the project: Deploy a prediction market to aggregate new business ideas suggested by Motorola employees and \n\nassess their viability. A prediction market is a system for forecasting the outcome of projects or events based on how willing \n\nindividuals are to buy "stock" in them. Users buy shares to vote items up. Each item is evaluated based on how much it is \n\n"worth:" The higher the value, the more popular the idea.\n\nMore on CIO.com\nTo Hell with Business Intelligence: 40 Percent of Execs Trust Gut\n\nWeb 2.0 and Social Networking for Business: Take the Plunge\n\nthe business case: Motorola sought to allow any employee the opportunity to propose ideas for new products, \n\nupgrades to current products, productivity improvements or cycle-time reductions, says Rami Levy, distinguished member of \n\nMotorola's technical staff and a member of its open-source technology team, which manages the prediction markets for the \n\ncompany. In 2003, Motorola had built a system to collect ideas, called ThinkTank. But when thousands of suggestions poured in, \n\nthe teams that were supposed to weed through them were overwhelmed.\n\nUsing prediction market technology, Motorola could engage employees in the selection process by letting them vote for the \n\nideas they thought had the best business potential. The most popular ideas could then be selected for further study and \n\neventually be developed.\n\nfirst steps: Levy and his team worked with a variety of director-level managers, including senior VPs, to \n\nsecure buy-in for the project. "ThinkTank was already being sponsored by an SVP," he says, but they needed support from others \n\nwho would have to produce the business-case and user scenarios for new product ideas. That sponsorship was crucial to \n\nobtaining cross-organizational participation and funding for the tool. \n\nOnce Levy's team secured management support, they integrated prediction software from Consensus Point (called ThinkTank Idea \n\neXchange, or TIX, internally), with its existing ThinkTank application. In a six-month pilot during 2007, they experimented \n\nwith market parameters, such as how long to keep ideas in play and how to finance participants' purchases.\n\nToday, employees submit ideas to ThinkTank, where anyone within Motorola can vote on them. Ideas that receive at least five \n\nvotes are eligible for TIX, where each idea is initially valued at $10 per share. Anyone who wants to participate gets \n\n$100,000 to start with to buy the stock of the ideas they like best. As employees buy or sell shares, the value of the idea \n\nrises\u2014or not. After 30 days, an idea review team determines which of the top-valued ideas to pursue. Winners are judged based \n\non their stock performance, and participants who hold stock in winning ideas get a bonus.\n\nIt typically takes 18 months to develop a product at Motorola, so the first product ideas vetted through TIX are expected to \n\ncome to market this year, Levy says.\n\nwhat to watch out for: Market parameters that work in one circumstance won't necessarily work in another, \n\nsays Levy. You have to fine-tune your system to your environment. Motorola decided to limit an idea to a month in TIX to \n\nensure new ideas were always entering the market. Meanwhile, even though employees find participating fun, you need to get \n\nthem involved and keep them engaged. Levy's team ran ads on the company's intranet, conducted user satisfaction surveys and \n\nincorporated social media into the system. "Socialize the experience," he recommends, "by integrating user comments, tagging, \n\nrecommendations and links to other information."\n\nDo you Tweet? Follow me on Twitter @kmburnham. Follow everything from CIO Magazine on Twitter @CIOMagazine.