Usability, content, search and analytics on the corporate intranet

Staff crowdsourcing pilot using Spigit

21 August, 2010 – Luke Oatham
My last post talked about my experiences as a moderator of a public crowdsourcing site and included a quick usability analysis.

I’ve also been involved in an internal pilot project to evaluate the Spigit platform as a method of harvesting ideas from staff.


Most of the platforms that I have looked at use a voting/rating mechanism, combined with comments and discussion in order to bubble ideas to the top.  I’ve been using the Spigit platform for the past month and it immediately stands out as wildly different from the other platforms.  It has the same voting/rating mechanisms plus comments and discussion.  But Spigit uses more sophisticated  techniques to sift out the best ideas.

Algorithms based on human behavioural science, not only track ideas but also people.  It is similar to the Google PageRank method where influential websites add weight to other websites by linking to them.  In this crowdsourcing space, influential people add weight to others’ ideas.  You become influential by posting ideas and comments, being voted for and becoming an expert in certain fields.  This method helps separate the masses who vote for an idea (but who individually have little influence and do not support the idea any further) from the singleton influencers, innovators and collaborators who are actively constructive in creating, promoting and nurturing ideas.

On Spigit, ideas must pass through a series of phases before they are considered viable and emerge at the other end of the funnel process.  The phases span from having to hit simple pageview targets and creating buzz, to recruiting people into a virtual idea team and then “floating” your idea on the internal virtual stock market.  And it’s possible to upload documents and videos to support ideas and discussion.

Sounds complex?  Compared to the other platforms where you just vote and comment, it is.  Yet, having used it, other theories along the lines of “most popular idea wins” start to reek of the playground.  It becomes clear that “idea quality” and “influential backing” are more important factors in sifting the intelligence and elevating the good, rather than popular, ideas.

To use the Spigit system, you must signup and create a user account, which comes pre-loaded with virtual currency.  There is also a viral flavour to the system allowing teams and idea makers to recruit additional staff into the mix.  As ideas progress through the funnel, top ideas are floated on the virtual market and this adds a competitive element to the platform through gaming/trading.  You can buy and sell shares in ideas.  And you could use your virtual currency to convert into prizes, time in lieu etc.  It’s a technique that encourages you to come back to the site.

Our pilot has yielded enough response to warrant wider roll-out.  Out of all the ideas during the pilot, three made it through all the required phases, getting enough buzz and backing to be ready for review at board level.

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