Posted on October 30, 2008
A few weeks back I picked up a business card sized slip of paper while at Starbucks. It challenged me “Have an idea for us?” and then pointed me to MyStarbucksIdea.com. Part virtual suggestion box, part social network..I think that the concept has merit. (Actually, Dell proved that it does…Perhaps Michael and Howard are golfing buddies?) Far too many companies see their customers as an unintelligent herd and discount their wisdom accordingly. Sure, there will be work involved shifting the grains of wheat from the chaff…but one grain can eventually yield a field of opportunity. Also, Dell and Starbucks have to make sure that they respond to the community…otherwise the “wishes” will stop flowing and (even worse) Starbucks/Dell will be accused of not listening.
Of course it is no surprise that this concept resonates with us. We are big believers in leveraging technology to increase customer feedback and open-source innovation. After all, we have been creating Customer Cabinets (customer advisory communities) since 2004. Just click on the people figures in the scholar’s cabinet to learn more. I know, I know…shameless plug….but WE ARE BIG BELIEVERS IN THIS KIND OF STUFF. That said, we believe that the idea of a “suggestion box” just doesn’t take the concept far enough.
Some have roundly dismissed Starbuck’s idea-site–but I think that they are making progress in the right direction. At the very least, mystarbucksidea.com is a great way to signal to the world that Starbucks is valuing its customers a bit more than it has in recent years. Perceived hubris and “inside the beltway” thinking hurt Starbucks in recent years…refocusing on the beans and the customer experience will be key to its evolution in the years ahead.
No new idea is perfect. That said, the fact that Starbucks conceived and launched MyStarbucksIdea so quickly should be lauded….it very easily could have existed on a silver platter, with rose petals and glitter…unexecuted.
BTW…This is an interesting piece by Forrester on the movement toward online customer feedback/innovation communities.
Posted on October 6, 2008
Our most recent find is Obama Baton. This idea is a nice one. Leverage the kinship that marathoners feel to spread the Obama-virus in a visually stirring, emotionally poignant and creative way.
What is even more impressive is the timeline for this project…from concept to community…in about ten days. It is amazing what a shared passion and the courage to “just jump” can enable one to achieve.