Ideas In Action – High Transparency at Dell Idea Storm

Abstract: The multinational technology corporation Dell is giving interested users the chance to post ideas on products, best practices and general topics. Other users can comment and further promote or demote them. In a specific section of the website users and interested visitors of the website are able to access general stats such as the overall numbers of posted, promoted, contributed and also implemented ideas. This enables users to track proceeding stages of all contributions.

Driver: Social
The external generation of product and service ideas by customers has received a growing deal of attention by companies. Customers who are willing to share their ideas and specific knowledge with other users and firms are increasingly claiming a higher transparency on what is happening with their ideas.

Obstacle: Economic / Industrial
The high transparency might also detain customers to share their ideas as they are afraid that other users or the company itself could adopt their ideas and earn the entire benefits by transforming them into prototypes and eventually commercialising them as groundbreaking innovations.

Indication: Change in current innovation patterns
On the one hand the high transparency concerning the user ideas and their status within the innovation process might animate already participating users to contribute even more and better ideas, on the other hand it might attract novel users who have not been motivated so far to contribute ideas to a “black box”.
Crowdsourcing in the early stages of idea generation and evaluation could further spread and lead on to the establishment of external idea generation as the prevalent manner of conducting the fuzzy front end of new product development.

Comment: It is really amazing that Dell is giving the possibility to track the further development and conceptualisation of posted ideas even to people who are not a member of the Idea Storm community.
We could not find any information on how the ideas are rewarded or on the legal rights that users have concerning their idea – this would be very interesting.