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Thanks for visiting the Digital Workplace Group (DWG) website. You'll see this post may refer to the "Intranet Benchmarking Forum (IBF)," the "Digital Workplace Forum (DWF)" or "IBF Live." But that doesn't match our website name!

In a nutshell, we merged IBF and DWF into one service and changed our name to "Digital Workplace Group." The new name represents the broader set of services we've grown to offer, beyond an original focus on just intranets. We also changed the name of our monthly webinar from "IBF Live" to "Digital Workplace Live."

Although we've relabelled things, we're proud of our decade+ history and have left this page intact. Enjoy your time on our site and please contact us with any questions or comments.

Helen Day posted earlier on this blog about using
your intranet to gather bright ideas
– in effect an online suggestions box.
I once learned a great tip from Mark Turrell of Imaginatik, which he described as the
"Little Mermaid Effect". The inspiration came from an employee that
was rushing out of the office to buy Disney’s video while it was on release –
if he missed it then he’d have to wait years for it to become available again.
This event approach works really well for ideas too. It can generate in a few
weeks the same number of ideas as a normal suggestions box gets in a year because
it galvanises people into acting on their thoughts.

"The event approach has a number of benefits
over the ‘perpetual’ method of idea collection:

  • Executive
    attention – executives lose interest in projects if there are delays in getting
  • Top quality
    review team – the best people are more willing to give their time if the time
    commitment is limited
  • No procrastination
    – people have to contribute their ideas quickly or else they will miss their
    window of opportunity
  • Focus on
    implementation – the hand-over period at the end is critical"


About the author

Nancy Goebel - DWG's Managing Director for Member & Benchmarking ServicesNancy Goebel is DWG’s Managing Director for Member Services. In addition to heading up service delivery, she is responsible for member engagement, retention and growth. Nancy also sits on DWG’s Board of Directors.

Prior to joining the Digital Workplace Group, Nancy was a accomplished executive at JPMorgan Chase where she built and led a global team in desigining and implementing an award-winning intranet. She also led digital enablement and business re-engineering initiatives.

Outside work, Nancy is a wine maker, fundraiser, meditator, wife and mother of two.

Connect with Nancy on Twitter: @nancyatdwg or on Google +.


  1. I’ve supported an ideation intranet site in a consumer packaged goods company that was entirely based around events, as described in your post. The marketing department would run idea generation events inviting employees to submit ideas around specific areas that were strategically important to the brand or category. This worked very well, especially when prizes were offered for the best ideas submitted. The main issue the system faced was in providing feedback. If a system is generating hundreds if not thousands of ideas, it becomes very difficult to provide meaninful feedback and follow up to all those employees who have spent time submitting their ideas. This is where a lot or resource was spent initially. In fact, I think it is more important to manage people’s expectations up front and tell them that they won’t get lots of feedback. This issue is very closely linked to another problem with idea suggestion tools. Senior management always want to see evidence that a tool like this is useful. It’s very difficult to point at an idea that has made it to market as a finished product and be able to say “this product started off life as an idea submitted to the suggestion box on the intranet”.

  2. Sam Marshall

    Thanks for your comments Dan – both problems are very true. One way to tackle the feedback issue would be to allow peer-reviewing e.g. star ratings. It would give a greater sense of recognition and help float up the promising ideas too.
    Time-to-market can be a big problem if that’s the only acceptable proof. But I’ve seen ideation events (like IBM Jams) on organizational improvements where the value of a suggestion can be more immediately recognised.

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