Monday, April 03, 2006

Idea Market

Rajesh Jain quotes an interesting NYT piece:

"At Rite-Solutions, the architecture of participation is both businesslike and playful. Fifty-five stocks are listed on the company's internal market, which is called Mutual Fun. Each stock comes with a detailed description - called an expect-us, as opposed to a prospectus - and begins trading at a price of $10. Every employee gets $10,000 in "opinion money" to allocate among the offerings, and employees signal their enthusiasm by investing in a stock and, better yet, volunteering to work on the project. Volunteers share in the proceeds, in the form of real money, if the stock becomes a product or delivers savings. Mr. Marino, 57, president of Rite-Solutions, says the market, which began in January 2005, has already paid big dividends. One of the earliest stocks (ticker symbol: VIEW) was a proposal to apply three-dimensional visualization technology, akin to video games, to help sailors and domestic-security personnel practice making decisions in emergency situations. Initially, Mr. Marino was unenthusiastic about the idea - "I'm not a joystick jockey" - but support among employees was overwhelming. Today, that product line, called Rite-View, accounts for 30 percent of total sales. "

IMHO: A very interesting way to proliferate ideas, very democratic--just that it seems to work in this case. Started me wondering whether this idea is scalable to large companies. A start could be to have a market for internal projects, mostly hated by employees and, from personal experience, where the returns are mostly eyewash for the organization. Can we incentivize internal teams, can we attract more talented people to interesting internal projects, can we to some extent dilute the subjectivity inherent in measuring the success (or lack, thereof) of internal projects? Would be an interesting experiment. Anybody listening?


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7:27 PM  

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