Idea Generating Community

(Andy Quintenz) #1


Last summer I helped start a company community oriented to the generation of ideas (ideation) to improve our products and processes. We had great initial engagement (joining and early posts) but peer engagement never took off. Our hope was people would post ideas and the community would vote, comment, and support ideas and eventually the best ideas would rise to the top. We’re finding that a lot of people just enter their ideas and walk away…

I just bought the Buzzing Communities book and wonder if this approach / FeverBee is the right place for me or is ideation different enough that I should be looking elsewhere.

Any thought, comments, or ideas eagerly wanted.


(Sarah Hawk) #2

Hi @AndyQ and welcome.

You’re definitely in the right place. Ideation is a subset of community, and we have plenty of members here who have successful ideation strategies in place.

@chris_hackett does some amazing work with ideation workflows at
@Nick_Emmett has an ideation board in their Salesforce community at FinancialForce
@Kristen_Gastaldo has also done some relevant work in her community. More on that here.

Do you have any current challenges or questions?

(Richard Millington) #3

When people engage a little and then disappear, it’s usually a habit, perceived value, or fun problem.

If most people only participated once (or at your prompting), that’s probably more of a habit problem. I’d look at BJFogg’s work to try and get some answers to this. Nir Eyal’s book is good too. They simply forgot to keep visiting the community.

If they made a few contributions, it’s more motivational. Either they don’t think the community has much value (not enough benefit for the time invested) or they didn’t enjoy the experience. The former is more about delivering outstanding benefits on every contribution and the latter is more about providing people an increasing sense of competency, autonomy, or relatedness.

If you get our video package, I gave a talk on the latter at our last event that might help.

(Sarah Hawk) #4

Or potentially a culture problem. i.e. If people thought their ideas weren’t valued, or if they didn’t feel welcome or comfortable.

@AndyQ Do you use the ideas, and if so, do you loop back and notify the community publicly?

(Nick Emmett) #5

Hi @AndyQ and welcome aboard, it’s great to have you!

A few questions from me first if that’s ok so I can understand your challenge a bit more:

Is your community internal or external/customer facing?
Is your Ideas board linked to the wider community/forum function?
I’m keen to understand how it works, who the target contributors are and what happens to the ideas once submitted.

We use Salesforce’s Ideas function (albeit a custom version) where both customers and staff can submit ideas for product enhancements, these can be voted on by other community members and go in to a queue with out Product Managers for review. Typically there might be a points threshold that’s needed to take the idea forward for development. It’s important that the people submitting the ideas feel that they’re being heard/seen and for those that are taken forward in to releases that they know so and we tell everyone so (we haven’t been very good at that bit up until now, which I am in the process of changing!)

Hope that helps in some way, keep us in the loop.

(Kath Reuben) #6

Interesting to hear that’s how Ideation successfully works! We have had a similar process in our original support community but found we didn’t get enough engagement from the community on voting (like @AndyQ - they would post their idea then walk away), although I suspect much of that was bc they couldn’t see any progress on the ideas posted. That in part, is due to the process that sits behind it being broken (nobody was really looking at the ideas and streamlining them to Product Management to review). In this reiteration of the Community, PM has asked that instead of voting (which sets an unrealistic expectation that the most votes will get developed - not always the best case) ideas go directly to PM to review, they then collate similar groups of ideas and look at either streamlining those into the roadmap or pushing them back out to get a general feeling for them before progressing further. I have yet to see how this is going to work but would be curious to hear your thoughts @nick_emmett.

(Kristen Gastaldo) #7

We had success with a “which of these do you want first” ideation post. Basically we listed out 10 pieces of functionality we planned to implement in the next year in one area of our product, and asked the community to pick their top 3 - and then we prioritized those top 3, letting them know which release would contain each feature.

It’s a good way to let people know that their votes and opinions matter, even if we can’t (or don’t) let their submissions drive our entire roadmap.

(Sarah Hawk) #8

I’d be interested to hear how this is progressing for you @AndyQ – do you have further questions?