Enterprise prediction markets give voice to serious, technology-minded professionals who really know their vertical (engineers, analysts and contractors) -and reveal how frivolous and unpertinent most horizontal managers are.

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Via prediction market pioneer Emile Servan-Schreiber of NewsFutures [*], the New York Times (2 pages):

At InterContinental Hotels, Zubin Dowlaty, vice president for emerging technologies, decided to create an online market last fall to “harvest and prioritize ideas” from within the hotel’s 1,000-person technology staff. “We wanted to tap the creative class that may not be able to voice their ideas,” Mr. Dowlaty said. With InterContinental’s prediction market, players were asked to submit ideas anonymously, with a description and the benefit to customers and company. The bettors were given virtual tokens, each receiving 10 green ones to be placed on the best ideas and three red for bad ideas. There were no limits on the number of times bettors could change their wagers as new ideas came to market, and the market was open for four weeks. The five top ideas (most green tokens), five bottom ideas (most red) and the top five bettors (most accurate, according to market consensus) were listed regularly. The winners got $500, while second- and third-place finishers received $250 each. The winners, Mr. Dowlaty said, were engineers, analysts and contractors, not managers. More than 200 people participated, submitting 85 ideas. One person proposed bringing back quarter-operated vibrating beds. “That one got beat down really fast,” Mr. Dowlaty said. The winning ideas were suggestions to improve searching the company’s Web site to find and book hotel rooms. Two projects have been started as a result of the market, Mr. Dowlaty said. Next, he said, prediction markets may be opened up to InterContinental’s customers, probably beginning with members of its Priority Club loyalty program. They could bet in markets for improving service and offerings, with points redeemed. “It’s the next frontier and the natural progression for this,” Mr. Dowlaty said.


InTrade-TradeSports, unlike BetFair-TradeFair, do manage internal, enterprise prediction markets.

Previously: Do Google’s enterprise prediction markets work?