UC Riverside’s Sloan Center for Internet Retailing has just launched their eLab eXchange, a website for gathering collective predictions about marketing in the digital world. The New York Times had a nice write up about it yesterday.
The eLab eXchange features two of NewsFutures knowledge aggregation mechanisms of which there are precious few public examples: Competitive Forecasting and Idea Pageants. So, if you’re curious about what they look and feel like, just take a look at the eLab eXchange…
NewsFutures invented and refined those techniques over the years as simpler/better-fit alternatives to prediction markets for some enterprise problems and contexts. When people don’t have an intuitive feel for “trading”, or have serious time constraints (eg, senior execs), it’s important to provide tools that are easy to use and don’t require any training… Nowadays, we find that most companies we work for naturally choose to use one of these alternative mechanisms for gathering the wisdom of their crowd. These approaches fit the customer’s problem tightly so we don’t have to fit the customer’s problem to a generic prediction market approach.
Competitive forecasting is specialized for extracting range forecasts for business variables, like sales, prices, market share, etc, while Idea Pageants are designed especially for the task of quickly identifying the best new ideas in a very large pool. For instance, the New York Times article cited above mentions two of NewsFutures other clients: Arcelor Mittal is a long-time user of Competitive Forecasting, while InterContinental Hotels Group relies on an Idea Pageant to vet new business ideas.
Importantly, both of these approaches stay true to what NewsFutures believes should be the two pillars of any reality-based knowledge aggregation mechanism: reward people for (a) being right, (b) before others.
We look forward to your questions and comments about these approaches, which you can now get your hands on at UC Riverside’s eLab eXchange.