What Goes Down, Must Come Up (Part 2)
Why is it that whenever people have an idea, they point their fingers upward?
I don’t have the answer to this question, but thought it suited the point I’m making – Ideas are going up, instead of down.
In What Goes Down, Must Come Up (Part 1), I explained that traditional means of gathering ideas and feedback involved the use of funnels to push down ideas and opportunities, and to yield a subset of items for implementation. Whereas now, ideas are “going up” more frequently – meaning organizations are increasing their use of crowdsourcing for generating and gathering ideas, resulting in a prioritized list where the most popular ideas rise to the top.
SAP Idea Place
A few years back I led a project for BusinessObjects to host an enhancement request system on its online community (Diamond Technical Community). This idea wasn’t new since several other organizations used crowd-sourcing systems to collect and decide on product enhancements. Unfortunately, this project was shelved during the implementation stage.
The introduction of SAP’s Idea Place on SCN brought a smile to my face! It allows our community members to submit new ideas or vote up existing ideas already submitted. Kudos to Kuhan Milroy and others within SAP’s CTO team for making Idea Place a reality. Now, various idea places are created for SAP’s solutions, community or any other miscellaneous topics.
I recently revisited SAP’s Idea Place, and was glad to see so many SAP BusinessObjects-related idea places set up. All of these places are monitored and supported by respective solution and product management teams. Since Idea Place on the SAP Community Network – A cool idea and Have ideas on how to improve BusinessObjects Business Intelligence products?’s posts there have been even more BusinessObjects idea places set up. Some of these BusinessObjects solution managers have taken it one step further, to How do you connect directly with your end-users? into products!
Key Success Factors
Here another question: If funnels rely on gravity, what does crowdsourcing rely on?
A few things need to happen before crowdsourcing methods like Idea Place have a chance for success:
- A crowd – Pretty obvious there. More importantly, this crowd needs to be active and vocal to be effective and representative of the community.
- Transparency – Another obvious criteria but I can’t emphasize this enough. Beyond having an open environment for submitting ideas, organizations need to follow that up by being honest about how ideas will be evaluated, what will be done and when.
- One system (at least one public system) – Some might argue that different systems are needed, because ideas come from many different sources. My experience is that when there are different systems that do the same thing, you run into problems such as lack of adoption for any one system, lack of visibility which leads to either duplication or gaps, and added complexity in when it comes to decision-making time.
- Critical thinking – The risk of group think or laziness is too high in these where users can simply select and vote “Me Too” without really considering what their unique ideas are. Our solution and product managers also need to perform their due-diligence and validate these ideas with the market.
I’m really looking forward to see how Idea Place develops. Hope to see your participation in Idea Place as well, especially if you have an idea to improve our community!