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Having advocated using intranets to gather ideas recently, I read a timely reminder on the challenges this might bring in an article about Dell users asking for Linux.
Dell created IdeaStorm, a forum for customers to tell Dell what they would like. 85,000 of them said they wanted the Linux operating system rather than MS Windows pre-installed. Unfortunately for Dell this is not as easy as it sounds, and Dell responded with a carefully-worded statement about why they would not be providing Linux Dells. One of the main reasons is that when users say they want ‘Linux’ they don’t necessarily mean the same thing, as there are many varieties.

Now imagine having an IdeaStorm on your intranet and an overwhelming demand for something that’s hard to fulfill e.g. a policy that allows home-working for all. Does this mean idea schemes are a bad idea? Not necessarily:

  • Unearthing such a strong feeling is better than being unaware of it
  • Companies are not marketplaces – Dell can choose to ignore a potential customer base as it sonly a fraction of the total market, whereas employers can’t ignore the majority of their people
  • If the issue is really important, organizations have repeated opportunities to listen and explain in a way that retailers don’t.
  • Schemes like this let you know where to put most effort into dialogue
  • You can target the influencers to help communicate – e.g. Mark Shuttleworth, who is highly-regarded in the Linux community, posted a very balanced blog about Dell and IdeaStorm, helping both sides to see the other’s point of view.

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 +.

One Comment

  1. We have a lot of customers just doing that : asking employees, sales rep, licencees, resellers to give themp feedback on project or future products and services.
    The panel sees peer suggestions, and can vote for them. The consensus among participants unveils naturally, making it easy for the hierarchy to opt and respond.
    Response is a crucial matter for these operations to work : people will stop to contribute if ever the autority doesn’t communicate progress or decisions.
    Feedback2.0 will soon be available internationaly with a credit card, so you can DIY.

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