Dell to go Community Driven Feature Design in Latest Web Strategy “IdeaStorm”

Dell appears to be a company of the future, they’re opening the lines of communication using the web to build better products and services.

When I was invited by Lionel of Dell to hang with bloggers, customers, and press with Michael Dell in vegas in CES, he was very receptive to listening to the community. Now he’s manifested a new website that empowers Dell customers to submit ideas for feature improvements, vote up or down (is this wisdom of the crowd) and then working in a collaborative nature with Dell Engineers to really build the products that a customer wants to buy.

The online manifestations of this is called Dell IdeaStorm, which is really borrowing from Cluetrainish ideas, and nods to Johnathan Schwartz’s mantra that “intranets are anachronisms”. I do believe that the web is a platform that can allow customers and companies to build products efficiently and quickly using real time feedback. I hope this to become a shining example of how it could work. There’s more information of use on the About page.

[Companies of the Future will collaboratively design products with customers using web tools. These products will meet the specific needs of the people, reduce costs, and streamline the go-to-market process]

The lines of feedback appear to be very open to Dell, and even Michael Dell himself (who told us he reads blogs) as the official Dell blog announces they are accepting Videos from Dell users.

Not only do savvy companies of the future rely on their customers to aid in the product requirements and engineering process, but they can also rely on the community to help spread the word. I’m impressed, and hope this will live up to the potential I see it could have.

Update: Here’s an updated Blog Post from Dell that explains in their words what they’re up to.

Update 2:
I find is disappointing that after months (or is it years now) that the blogosphere has criticized Dell to listen and join the conversation that when Dell does something potentially amazing that folks miss the whole point and make it a Dell copies Digg meme rather than focusing on what’s really important –Dell is opening up to build better products.

Friends, please see the forest, not the branches on the trees.

  • http://mdoeff.com/blog Mike

    I think we’ll be seeing this type of thing from more and more companies. I wonder how long it will take for the Digg mob to claim that Dell stole the Digg-style voting buttons from Digg???

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    I think Yahoo folks will say Digg stole it from them, then Digg folks will say that Dell stole it from Digg.

    Who’s on first?

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  • http://dbillian.typepad.com Damon Billian

    I think that this type of activity will become more and more prevalent down the road. The only thing that I don’t think will take off is the user-generated video section on their site…not sure what users would submit about the product…

  • http://jeffmaaks.blogspot.com/ Jeff Maaks

    I completely agree with your Update 2, Jeremiah. I hope we’ll see other companies be inspired by this approach to gathering product requirements, versus shying away from it for fear of being a “me-too”.

  • Pete Kazanjy

    Jeremiah, I share the frustration you vent in Update 2. For whatever reason, people love to pile on and talk smack about how xyz site *stole* some feature from another. And it’s worse when the “victim” is a darling of the technorati, like Digg is.

    The sad thing is, it contributes the popular misconception many have of a given feature, like social networking or voting or tagging, being a product. At least you’re taking them to task for it.

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Jeff

    Thanks my friend, we all want to see companies to the best they can.

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Pete

    We’re in agreement, like Kevin Rose or whoever should pay copyright infringements to the founders of democracy or something.

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  • David Marshall

    “”Update 2: I find is disappointing that after months (or is it years now) that the blogosphere has criticized Dell to listen and join the conversation that when Dell does something potentially amazing that folks miss the whole point and make it a Dell copies Digg meme rather than focusing on what’s really important –Dell is opening up to build better products.
    Friends, please see the forest, not the branches on the trees.””

    Jeremiah, I couldn’t agree more with your update #2. I can’t seem to find anyone that wants to take a walk through the forest. I am not talking about virtual trees, but real live customers, with real live on line voices.

    Since CES, when we sat together at the round table with Michael Dell, I have wanted to share a real live forest view with you. If you would like, I can send you a picture of the forest.

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    David, this is excellent, keep on sharing, here in these comments, or on your own blog. The world should know.

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