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A Community of Practice

The Challenge


MindHive Academy is a series of courses that teaches individuals to bring crowdsourcing into their department, faculty, or organisation and how to plan, build, and execute a crowdsourcing project.

Our Alumni has now built to over 100 participants. There's interest in sharing and learning amongst the community. We decided to use Mindhive to build the community.

Please join us and engage as you prefer.

To get started we're going to engage your advice, wisdom and questions on the following ten questions

1. Building network effects:

What factors create network effects on the platform?

This is, by far, the most important question that platform builders should look to answer. The answers are much more nuanced than they appear to be. Platform growth is much more about the careful design of value proposition and structuring feedback loops than it is about growth hacking. Another key issue is the management of negative network effects, where users coming on board may reduce value for certain other users on the platform. Identifying and mitigating causes of negative network effects should be an equally important part of any platform’s growth strategy.

2. Openness, access, and immigration

Who should get access and who should not? Platforms work like countries;

they need an immigration policy. More users aren’t necessarily always good. As mentioned above, some users can kickstart negative network effects. The platform needs to ensure that it has clear policies on who can come in and what they can do. This should also be baked into the architecture (and the algorithms) of the platform.

3. Governance issues

How do you govern user behavior and ensure fair distribution of incentives to all parties?

Stretching the platform-as-country metaphor further, platforms need to be governed. They need to be governed much like countries and this is where extremely tech-focused entrepreneurs may underestimate the importance of community management and education. Airbnb and Uber, for example, have vastly different approaches to community management. One nurtures the producers, the other treats them as substitutable commodities. Governance extends beyond community management and even moves into the realms of behavior design where certain platforms may actively manipulate user behavior to maximize network effects. Such design decisions need to be taken carefully to balance individual outcomes with network ouctome. Much of platform governance will benefit from the many improvements in machine learning that have been achieved over the last 3 years. The best governed platforms are the ones that learn fastest from their data. The more a platform learns about its ecosystem, the more resilient it becomes.

4. Policy and regulation

What regulatory aspects must you factor in while governing distributed producer bases and their data?

Policy and regulation can be tricky with platform business models. Labor and production paradigms are different. The lines between employee and ecosystem producer are often blurred. On-demand platforms are facing the heat of such regulatory issues currently. Creation of new producers can impact adjacent markets the way Airbnb has impacted the regular rental market in many US cities. Platforms also introduce new taxation issues when they start centralizing commerce and taking commerce away from local players. Finally, governing data businesses involves its own set of complications. Data residency is a contentious issue. Companies in the US arguably know more about people in India than the Indian government because of the data that several US-based platforms have about users.

5. Managing enemies

How can you compete and emerge the winner?

Like all firms, platforms also face competition. But here’s the interesting thing: Just like growth, competition also works exponentially on platforms. When a competitor takes users away from a platform, the platform’s ability to compete decreases because those users were creating value on the platform. Hence, the platform becomes even more susceptible to future competition. As a result, market leading platforms may fall rapidly if a competitor starts siphoning users away. Competitive strategy should always focus on the preservation of your own network effects and on attacking the factors that lead to network effects for competitors.

6. Managing friends

When can your ecosystem be a threat and how do you monitor for such occurrences?

The uniqueness of the platform business model brings with itself the added challenge of managing friends: partners in your ecosystem who may be helping your cause today but may turn against you tomorrow. Samsung helps Google but remains an ongoing threat and did try to fork Android and create its own little ecosystem.Managing friends – partners in your ecosystem – can often be more challenging than managing enemies. Managing friends follows from good governance and should ensure that the platform constantly monitors activity in its ecosystem. The more the platform learns about how its ecosystem behaves (from activity data), the more resilient it becomes.

7. Monetization

Most importantly, how do you monetize in a manner that strengthens network effects?

Platform monetization is probably the most mind-bending of the changes that come with the shift from pipes to platforms. Monetizing pipes was simple and straightforward. “How much should we charge?” – was the key question on pipes. Platforms need to struggle with the “how much?”, “who?” and “for what?” questions. Knowing who to charge and for what value must be determined based on whether these choices strengthen or weaken network effects. Very few platforms, with extremely strong network effects, – Facebook, for example – can afford to employ monetization strategies that have a negative impact on network effects.

8. Platforms: Good idea or bad idea?

When is a platform business model a good idea? More importantly, is there a way to predict when it might be a bad idea?

Not all platform ideas are good. Many platforms may fail at execution, but some platforms are a bad idea to start with. Much of it goes down to insufficient incentives for users to participate. Platforms that seek to internalize an interaction which is already more efficient externally are bound to fail unless they can identify new ways to make the interaction more efficient.

9. Startups vs. incumbents

Are there industries where startups have a natural advantage with the platform business model? Are there other industries where the incumbents will have a natural advantage?

Are there industries where startups are better positioned to win and others where incumbents may have an advantage? Mining, for example, is an industry where incumbents are rapidly transforming themselves before startups can wrest advantage away. Likewise, an equally important consideration is to evaluate opportunities for startup platforms to collaborate with incumbent pipes in an industry where new platforms are changing dynamics rapidly.

