Knowledge Innovation

Unbound Spiral: Discovery Capital

November 21, 2002 11:07 AM

collectiveSome Thank's Tom!

"Stuart Henshall ( deserves credit for this idea. I take credit for retyping it and adding a few minor tweaks (as well as trying to find a market-y sounding name for the service/process.

How can our companies discover opportunities faster than our competitors? How can we be more perceptive about future difficulties? How can our organizations' leaders become better connected, build new relationships and stay on the cutting edge of learning?

Some of the answers come from new directions. In the last few years we've seen organizations tout the value of 'upstream scanning' activities. And we have seen bottom-line (albeit seemingly short-lived) implications of the "Napster-iztion" of customers: a world where communities of customers learn faster than traditional companies.

But other answers are suggested in something terribly old.

As a leader who wants to remain ahead, you know the biggest surprises come from the edges of perception -- rarely from where you're directing your focus. As that old adage goes, it's what you don't know you don't know that help you -- and hurt you -- the most.

DiscoveryCapital is a service that puts you in touch with ideas and questions outside your daily comfort zone and frame of reference. Explore the edges of new ideas with others who embrace the idea of searching out the new, the different. As a subscriber to DiscoveryCapital you will find yourself in an extended focus group with an emergent agenda controlled by the participants.

DiscoveryCaplital is an online networks 1000ís of remarkable people. It beats e-lists, online discussion forums and lethargic participation rates. DiscoveryCapital rewards participants for their postings.

How does it work?

One of the keys to DC is how it randomizes connections between innovative people.

DiscoveryCapital subscribers are assigned to a random e-list of a dozen people. Each exchange list is valid for two weeks. DC members are exposed to 26 different groups each year, with upwards of 300 people tossing ideas into the ring. New participants are sent a DC 'reminder' - with their new random group response in the e-mail header. It simple asks them to respond to their group with something interesting they've seen today, something they've been reflecting on, some thorny problem they've been tackling.

In order to foster a sense of activity - there has to be some enforcement for 'group performance' (as odious as that is -- for all sorts of reasons). The DiscoveryCapital moderators need to toss those who never participate (or, at least, goad them on). These "performance criteria" should be published - numbers participating in which groups, total no of postings, average 'ratings' (a la Ebay rating system), etc. Part of the DC service would be a kind of search capabilities -- DC participant in Company "A" is intrigued by DC-Participants "Brian", "Raul" and "JoAnne". They need to be able to connect. They need to be able to take the ideas and develop them (offering, for example, these 4 participants the tools to run a topic-focused DiscoveryCapital sponsored blog. The most active of the DC-participants will probably find it addictive and appealing -- they can become the people that search out other like-minded DC-participant candidates.

We reckon this could be a big deal in a pretty broad range of companies...