Getting Results from Crowds
Using Distributed InnovationPlatforms
we explore how idea management platforms can be used by brands toconnect with consumer communities. The theoretical win-win is that companiesare able to not only engage customers and help nourish brand loyalty, but also getsome great ideas which can be put into practice. Leading organizations which haveexecuted this successfully include include Starbucks with
MyStarbucksIdea.com and Dell with IdeaStorm.
The researchers at CMU acknowledge that there has been some criticism of ideamanagement platforms directed at consumers. They cite three reasons whycrowdsourcing initiatives are sometimes regarded as not being cost effective;firstly that ideas submitted by consumers are too niche to make an impact,secondly that many of the ideas are often unrealistic and simply not feasible andthirdly that slow responses from the organizations involved leads to actuallydisengaging otherwise loyal customers.However the study suggests that by having the right policies and practices in place,then more valuable ideas can be produced.
These ‘policies’ include allowing peer
voting on ideas, ensuring a quick response from the organization to new ideassubmitted and also giving contributors indicators of the potential cost of any idea,so they can assess if an idea has a realistic chance of implementation. The researchteam also advocates rewarding those whose ideas are implemented rather thanthose who simply contribute.Perhaps most interestingly the researchers concluded that as a platform matures thevolume of ideas may reduce, but the quality of ideas improves. They put this downto communities of consumers become more aware of the crowdsourcing processand the less valuable contributors dropping out of the platform.