10. What’s next?

Which industries are ripe for platforms to come in and change the rules of the game?

Question 9 leads us to the final question. When platforms transform an industry, timing plays an important role. Zipcar was launched many years before Uber but failed to have a significant impact on transportation. Understanding the factors that govern timing helps platform builders determine when they should launch.


Challenge Opened: 08:08 AM, Tuesday 05 June 2018
Challenge Closes: 07:00 AM, Saturday 29 June 2019
Time to go: 133 days \ 8 hours \ 38 minutes


Do you want to contribute to this Challenge?

The context

MindHive has a significant international network of thought leaders who often co-present our Academy sessions engaging any of the 13,000+ experts within the MindHive community. Foundation courses for the Academy include - “Crowd Innovation” and “Orchestrating Ecosystems”. Digital is a key enabler to improving many economic and social outcomes in the public and private interest.

The Mindhive Academy's key areas of focus include:

  • Technologies of expertise
  • Engaging crowds
  • Shared intelligence
  • Collaborative problem-solving
  • Strategy co-design
  • Explore innovation networks and ecosystems
  • Appreciate the growing fragmentation of expertise and knowledge mobility
  • The creation and extraction of value
  • Ecosystem business model for their organisation

Participants build a complete MindHive Challenge whilst learning the essential tips and tricks critical to crowdsourcing expertise and solving wicked problems in an efficient manner. We focus on MindHive's tried and tested problem-solving methodology.

Course content also covers critical mechanisms for capitalising on business ecosystems opportunities and responding to threats, including APIs, digital platforms, events and programmable economy (including blockchain). Participants will scope and build a complete ecosystem network whilst learning the essential skills critical to value creation and crowdsourcing expertise.

Finding innovation partners and developing innovation frameworks

  • Understand the basics of adaptive innovation methodologies, purpose and design. Focus on ‘crowdsourcing’ as a framework case study.
  • Learn how to translate innovative ideas into action and how to develop measures for value capture.
  • Create idea evidence.
  • Discover tools for online idea generation.
  • Build and sustain idea and expert crowds.
  • Build a strong narrative that will illicit investment, partnership and transacting to create/grow a business, policy or strategy.
  • Engage diverse expertise that can solve challenges and develop strategy.
  • Speeding up consultation.
  • Gather the range of ideas from stakeholders and see the trends occurring.
  • Work on a future ‘disruption’ scenario case study.
  • Access constructive thinking from all disciplines

Orchestrating innovation networks and building cultures of innovation

  • Understanding how to harness the combinations of people, skills and technology and scaling up and down dynamically to match changing workload demands for efficient and product problem-solving and idea design.
  • Learn to build out your innovation models, and how to build complementary networks to ensure that innovative ideas are translated into quantifiable outcomes 
  • Learn how to cultivate the right people in your network, operate in real and virtual environments (e.g. platform and ecosystem environments) and manage risk.
  • Benefiting from the fragmentation of expertise and knowledge mobility.
  • Understand the pros and the cons of open networks and platforms.
  • Implement a ‘Framework for Orchestration in Innovation Networks’ to ensure the creation andextraction of value.
  • Building a narrative that will illicit investment, partnership and transacting to create/grow abusiness, policy or strategy
  • Outrank your competition on efficiency and productivity.
  • Models for creating idea crowds (internal and external).

Mindhive Academy Lead - Bruce Muirhead

  • Reputation and proven-track record in innovation
  • Bruce has experience in developing and incubating platforms and has been recognised for his work on the national stage as an innovator

Bruce developed a Graduate Certificate in Social Science (Interprofessional Leadership) where participants in the program engage in understanding, developing and sustaining collaborative work. The 100+ participants in this program were drawn from government and non-government agencies working in the Goodna region, Queensland. As part of the program, they implemented a Collaborative Engagement Project which addressed real issues in the local community and involved collaboration with relevant agencies and community groups. Bruce was been acknowledged for this course by the Australian Government as leading one of ten national projects (alongside the Sydney Olympics and the response to the Bali bombings) for creating large-scale collaboration to respond to Australia’s priority challenges in social and economic impact. Bruce was also recognised nationally by the Australian Committee for University Teaching and was selected as a finalist in this category in the 2002 Australian University Teaching Awards.

Bruce has founded a number of platforms which enable this, through leveraging networks of partners dedicated to developing ideas through collaboration. He is the founder of Boilerhouse (1999), Eidos (2004) and MindHive (2014). He has been a Finalist in the 2014 Australian Business Innovation Awards and a recipient of an Australian Business Innovation Award (2010 & 2012), Australian Business Award for Community Contribution (2012), and a Lord Mayor’s Innovation Award (2011). MindHive has recently been named in the top 100 most innovative products and services by the largest innovation awards program in Australia, the Anthill Magazine 2014 SMART 100. Bruce has more than 25-years’ experience in building large-scale partnerships between the public and private sector, focusing on the connections between economic, public and social innovation. He was an invited participant to the Prime Minister’s Australia 2020 Summit. He has led more than $50M in research and development projects in Australia, Asia, Africa, the UK, Europe and the Middle East. Over the past few years he has been invited to speak on policy innovation in the USA, South Africa, Europe and the UK. He works extensively with a number of government, university and international boards and executives on collaboration and their innovation futures.

