The Danger of bad KPIs for Collective Intelligence

Dont kill my vibeCollective Intelligence is something very fragile and it shouldn’t be endangered by bad KPIs. Let see together how to avoid killing the vibe of the collective intelligence for Innovation.

Establish the vibe using cleaver KPI(s)

Depending of your Collective Intelligence strategy, it can be quite easy to set up KPI(s) that are showing your commitment in growing the community, getting more people involved and getting more results.

However, Collective Intelligence is something fragile and to be protected. It can hardly stands a lack of management supports, a lack of strategy and clarity in pursued goals.

KPI(s) are not only a management tool, don’t forget it is moreover a communication tool. You can engage people in increasing company revenues and innovation rate by giving their ideas of new products and services to you but also seeking and destroying waste along your organisation and processes. To do so, KPI(s) and visual management can help to give the goal, the direction, the target.

Let’s take the standard example of an Idea Box and Idea management system.

Focus on meaning

While deploying your collective Intelligence initiative, focus on the message and on the results.

With our idea box, it could be easy to set up a goal at x ideas  per employee or xx ideas for the whole organisation. What is the message behind? Of course the answer to this question depends of your organisation however in most enterprises it will be more or less « I don’t care about quality, I just want to reach my target to get my annual bonus » or something equivalent.

To give more meaning, set a topic or categories in which you want your people to focus on. Example: Safety, New business, efficiency,… You will see a drastic increase of submitted ideas in correlation with much more quality. Trust people intelligence is key.

Give figures a message

Giving figures is a bad habits in organisation (I think it is « bad Habits N°2 in my ranking, just after using excel for everything but math…). However managers like to establish quantified goals to manage their team. If you just set figures in your collective intelligence intitiative, you will lose support from your employees, trust will fall down and your project will die with no benefit for the company.

Allowing figures you set as target to transmit a message is a powerful tool to have a full alignment of your teams.

For our idea box, let’s imagine your management want you to set a figure of savings. Let’s say, achieve 2M€ savings this year with the submitted ideas. Please consider changing the message and giving the numbers a new horizon, because here it just says « give my money back ». Encourage your team to seek and destroy wasted time or unproductive tasks in your processes with a target t xx% of your « whatever number is relevant » for a global amount of 2M€. Communication changes everything when embedding people.

Worst and best

The worst KPI ever when dealing with Collective Intelligence, esp. with idea box: idea per FTE.

The best seen so far: % of implemented ideas on a specific subject

Do you have good or bad KPIs to share? Share it as a comment!

Thanks for reading.

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