allows for the high-fidelity transmission of ideas that can be acted on in real time. Traditional online research methods and network management tools haven’t been so effective in fostering a sense of community among customers, whereas IdeaScale keeps the conversation going with anyone who wants to join. Additionally, the network is already talking about your organization and sharing great ideas all over the web: on sites like Twitter, Facebook, etc. IdeaScale is a tool that helps manage the conversation while increasing engagement and providing focused, effective feedback for an organization. NETWORK INTELLIGENCE
  7. 7. 
 7 Case In Point: Implementing Ideas at the Speed of Suggestion In January 2010, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) whose mission it is “to provide innovative solutions for other government departments in support of their missions and by so doing foster an effective, sustainable, and transparent government for the American people” selected IdeaScale to help all federal agencies launch an open government web page. The goal was to establish a more consistent and accessible engagement process across all agencies. As of March 31, 2010, almost all U.S. Federal agencies were using the IdeaScale platform. The websites for NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the VA reported the highest participation rates. In March 2010, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) launched the Employee Innovation Challenge (EIC). Powered by the IdeaScale platform, this online campaign encouraged VA employees to share their ideas on how the department could be more efficient in performing its mandate. The first phase of the EIC was idea crowdsourcing by employees. There were two key challenges. First, a short turnaround time (72 hours) to launch the web-based tool. Second, an immense scope. The VA is the 2nd largest US Federal agency, so it was crucial that the platform was highly scalable based on site traffic and number of submissions. In the beginning, 309,000 employees were invited to the EIC. After its 4-233k run, nearly 45,000 employees had participated, providing the Department with 6,552 idea that were submitted and voted on. The ranking of these ideas were decided by the employees themselves. This significantly reduced the costs (and subjective nature) associated with having a research team review, synthesize, and prioritize the ideas that were received. The VA is currently in the second phase of the EIC where the top 75 ideas along with 25 chosen by VA executive will be reviewed by a panel of judges. The initiative demonstrates how involving employees can go a long way in drawing meaningful participation. The the VA’s goal of targeting 25 ideas for full funding, the EIC provided employees with a real opportunity to improve how they deliver programs and services. The winners of the EIC will not only get recognized department-wide, but they will have the opportunity to meet with the VA’s top executive and present their ideas to them. NETWORK INTELLIGENCE
  8. 8. FOR MORE INFORMATION sales@ideascale.com Global / Americas +1 800-549-9198 New Zealand +64-080-099-5088 Australia +61-02-9037-8414 United Kingdom +44-0-808-189-1476 1. Betts, Jonathan. Time Restored: The Story of the Harrison Timekeepers and R.T. Gould, ‘The Man Who Knew (almost) Everything. NMM & Oxford, 2006. Web. 2. Swati. "To Expand Your Brand’s Reach on Facebook, Focus on the Friends of Fans." Web log post. BuzzOm. 28 July 2011. Web. 01 Feb. 2012. <www.buzzom.com/2011/07/to-expand- your-brands-reach-on-facebook-focus-on-the-friends-of- fans/>. 3. "An Introduction to Crowdsourcing." Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding - The Industry Website. Crowdsourcing.org, 02 Feb. 2012. Web. 05 Feb. 2012. <http:// www.crowdsourcing.org/editorial/an-introduction-to- crowdsourcing-infographic/10840>. 4. "Getting to Know You." Interview by Bob Garfield. On the Media. 31 July 2009. Web. 24 Jan. 2012. <http:// www.onthemedia.org/2009/jul/31/getting-to-know-you/ transcript/>. 5. Donovan, John. "The Innovation Story Behind AT&T Toggle." AT&T - Blogs. AT&T, 10 Oct. 2011. Web. 03 Feb. 2012. <http://www.attinnovationspace.com/innovation/story/ a7779351>. 8 6. "AT&T Toggle - Apps on Android Market." Android Market. 7 Dec. 2011. Web. 21 Jan. 2012. <https://market.android.com/ details?id=com.att.atttoggleinstaller>. 7. Forrester Research, Inc., Forrsights: Mobility Dominates Enterprise Telecom Trends In 2011, July 22, 2011.  8. Silverman, Rachel Emma. "For Bright Ideas, Ask the Staff - WSJ.com." Business News & Financial News. Wall Street Journal, 17 Oct. 2011. Web. 22 Jan. 2012. <http:// online.wsj.com/article/ SB10001424052970204774604576631063939483984.ht ml>. 9. "Solving Eco-Challenge 1: Nitrate Capture System." EDF Business - Environmental Defense Fund. Environmental Defense Fund, 13 July 2011. Web. 26 Nov. 2011. <http:// business.edf.org/content/solving-eco-challenge-1-nitrate- capture-system>. 10. Claus, Dennis, and Isabelle Stevens. The Brand Engagement Index. Engage BBDO, 30 Nov. 2010. Web. 9 Feb. 2012. <http://www.slideshare.net/nbbdo/brand-engagement-index- most-engaged-brands>. Conclusion The speed that organizations are expected to evolve is rapidly increasing due to the network of active and passive participants out there that finally have a voice. If a company, institution, group, or team aren’t listening, they are deadening their own creative landscape. When BBDO conducted a brand engagement study in 2010, they summarized this conclusion “Most people agree that brands need the input of their consumers, they have to involve their consumers. There is a strong argument to create and implement brand engagement programs, since the results indicate that people expect two way interactive communication between brands and their consumers.”10 It’s not just an opportunity. It’s an expectation. And there’s no telling what new vistas that listening to your network might open up for you. IdeaScale offers a safe space for both open and closed networks to be creative. It’s up to the organization to take it from there. NETWORK INTELLIGENCE

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