Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Idea Generation, Creativity, and Incentives

Columbia University researcher Olivier Toubia used an online discussion tree to devise an impact-based measure of how one idea in a group setting affects the generation of other ideas. That measure then served as the basis of an incentive system to reward individuals for stimulating ideas among other group members. An online test of the measure, with three groups of 26 members each, showed its value compared to two more common incentive methods.

The test asked the groups to generate ideas on the same problem — in this case, how to improve the United Nations Security Council. In the first group, everyone received the same flat fee. In the second group, your reward depended on how many ideas you contributed. In the third group, your reward depended on how many ideas other group members added to your ideas in the discussion tree.

The results showed that the third group generated more ideas overall, more different streams of ideas and ideas that were more fully articulated.

Read the rest here (text borrowed directly from Columbia's Ideas@Work).