People Innovation Excellence


by : Darjat Sudrajat

In recent years, several companies have created online communities for the purpose of identifying market opportunities through crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is a model of problem solving and idea generation that marshals the collective talents of a large group of people. It is utilizing a network of customers or other partners to gain insights for new product or process innovations. Using Web 2.0 tools, companies solicit, refine, and evaluate ideas for new products and services based on input from their customers. Business organizations that have implemented this approach include Dell, Fiat, Sara Lee, BMW, Kraft, Proctor & Gamble, Starbucks, etc.

One business process that has been radically changed by the use of social IT is the way innovation is managed using crowdsourcing. Enterprises have found ways to use a social IT platform to solicit, discuss, and prioritize new ideas. Anyone in the community can add an idea, then the entire community can discuss, comment, and rate the idea. Managers then have a wealth of ideas along with community input, to use as input into the innovation process.

One of the original examples of this is Dell’s IdeaStorm. Anyone in the community can access IdeaStorm to view ideas posted by the community, post an idea for Dell products or services, vote on the ideas presented, and see what Dell managers have decided to do with the ideas presented. Ideas presented by the community range from suggestions for new features on existing systems, to new products and services Dell might offer. By allowing the community to comment and vote on ideas, managers get a sense of the importance and viability of implementing the innovation.

Similar social platforms have been implemented by numerous other companies, including Starbucks’s and Best Buy’s IdeaX. Companies have also taken this idea inside the corporation to solicit ideas and innovations about processes, products and other enterprise issues. Dell’s EmployeeStorm and the City of New York’s Simplicity are two social IT examples of soliciting ideas to improve processes and efficiencies from employees.

Companies have also embraced the crowd for individual projects, such as Sam Adams, the beer company, who used a Facebook application for crowdsourcing the next flavor of beer. Their application let fans select the color, clarity, body, malt, hops, and yeast components of a recipe. For each component, the crowdsourcing application educated fans about the contribution each component made to the resulting beer. They collected the crowd’s preferences, sharing them along the way for comment and discussion. The results not only gave Sam Adams managers information about preferences of their fans, but prioritized ideas about the next product to create with a high probability that it will have a large fan base to get it started.


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Pearlson, K. E., Saunders, C. S., 2013, Strategic Management of Information Systems, Fifth Edition, International Student Version, John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte. Ltd.,

Turban, E., Volonino, L., 2012, Information Technology for Management, 8th edition, International Student Version, John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pte. Ltd.

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