Tag Archives: crowdsourcing

Making Change Stick

Change management is a one of the most demanding aspects of project management, in part because it’s intertwined with human psychology which can prove even more daunting than mapping dependencies on a Gantt chart.

Previously, I highlighted a project that made change fun, such as changing stairs into piano keys to encourage people to use the healthier option rather than taking the escalator, and books such as Switch remind us that change has both an emotional and rational element to it.

Hear are two new examples of change management, one innovative and one that ultimately fizzled out.

Idea Submission At Technicolor

First the bad, as highlighted in the HBR blog at a Technicolor Plant in Michigan things started off great and got better, in asking for submissions from front line employees in 2003 then got 3,000 ideas in 2006 they got 20,000. Fantastic success, but it all happened because managers made it a priority, when the incentives for managers to focus on process improvement ended the ideas weren’t captured and it stopped. There’s never been any shortage of front line ideas, but when the management incentives changed, the submissions stopped.

Reusable Boxes At eBay

Second, in the Sloan Review an idea that has more promise (and incidentally was crowdsourced). eBay have redesigned their boxes to make reuse easier. There’s a clear alignment of incentives here, reuse is easier, helping the planet and customers, but the boxes are branded, reinforcing the eBay brand.

We shall see if it sticks, but it looks promising so far.

So, a good reminder on some of the helpful aspects of change management.

1. The incentives need to be in place, once these stopped at Technicolor, so did the change.

2. Make it fun, whether piano stairs or colorful boxes, fun is one of the best motivational tools.


Best of Craigslist and the wisdom of crowds

The are a number of examples of crowdsourcing, as formalized by James Surowiecki and his insightful book The Wisdom of Crowds. The idea that you can create good content, information or ideas by an open process where a broad collection of people can choose to submit and then vote on ideas, with the most popular ideas rising to the top.

My favorite if trivial example is the ‘best of Craigslist’ site here. As you’re probably aware, Craigslist enables people to buy and sell things through a low fidelity, but very successful mass posting board. Some of those postings are notably clever, funny or weird. Note the language and content of the posts isn’t controlled or censored.

I also discuss some of the media implications of the crowdsourcing trend here.