Why prediction markets have no success in France (and maybe elsewhere…)

When I talk about enterprise 2.0 with people, they often say things about blogs, wikis, social networks etc… When I say “prediction markets” they look at we with flabbergasted eyes. I find very surprising that while it’s always mentioned as being a part of the enterprise 2.0 field on many other countries, it’s never mentioned in discussions here.

If you don’t know what it’s about, let’s start with a quick look at the definition.

That’s nothing more than giving virtual tokens to people and ask them to place bets on questions like “what product of ours will have the biggest success next year” or “what part of the IT budget will be allocated to social networks…” etc. It may involve employees or even customers. Obviously many businesses are convinced of the benefits of prediction market overseas.

Experience shows that the results are as least as reliable as those obtained with methods that need much more time and are more expensive.

So I started wondering why it’s unrecognized in France

The idea that spontaneously comes to my mind is that it’s not compliant with our culture.

First, the idea of betting, with its fun and money game connotation, may be not accepted in workplaces where pleasure, fun and work can’t go together and where a shared belief is that when something looks fun it can’t be professional or serious.

Imagine employees betting against the success of a product, the ability to deliver a project at the due date ? On the one hand these people are closer to the customer, to reality, and they are often the best to guess what will work or not. On the other hand it means they don’t believe in what very important people in the organization decided and that does not look “corporately serious”.

Some french companies pay attention to crowdsourcing, what may invalidate my point. But discussing is one thing, placing bets like in a casino is another.

More, discussions brings feelings, ideas. Prediction markets brings numbers, and numbers are serious things. So anybody should not be able to impact them.

Can you see other reasons ? Maybe you know french companies that use prediction markets and that went under my radar ? Or maybe you know other countries where it works / doesn’t work ?

Tell me…

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