Incentives don't always have be about money. In fact, the incentives
we've seen work best have more to do with self-motivation than
Figuring out the appropriate incentives for your company or customers can
be difficult. We've tried to assemble this list of what people have tried
or ideas we've recommended of how to provide continuing motivation.
Length of Questions: Depending on the types of
questions you run, ideally they should be a mix of long-term and
short-term, or all short-term. By having some or all of your questions be
short-term, users are more active on the site because things are current,
and they see how they do right away. If questions are too long-term (longer
than 8 months), people will place their initial forecasts and never think
about it again.
Loud and Often: There is nothing better than being
right. When you have questions where the crowd has accurately predicted
something, trumpet it as loud as possible. Suddenly the non-believers may
start to become believers.
Ongoing Communication: The second best thing to your
users participating is reading about the crowdsourced forecasts. Project
managers who have set up blogs to discuss the project on a regular basis
have been highly successful at keeping people motivated to participate. A
blog creates a natural community around crowdsourced forecasts for people
to have an additional outlet to discuss. If there is no blogging allowed or
the software is not available, consider doing a simple weekly email update
to all the eligible participants. Write it as a newsletter to keep it
interesting and readable. Invite others to publish question updates as
well, either as a community-driven blog or via email.
Widgets, Widgets Everywhere: Internally, you could use
our REST API to build your own widgets. These widgets should be placed all
over Intranets, in emails, at the end of articles, etc. all in an effort to
drive mindshare towards the crowdsourced forecasts.
Introducing New Questions: Because there are potential
“first mover” advantages for newly introduced questions, more astute (note:
your most active) forecasters will monitor the creation of new markets
closely. New questions also incent less active participants to return to
the site because there is a greater likelihood they will find something of
interest. Finally, adding new questions, like regularly updating the
content on a web site, simply makes it more “sticky” and gives the
impression the site is active.
Interesting Insights: We provides a series of reports
(as csv files) to give you insight in to what's happening on the site.
Could you marry this with demographic information you know about your
participants to create new interesting insights about a group of people?
Has someone shown particularly interesting forecasting patterns? Is there a
question where the conventional wisdom says one thing, the crowd forecast
is saying another? Examples such as these should be highlighted as often as
Profile/Interview Your Users: Do you ever wonder what
makes the #1 person tick? Why do they participate so much? Who are they?
People love to learn more about who is behind the pseudonyms.
Champions: Before launching your forecasting site make
sure you have "champions" inside and/or outside the organization
who are the public face of the effort in addition to yourself. Ideally this
would be someone very senior or a widely known thought leader whom people
typically respect. Have these people comment on the project a couple times
a month by blogging about it or sending out emails to traders.
Cash Incentives: We don’t think cash incentives are
necessary to drive participation and gain accurate forecasting. However if
you do decide to offer cash incentives there are some methods we’ve seen
work better than others. Typically the first reaction is to offer a reward
to the top forecasters across a series of questions, or
"challenge", or sitewide. You may want to reward participants by
accuracy points, e.g., select your top 5 accuracy leaders each month.
Note: If you've activated Geek Mode for your site, you might wonder if
you can tie cash incentives to the virtual currency in Forecasts. However,
because of how the currency works (there are potentially an infinite
amount), it would be very difficult to tie cash directly to the Forecasts
Multiple Incentives: Consider offering multiple
incentives, some strictly based on performance on the site (accuracy
points), others based on simply participating. For example, you could offer
rewards for performance in each individual question. You could also perform
lotteries among people who have left substantive comments or been upvoted
or to those who have created and run their own questions. Finally,
rewarding all participants in a question for making a forecast that was
directionally correct are potentially the most satisfying, e.g. a Friday
afternoon off or pizza party for all participants who participated in a
question accurately forecasting an important sales number.
Soft Incentives: You should not underestimate the
power of “soft incentives.” Typically your users have never had an
opportunity to express themselves about business decisions, forecasts, etc.
They’ve simply never been asked. For many people this is a powerful
incentive itself. Also, once you’ve gotten people to participate initially,
you should reinforce crowdsourced forecasts as a new way of working, and
encourage people give their input regularly. If a boss or manager is
invested in this, they will be too!
Integrate Forecasting Results in to your Business
Processes: Talk about the results at your meetings, use the
reports and API to extract interesting data from the forecasting results,
begin presenting the crowd probabilities alongside your "official
forecasts," etc. We have a client who is the COO of the company - he
talks about the results of the crowdsourced forecasts at weekly status
meetings; a great way to keep people's interest.
Run Provocative Questions: You don't have to run
markets like "Will the CEO be fired?" but don't be afraid to
ask the tough questions. Crowdsourced forecasting is a great risk
mitigation tool. If you know some troubling information early, you can fix
it before it becomes a bigger problem.
Run Non-Business "Fun" Questions: This has
been especially helpful when people are first starting out. Supplement the
business questions on your site with newsworthy non-business related
questions that everyone can relate to. Something about a TV show or a
sporting event. That way people will feel much less "risk" when
they forecast for the first time and will learn how to get around in the
application without it seeming so serious. You should keep these kinds of
questions going throughout the project, to keep people interested.
Let People Create Their Own Questions: As the
administrator, you have complete control over what gets published on the
site. Let people create their own questions and see what happens. Most
assume you'll just get "junk" or questions that are too
"controversial" to be published, but why not wait until that
happens before shutting down the option for people to create their own. You
may find this grassroots approach actually creates a more robust set of
questions than if you are just creating them yourself. In many of our
client instances, site traffic rose dramatically after people were able to
create their own questions.
Exclusive Access as Incentive: One final idea for
providing incentive is to create two separate sites – one for the “general
public” or “general employees” and another for those who have performed
particularly well over a period of time in individual questions. For
example, you may have 10,000 employees participating in the “general” site.
Every 3 months, you invite 1,000 of those employees to participate in the
“exclusive” site. This potentially is the only place in corporate
operations where title means nothing, access is gained by exhibiting your
forecasting prowess. And you don’t get to rest on your laurels once you
make it to the “exclusive” site; you have to perform at a certain level or
your access is revoked and others from the general marketplace take your
place. Note: This can only happen if your general site is highly active,
and you're generating and resolving questions within short timeframes
to judge accuracy.
More questions? Go back to the Support page or contact us.