The cloud-based system from Inkling helps Ford Motor decide which new ideas are worth pursuing. Would you like an in-car vacuum?
Ford Motor Company’s stock price on the New York Stock Exchange has almost doubled in the past year, but that’s not the only stock market the company has interest in. The car maker is also tapping a cloud-based prediction market system to get a better handle on which new ideas to pursue.
The simulated stock market, being used by more than 1,300 Ford employees in the United States and Europe, encourages members to comment on various topics and issues through stock market-like trading. Ford is using a cloud-based collaborative prediction platform offered by Inkling, which has a number of other blue-chip clients in its stable, including CNN, Cisco, General Mills and Johnson & Johnson.
Tom Montgomery, a technical expert with Ford’s Research & Advanced Engineering group, said Ford first developed its own predictions market software in 2006, but moved to Inkling in 2009. “It’s their software and theirservers, they host everything, but we brand the interface,” Montgomery toldInternetNews.com. “The important thing for us is that the information we collect is proprietary and they offered the security and guarantees we wanted.”
Ford said it is testing the predictions market system as an adjunct to traditional customer research, which is more time consuming and expensive. Participants have “traded” on such items as potential new car features and topics like sales volume, electrification and economic issues such as gas and commodity prices. The system posts questions for traders, asking them to select an answer and then handicap the chances of that choice being rated highest.