Coffee & Computers

Idea management systems have been around for a long time. At least the software has been available for about 12–15 years and has been adopted in various forms by many corporations and governments around the world. These have had helped to introduce a lot of changes within companies and organisations and perhaps not reached into the consumer world as much. Many business to business companies don’t take consumers into account, because they sell to other businesses. In the end, for many recognizable brands, consumers are their business so taking their ideas and thoughts on board are not only an important part of making sure you are offering something relevant, but also continuing to innovate.

Two well known global brands have been operating their own idea management systems for several years now and both were designed to harness ideas from their customers in order to drive the development team. Dell was perhaps one of the first to set up an online system for capturing customer ideas about new products, design and concepts. A 2012 article about their Idea Storm platform says:

“In its five-year-tenure, IdeaStorm has received nearly 15,000 suggestions and has made about 500 refinements based on them.”

As a platform, it has gone through many generations, and in 2012 was re-designed completely. But idea capture and suggestions extend past just the tech world into food.

Starbuck’s “My Starbuck’s Idea” is a similar platform where the company takes comments and suggestions about the products, atmosphere, stores, and yes, the coffee, from customers around the world. There have been thousands of ideas submitted which others can vote on and in turn, earn points (adding an element of gamification). They address the most popular ones and provide contributors information on where the ideas are in the process. From discussion to implementation of ideas. The changes can sometimes happen quickly, and others take more time and research. The system allows for almost instant responses from new products, design and shops.

It’s interesting to have a quick glance at the most popular & top voted ideas on their main page. An overwhelming amount of them point to food instead of coffee, which could lead one to believe that more people care about what they offer to eat as opposed to the coffee. Or it could mean a thousand other things — having a good team to sort through and pull out data from the immense amount of ideas is also key to benefiting from the program.

For such a large company is certainly makes sense. They have a large consumer reach and the ideas from their crowd can significantly influence their sales targets and growth. You could imply that for every person using one of the two systems, there are a few others who are customers, but don’t utilize the platform to interact with the brands so a few talk for the many.

Whether you do it in house or utilize a platform like Wazoku’s Idea Spotlight, taking care and time to listen to your customers and crowd can mean providing better services, products and experiences. We not only offer an ideal way to collect and manage ideas from inside your network, but also from consumers and clients as well. Take a look at some of our clients and see for yourself.

Previously posted on the Wazoku Blog as part of our constant effort to uncover the innovation capability that lies within an organisation and beyond its borders.

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