In our blog posts, we have often discussed how necessary it be for companies to continual develop new products. This is particularly true in highly competitive markets where the life cycle of products is often very short. For marketers who rely on new products to keep their business viable, it is imperative they regularly set aside time to discuss potential product ideas.
As we discuss in our Managing Products tutorial, new product ideas come from several sources. The usual starting point is through internal research methods, such as asking customers what products they would like to see or using brainstorming techniques to stimulate ideas among company personnel. Additionally, ideas can come by looking outside the company such as researching products offered by other companies.
Well, it looks like we can add another option to the list of ways to generate product ideas – solicit these over the Internet for everyone to see. That is, ask people to offer their own suggestions for products and let others offer comments. According to this Wall Street Journal story, one company Quirky.com is taking this approach and is building its product offerings from ideas that are freely suggested by visitors on the company's website. The company then takes these ideas and evaluates possible products using the advice from an online community. For the products chosen, the originator of the idea receives a small percentage of the revenue, while some in the online community can also see funds for the support they offer.
For marketers considering this process, a great advantage is the vast amount of innovative concepts that can be suggested that likely no marketer can generate on their own. However, on the downside a significant barrier for adopting this type of approach for generating ideas is the openness. Everyone in the world can see what the ideas are, and most marketers are not accustomed to publicly sharing their product ideas before a product is marketed. So while this approach works well for this company, it remains to be seen whether this idea generation method will be adopted by many other marketers.