“Thank you so much for running the ‘Using the crowd as an innovation partner’ and the ‘Orchestrating innovation networks’ workshops today. Enormously interesting and stimulating.” Matt Geneviève ARM(F), Senior Research Impact Officer, Office of Research Enterprise, The University of Western Australia

“Thanks for your session yesterday.  This is a space that government has a lot of potential to move into and benefit from” Gemma Archer| Principal Project Officer| Business and Corporate Services, The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, Western Australia

“I certainly enjoyed the part of the day that I have attended. My take away revolved around the very logical and appealing idea of value creation within the ecosystem. Maximising and optimising the interaction within and between the various bubbles of knowledge/value creation within the ecosystem as a way of harnessing the full the potential. The value of engaging with the outside world on specific collaboration and how that helps the ecosystem develop its full potential.  I see great value in universities and research providers in general engaging with this approach as a way of maximising their impact. In general, we focused a lot on knowledge generation but not enough on value creation which is essential for addressing the impact aspiration for our research.” Anas Ghadouani BSc MSc PhD, Professor and Head, Aquatic Ecology and Ecosystem Studies; Programme Chair for Environmental Engineering; Editor, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences; School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering, The University of Western Australia 

“Mindhive’s workshop with Bruce Muirhead broadened my perspective on the use of crowdsourcing for collective insight. As the founder of a platform myself, Bruce helped me to ‘rethink value’ and create the environment for the ecosystem to innovate themselves. Three takeaways: ‘Abundant Thinking’. There are enough resources in the world, they’re just not equally distributed. Let the ecosystem innovate’ the author sets up the platform but the users find new applications and therein is the true innovation. Finally, be open to (or rather seek out new opportunities) for 3rd party innovation.” Leigh HamblyPerth Project, Mapping Projects and aligning with the United Nations Development Goals

“Thoughtful and cutting edge. Mindhive is a potential must have collaboration platform, for enhanced community collaboration and problem solving. Three takeaways: wisdom of crowds is an abundant resource; Mindhive as a tool to tap this resource; value adding potential of Mindhive as tool of 21st Century collaboration networks, but work yet to do to make the case that Mindhive indispensable.”  Richard Ferrers, ANDS Data Specialist | Australian National Data Service

"MindHive Academy has introduced me to an innovative platform through which, creative and quality ideas can be gathered using the crowd that possess the potential to change the world including understanding the power of the crowd to come up with a solution for a social (or any) issue, enhancing our profile by contributing and being a part of the MindHive community (and crowdsourcing projects), crowdsourcing has the potential of being an innovation partner for an organisation". Pallavi Verma, Vice Chancellor's International Student Advisory Committee (VCISAC) at the Western Sydney University 

Thank you Bruce for the excellent session today. Our centre is also generating change ecosystems around focus areas, through a project called Impact Labs. It is of most relevance to MindHive. As an alumnus of the UWA Social Impact program I would love to be able to use MindHive to contribute to issues being worked on by Impact Lab and beyond. The platform could be used in such a way, so as to bridge between other research areas and the social impact realm. Karen Wellington Program Manager, CoderDojo, Fogarty Foundation, Western Australia

“It was great getting to see what you guys are building. I think it is a wonderful idea. I really enjoyed the lunch. It was nice to sit back and converse with intellectuals who have a broad view on sociological matters. I actually spoke about it for a few days after with friends as it really did leave an impression. Conversations like that are few and far between in my field . It is something special” Paul Jordan, Business Development Stretch-A-Family

“We were really surprised by the quality and creativity and depth of the ideas our people generated. It has started a real culture shift and it has now given us the confidence to think about generating ideas outside our own walls” Robert Beerworth, Fairfax Media

“An opportunity to better understand how crowd solutioning can be used to solve everyday issues" - Relationship Manager at an NZ Federal Department

“Overall I enjoyed the day immensely. Thanks and I look forward to continuing to be involved with MindHive” Dr Grant Woollett, Manager, Science Policy and Evaluation Services, Department of Environment and Science


Challenge Opened: 08:08 AM, Tuesday 05 June 2018
Challenge Closes: 07:00 AM, Saturday 29 June 2019
Time to go: 133 days \ 8 hours \ 38 minutes

Do you want to contribute to this Challenge?

Meet the Panel

Georgie Volkers
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Anas Ghadouani Professor
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Matt Genevieve Senior Research Impact Officer
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Geraldine Thomas
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Thought Leader

Georgie Volkers
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Lee Witchard
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Naomi Szetu Director, Public Sector Innovation
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Ian Swan
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Daniella Feltrin
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Jessica Pincombe Senior Project Officer
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Gemma Archer Principal project Officer
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Anas Ghadouani Professor
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Matt Genevieve Senior Research Impact Officer
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Rob Shannon
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Geraldine Thomas
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Bruce Muirhead Chief Executive Officer
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Tim van Gelder Enterprise Fellow
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