Customers create most new product and service ideas

Customers create most new product and service ideas

Is harvesting new products and services ideas from customers going to be the norm in the future

A study from The Economist Intelligence Unit shows that many senior executives expect customers to overtake in-house research and development as the primary source of new product and service ideas. Respondents also believe that customers in the future will be nearly as important a source of ideas for business process improvement as their own employees.

Customers create most new products and services ideas

Image above from the “How will you work in the future?”

Already now companies are tapping their customers’ knowledge:


A consumer portal where Starbucks customers can share ideas or suggestions they have about how to improve “the Starbucks experience”. My Starbucks Idea takes the concept of crowd sourcing and opens it up to any customer willing to register. This also gives end users the ability to see what other people are suggesting, vote on ideas they agree with and even see the results.

Starbucks Ideas In Action Blog acts as a counterpart to the My Starbucks Idea website. This site is written by different Starbucks employees and talks about how they implemented, or are reacting to the suggestions and information from customers. An interesting aspect of this blog is comments are enabled, many company news/policy blogs don’t have comments. However by turning on blogs and being open to that second level of feedback Starbucks is able to continue the dialog with their customers.

Dell’s IdeaStorm

A site for customers and other people interested to submit technology and business ideas to the firm, with readers able to vote for their favorites. The company says that this can reduce costs associated with product development as well as provide a larger focus group to provide feedback on a development

Domino Pizza

A Facebook platform where customers and fans can submit their suggestions.

As crowd sourcing continues to accelerate, the biggest question is how it will affect business writ large. But it will certainly usher in radical changes to business models and business systems.

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About The Author

Torben Rick

Experienced senior executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement, development and change management. International experience from management positions in Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and United Kingdom

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