Would you like fries with that? Use voting social networks to source innovation ideas

Posted by tom klein May 22, 2007

Every company struggles with the question – how should we innovate or improve?

Let your customers help you answer the question. Dell invites its customers and consumers to weigh in by using a new tool called IdeaStorm. The site lets users suggest and then vote on ideas for new products or new services.

Pundits credit Ideastorm with giving Dell insight into untapped demand for PC’s with non-Windows operating systems. What are you doing to tap into the ideas of your customers?

The inspiration for Dell IdeaStorm likely came from similar sites at Salesforce.com or Digg. Note that there's a free, open source version (Pligg) that someone with basic IT skills can set up and have running in an hour or two. Developing a customer input capability does not have to be time consuming or expensive.

Consider the output of this sort of tool as a starting point that would need to be validated for your target market. Also, you will need to consider any customer feedback or ideas in light of your brand's benefits and overall positioning. Gucci shouldn't open coffee shops just because the idea surfaces.

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