Implementing collective intelligence processes

Exploit collective intelligence: a catalyst power for innovation generation

‘A group, in the right circumstances, can be smarter than its smartest member’

(James Surowiecki, The Wisdom of Crowds, 2005)

Collective Intelligence can be used in various stages of implementing a strategy that promotes innovation within organisations (see the ‘Innovation flow’ graph), crossing horizontally all vertical separated phases. It may include the exploitation of participatory approaches and the use of the resources available among crowds. In CIPTEC, collective intelligence processes were mainly used in an integrated way for the generation of new innovations, addressing underserved segments and needs of both suppliers and users.

If you are interested in tackling underserved needs by introducing new solutions for Public Transport in your city, you may consider putting forth a collective intelligence project to crowdsource and co-produce novel approaches.

Use the citizens’ collective intelligence and make Public Transport more innovative, increasing its attractiveness and market share!

When users are involved in the design or development of a good/service, its end value is enhanced, as they can tailor the product/service according to their needs. Through the adoption of collective intelligence processes, the ability of an organisation to provide personalised products/services and better customisation to its users is considerably increased.

Two main processes that the term “collective intelligence” encompasses in order to support innovation and increase attractiveness of Public Transport, are “crowdsourcing” and “co-creation”.

These two processes are applicable at any stage or step of the innovation flow. They can be used together or as stand-alone tools, and can help design new innovative concrete concepts/solutions or adapt the existing ones by using the knowledge of the crowd.

Co-creation (co-design) is a participatory and collaborative process which is based on the creativity of a small group of two or more people. It can be applied to the production and creation of new innovative concepts and ideas. A co-creation workshop is primarily focused on action: participants from different backgrounds (e.g. experts, business core teams/ operators, representatives of passengers, etc.), collaborate, work together freely and contribute towards serving the objectives of the workshop.

Co-creation workshops are increasingly popular in many projects and organisations, as there are some benefits resulting from their application:

  • Customised products/services
  • Higher customer satisfaction and loyalty
  • Reduced costs
  • Reduced risk of innovation efforts that do not meet customer needs
  • Reduced time to market for innovations
  • Increased sales and profits for organisations
  • Continuous improvements of products/services
  • Better decision-making
  • More successful innovations
  • Mobilising the innovation potential that people acquire

Crowdsourcing ->  “outsourcing the work to the crowd

Crowdsourcing is rapidly gaining the interest of the business community as a method of collecting sources of different types (e.g. data, ideas, funding, etc.) from the crowd. Crowdsourcing for innovation can allow organisations to include the ‘sentiment’ of the crowd within their decision-making. The feedback received from the crowd provides an understanding of the opportunities and weaknesses of the submitted ideas, as well as a preliminary appreciation of the potential market reaction.

Well-established brands of different industry sectors (e.g. manufacturing, transport and warehousing, public administration, educational services, real estate, health care and social assistance, information and cultural industries) use crowdsourcing for inviting people to share their ideas/solutions:

Ford, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Nivea, Colgate, Lufthansa Cargo, British Airways, NASA etc.

Although the Public Transport sector usually influences a large and loyal community of people in any city and its services gain the interest of public, crowdsourcing has not been widely used so far by Public Transport Authorities (PTAs) and Public Transport Operators (PTOs).

There is no better time than now to use crowdsourcing to develop innovative concepts for Public Transport!