Users and customers are becoming increasingly important sources of knowledge due to changes in innovation policies and paradigms. Simultaneously innovation is becoming more of a networking activity. New methods are needed for processing information and ideas coming from multiple sources more effectively. For example, the whole personnel of an organisation are seen as a great potential for innovation. The recent development of communication technologies such as the Internet has increased interest towards the multidisciplinary field of collective intelligence. To investigate the possibilities of collective intelligence, the nest-site selection process of honey bees was used asmodel for an idea evaluation tool, a prototype of which was then tested in a case organisation. The results were promising; the prototype was able to evaluate ideas effectively, and it was highly accepted in the organisation.
The focus of this study was on the front end of the innovation process. The recent shift from the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) mode towards the Doing, Using and Interacting (DUI) mode and the changing paradigms demand new approaches to the management of the front end of innovation. The main objective of this study was to construct an effective tool for collecting and evaluating ideas at the front end of the innovation process. The problem of idea evaluation was approached from the point of view of collective intelligence. Interest in this relatively new multidisciplinary field is rising and it is not surprising that many alternative approaches are being explored at the moment. Only time will tell which solutions are the best, but one thing seems obvious already; attention to details is crucial when designing a system aiming at facilitating collective intelligence. Most systems include at least some self-organising properties and as a result, apparently trivial changes in details may generate huge differences on the system level. Millions of years of evolution have optimised the decision making process of bees, which was therefore chosen as a model on which the development of the idea evaluation tool was based.