Michael Muller: Crowdsourcing Inside the Enterprise


Michael Muller, Werner Geyer, Todd Soule, all of IBM Research, Cambridge MA USA , and John Wafer of IBM, Dublin, Ireland

Crowdsourcing Inside the Enterprise: New opportunities for collaborative innovation

Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 6:30 PM to 9 PM

IBM Center for Social Business, Cambridge

This is close to the Green Line Lechmere stop and reasonably close to the Red Line Kendall Sq stop. Paid parking is available at surface lots nearby and on the street.


This research is a collaborative effort between Michael Muller, Werner Geyer, Todd Soule, all of IBM Research, Cambridge MA USA , and John Wafer of IBM, Dublin, Ireland.

Crowdfunding is a relatively recent Internet phenomenon, in which an innovator can propose a project and solicit investments from the public. More than 450 crowdfunding sites are now in operation around the world, such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Rockethub, Kiva, and Donors Choose. Successfully-funded projects span much of human aspiration and intention, including charity, creativity, community service, new business initiatives, and financial rate-of-return.

We describe an experiment in crowdfunding inside IBM. Our project, I Fund IT (previously “1×5”), has been run four times — twice in research organizations, and twice in an IT organization. Major outcomes include: employee proposals that addressed diverse individual and collective needs; high participation rates; extensive inter-departmental and international collaboration, including the discovery of large numbers of previously unknown collaborators; and the development of goals and motivations based on collective concerns at multiple levels of project groups, communities of practice, and the organization as a whole. Moving crowdfunding “behind the firewall” is transformative, highlighting opportunities for new forms of collaboration among employees and between employees and upper management. We conclude with our current understanding of success factors, best practices, and implications for theory and design.


Michael Muller works in the Collaborative User Experience group of IBM Research, and the IBM Center for Social Software. His work focuses on metrics and analytics for enterprise social software applications, and emergent social phenomena in social software. Earlier IBM work involved activity-centric computing and communities of practice.

Michael is an internationally recognized expert in participatory design and participatory analysis. His work in this area includes the development of methods (CARD, PICTIVE, participatory heuristic evaluation) and theory (ethnocritical heuristics), as well as the creation of taxonomies and encyclopedic descriptions of participatory methodology in handbook chapters. Michael contributed expertise on participatory and qualitative analysis to a recent book from the National Academy of Science, as part of a three-year membership in a human-systems integration committee.

Michael is active in IBM’s inventor community. He is head of the Invention Development Team for the Collaborative User Experience group, and was recently recognized as an IBM Master Inventor.

Evening Schedule

  • 6:30 – 7:00 Networking over pizza and beverages
  • 7:00 – 8:30 Meeting
  • 8:30 – 9:00 CHI Dessert and more networking!

Monthly Sponsors

Thank you to our generous sponsors. If you’re interested in sponsoring BostonCHI, please let us know.
IBM Center for Social Business is hosting us and providing food.

Mad*Pow and the HXRefactored Conference and Vitamin T are sponsoring CHI Dessert.



If you can provide a ride, or if you need one, check out GoLoco, a free ride-sharing connector service: http://goloco.org/groups/5716.