Customers often ask about how large of an audience should they invite to a particular innovation challenge or topic. While there’s no right answer, there is an important consideration to think through when selecting an audience—how size impacts the potential for serendipity as well as the potential for noise for your participants:
As an example, picture a Campaign where you’re trying to solve a problem that’s been plaguing your business. As you increase the audience size, you increase the likelihood that people’s different perspectives will combine to help inform a potential solution (see this described by Rick Michelman in our Michelman customer video). This is represented by the serendipity axis, where a larger audience increases the opportunities for interactions and creative outcomes.
So, therefore, always go with the maximum audience size, right? Not so fast. We tend to see that as you extend the audience beyond those directly involved in the problem / opportunity, you’re moving the signal-to-noise ratio for these additional, less directly relevant participants potentially towards noise.
By bringing your marketing people into a technical discussion, for example, you’re increasing the opportunity for serendipitous discovery and divergent thinking leading to a creative outcome at the same time as you’re exposing a larger group to a conversation they might find distracting. More serendipity, but potentially more noise. In short, we find that there’s no universal answer to determining the size of an audience for a Campaign, but those who consider the poles of this dynamic typically strike an effective balance.