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Collective intelligence based algorithms for the coordination and harnessing of the corporate crowd's innovation potential

Collective intelligence based algorithms for the coordination and harnessing of the corporate crowd's innovation potential

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Published by: Coins on Aug 28, 2011
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08/28/2011

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Collective intelligence based algorithms for the coordination and harnessing of thecorporate crowd’s innovation potential
Ioanna Lykourentzou
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, Dimitrios J. Vergados
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and Amedeo Napoli
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INRIA, 615 rue du Jardin Botanique, 54600 Villers-lès-Nancy, France
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School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Zographou Campus,15773 Athens, GreeceCorporate innovation, i.e. the firm’s ability to generate new knowledge, ideas and solutions faster than itscompetitors, is acknowledged as a major source of competitive advantage and consequently its development isa central target of strategic management. A major key asset for the development of corporate innovation is theeffective harnessing of the organization’s intangible human resources, i.e. the expertise, knowledge and ideasof its staff members.To perform this harnessing organizations traditionally rely on hierarchical approaches, in which small groupsof selected experts collaborate towards the development of new knowledge and solutions under thesupervision of a human coordinator. This approach can guarantee the quality and timeliness of the final result,but it often limits the innovation ability of the organization due to a series of disadvantages. These include anarrow solution range, due to the limited number of collaborators, peer pressure and herding, as well asbottlenecks in the knowledge production, linked to the cognitive saturation of the human coordinator.Viewing the impressive results often achieved by more participative forms of collaboration in the publicinternet, and in an effort to tap their in-house innovation capabilities more efficiently, corporations haverecently started to experiment with crowd-involving approaches. These include prediction markets,crowdsourcing and collaborative content creation applications such as corporate wikis. Such approaches indeeddemonstrate more innovation potential, with prediction markets offering impressive accuracy, crowdsourcingproducing remarkably novel solutions and wikis covering broad knowledge fields. However, even in their mostcollaborative forms, these approaches do not seem to tap the full potential of the corporate crowd. For exampleprediction markets can typically forecast only among predefined sets of events, crowdsourcing does not allowfor an organizational-wide skill combination, since it is mainly based on competition and wikis have oftenbeen criticized for questionable content quality, not guaranteed content production time and increasedoverhead costs as a result of the community self-coordination character.A solution is therefore needed to combine the high quality result that the experts performing in small focusedgroups can produce with the diversity of ideas and solutions that a collaborating crowd can come up with. Toachieve the above, and in harmony with the latest suggestions of relevant research literature, in this paperwe propose a novel, algorithm-based mechanism that actively coordinates the collaboration of the corporatecrowd, reducing the self-coordination costs of the latter and systematically facilitating the emergence of itscollective potential.To develop this mechanism we applied a collective intelligence (CI), swarm-inspired approach. In general,swarm-based methods suggest that the coordinated collaboration of multiple entities, performed through adistribution of tasks amongst them and a subsequent aggregation of their localized actions, can producesignificant collective results, while keeping the individual workload low. So far these approaches have

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