Dell is increasing its crowdsourcing efforts on IdeaStorm, by giving hardware manufacturers more feedback on products and services. "Storm Sessions" are designed to attract a larger business community to the IdeaStorm site, by providing a more focused, structured approach.
Storm Sessions provide a way for Dell to listen to its community, but we are a bit skeptical that the effort will receive significant interest from the business community.
This may be in part due to the transparency of the process. Will business people feel comfortable giving their feedback in such a public way?
Dell launched Ideastorm two and a half years ago, with the intention of giving customers the opportunity to post their own ideas about Dell's products and services. Ideastorm now has 60,000 registered users. The community posts about 300 ideas per month.
The free form aspects of the crowdsourcing effort attracts a consumer crowd. Product groups at Dell find Ideastorm useful. The Linux community is especially vocal on IdeaStorm and Dell now offers Ubuntu on Dell machines based on feedback from the Linux community.
Storm Sessions seek to better match business users with the community aspects of the IdeaStorm site, through a more structured process. Storm Sessions will live on the Dell site for two to four weeks. Dell is starting with two topics, covering mobile technology and the redesign of the Dell support site.
Sessions are presented with a statement, providing context about the issue Dell is exploring. Each session includes a count down.
Ideas are submitted through a UI that looks much like a blogging platform.
The ideas then get loaded to the IdeaStorm site.
Dell product groups receive the information collected from the sessions. It is analyzed and integrated into the product development process.
IdeaStorm is impressive, especially considering that just two-people manage it. The amount of feedback Dell receives in return is significant, which shows the power that crowdsourcing can bring to an organization.
Storm Sessions will initially focus on the education market, where Dell shows a strong presence. This could serve as the major draw for Storm Sessions.
We look forward to watching the progress of Storm Sessions and how other companies bring crowdsourcing into the enterprise.