How Many Ideas Have You Given Dell?

Candace Berner-Rubie    October 24, 2013

Dell logo

93% of digital marketing and advertising professionals believe that utilising social media as a mechanism for customer feed back provides an exceptional opportunity for product development.

~ Crimson Hexagon


With consumer opinion and feedback so easily accessible to corporations through a multitude of social media channels, organizations have started to realize that these tools may serve a larger purpose than they originally thought.  It is essential for organizations to stay ahead of the curve, and product/service innovation is key to making this happen.  So how can social media tools help companies do this?

Social Product Innovation, or the use of social media to support product innovation and development, is still a relatively new discovery for most organizations, with only 22% of companies surveyed by Kalypso using this approach for more than a year.

This comment from Curt Bloom, president of Crimson Hexagon (specializing in social media analysis and analytics), clearly articulates the value proposition of social media in the product innovation and development process:

Social media is the world’s largest focus group, with millions of consumers regularly sharing their honest and candid opinions online. No brand or organisation can afford to overlook such a rich source of feedback, ideas and opportunities to engage with customers and prospects…the awareness and influence of social sentiment is undeniable….

Furthermore, a 2011research study by Kalypso on “Social media and product innovation” showed improvements in a number of new product development metrics when engaging social media at the beginning of the product innovation process.

Metric Average improvement
Faster time to market 16%
Faster product adoption 20%
Higher market share 6%
Improved product revenue 5%
Lower product cost 12%
Lower product development cost 15%

In addition to the above advantages, surveyed organizations experienced:

  • more new product ideas or requirements,
  • higher market share, and
  • improved product revenue.

The bottom line?  Companies are more likely to succeed when they incorporate social media tools into their innovation and product development strategy and processes.


A case in point: Dell’s IdeaStorm

Dell submit your ideas screenshot

Can Dell really help take your idea and turn it into reality?  Dell’s IdeaStorm concept does just that!

IdeaStorm is a platform that allows consumers to share ideas and brainstorm on ways to improve the world of computing.  It does this by providing a space where people can post about their ideas, vote on ideas they see, and provide comments to create meaningful discussion around ideas.  Ideas can even be sorted by trends, helping other IdeaStorm users and Dell product innovators identify areas of strong consumer interest and demand.

One of the pitfalls of asking for ideas is that an organization can receive so many, they don’t end up doing anything with the information they collect.  Dell certainly can’t be accused of this.  By listening to consumers through IdeaStorm, Dell has implemented an astounding 542+ ideas!

One such example is the blade workstation idea that was suggested in August 2007 and implemented in September 2008.

Here are some other pretty impressive results:

  • Over 20,155 ideas submitted.
  • More than 743,019 votes.
  • Upwards of 99,342 comments.

Dell also created Storm Sessions, which are highly focused brainstorming sessions on a specific topic.  It is open for idea contributions for a limited time and people can suggest ideas for future Storm Sessions as well.

By listening to consumers through social media tools and making those ideas come to life, Dell is building a reputation as a listener and problem solver, one idea at a time.


Lessons learned

  1. Incorporate social media and monitoring of these channels into your organization’s product innovation and development strategy.
  2. Monitoring social media chatter about your industry and organization can help generate new, outside-of-the-box ideas, or new twists on already-existing offerings.
  3. Once you have consumer feedback and ideas, do something with them!



Submitted By: Candace Berner-Rubie, SMBP Student, University of Waterloo.

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Programme Director, Social Media for Business Performance