Lets Jam: Drawing from the Wisdom of Your Employees

Every work environment gives rise to social and work-related interactions between employees as well as employees and customers. These interactions create a socially interlinked work environment that affects the motivation and perceived satisfaction of employees and thereby performance. It also hosts a wealth of intrinsic business knowledge and potentially competitive advantage. In addition, recent advances in technology have enabled new means of interaction through instant messaging, blogs and sometimes open discussion forums. In 2006, IBM hosted the Innovation Jam — a moderated on-line discussion among IBM worldwide employees and external contributors — with the objective of identifying innovative and promising “Big Ideas”. We describe the data from the Jam and investigate several analytical approaches to address the challenge of understanding “how innovation happens”. Specifically, we examine whether it is possible to identify characteristics of such discussions and the implicit social network that are more likely to lead to innovative ideas. We demonstrate the social network structure of data and its time dependence, and discuss the findings of both supervised and unsupervised data analytics.

By: Claudia Perlich, Yan Liu, Rick Lawrence, Wojciech Grye, Mary Helander, Chandan Reddy, Saharon Rosset

Published in: RC24708 in 2008


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