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Ford’s Prediction Market

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 12:08 PM on February 21, 2011

FordOne of the hardest things a company has to do is to predict what consumers want. If a company get the prediction wrong it can cost them billions of dollars and in the long run the company itself.

Ford is trying a new method to improve their prediction of future trends. They are using a new analytical tool which takes the idea of a stock market and applies it new products and ideas that are in development. This cloud based prediction tool runs on the Inking platform . Over 1,300 employees from in the U.S and Europe participated in the test stock market. They are asked a question and than given a series of answers and have to pick one of those answers. Then they have to predict if that choice will be rank highest among all the answers. If the rest of the traders think the trade has a 59% of being highest then the price will be $59.00 a share. Like the real stock market the higher the price the better. Ford has already used this method to do real-time shift in their product planning. A proposed in-car vacuum product ranked very low in the stock market and so was stopped early in its development. Ford also abandoned a Ford-specific bike carrier under review by Ford Exterior Trim team based on the results of this market. 93 percent of the employees who participated in the program feel more engaged and learned a lot.

The researchers at Ford are now looking into additional ways of incorporating the prediction market model in to its business practices.  To help forecast future consumer and market trends and then develop products and features based on those predicted trends. If the prediction stock market correctly predicts future consumer and market trends, then Ford will produce products that consumers want. If the stock market is wrong then this could be disastrous for Ford. This is one of many ways that Ford tries to produce products that both consumers and the market desire.