Sunday, June 8, 2008

Ideas Come from Customers

Peter Drucker and Elisabeth Haas Edersheim point out the importance of knowledge management in their book The Definitive Drucker

Delivering value depends on your listening and translating of customer needs, and innovating accordingly.

My friend told me about this great tool of exchanging ideas with your customers. It’s a tool created by They are naturally using their own tool on their website and openly asking their customers to comment their products and propose new features.

The tool was recently featured in BusinessWeek which wrote a story about how Starbucks and Dell use the tool. Dell for example has received thousands of ideas and tens of thousands of comments. (Starbucks requires user account , ideas was down or closed during weekend...)

The tool also allows customers and employees to rate the proposals to let the companies know, which are the best ones and should be worked on. Naturally it could be used only internally, if for example capturing customer needs in the web would open a door to your competitors.

Simple and effective. This tool really allows you to capture true customer requirements and ensure customer focus. And eliminate the distance between R&D and customer. It is really hard to think of a more effective and simple way than Ideas.

How often have your R&D said they are too far from the customer?

How effectively do you collect customer requirements?

How effectively do you deliver them within your organization?

Would you have the courage to be as open as

Actually, I proposed this tool internally a year ago. Ideas are appreciated in our company, but I still felt like Bob on this little promotional video by

To whom should I present this idea, and
how do they know if it a good one?

Have you ever felt like Bob?

The suggestion box in Bob's office looks suprizingly similar to the one shown on my earlier post Ideas Come from Everywhere


Anonymous said...

Popular ranking of ideas will not automatically bring the ³best² ideas to the top, just the most popular ideas. In fact, many
breakthrough ideas that have changed the world were initially unpopular. Galileo was threatened with torture and burning at the stake (by the Pope,no less!) for supporting the work of Copernicus, who suggested that the earth is not the center of the universe.