In a previous blog post – Web Naivety – I cited an example of tapping into social networks (well, people in general really) to spot new business opportunities. The example given was a company that encouraged employees to submit new product ideas and then democratically vote on them. The end result was a new product, that would have been lucky to survive the traditional management approach to business development, that now accounted for 30% of total sales.

Here’s another example. Reported in the New York Times – Google’s Lunchtime Betting Game. The article is worth a read in full, and covers some insights from experts in prediction markets. Here’s the short version:

Google is encouraging employees to go online and place bets on a prediction market. Whether its questions about what Google might be up to or its competitors, play money – Goobles – is used to track results. Google has set aside $10,000 of real money per quarter to convert Goobles into bonuses. You could argue its another example of Data as Currency. In this example, Google acquires insights that are more likely to be well-reasoned (useful when challenging conventional wisdom and expected outcomes) and the whole process is turned into a fun activity with potential rewards all round for being right.

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