How do we make IdeaJam have a bigger impact?

February 13 2008

Before I go into my thought here, I want to be clear. I love IdeaJam. Bruce, Matt, and Sean have built a wonderful tool. PSC is damn proud to host it and I have nothing to say but praise for the site. I am so happy that Bruce has found a market for the solution. Alex and I talked about IdeaJam in every session we gave at Lotusphere. I have turned customers and IBMers on to the site. I support IdeaJam 1000000%. This is not a negative comment about the site in any manner. Can I be more clear?

One of the things I have been thinking about since Lotusphere is how we can take the impact the community makes on IBM at Lotusphere and figure out how we can do that the other 51 weeks of the year. Here are some of my thoughts. My goal here is to brainstorm.

IdeaJam has given many people hope of a collaborative environment. My question is, does a post on IdeaJam really have enough weight to make an impact on average. Sure, Mary Beth and Bob and others have said they read and follow IdeaJam. Bruce mentioned he is in talks with IBM to have some process which marks ideas as completed if things are addressed or fixed or added in a release. But if someone puts something up on IdeaJam, how does it weigh compared to other things? For instance, here is a few of the things that IBM deals with when it comes to new feature requests:

  • Design Partner programs for a product, if that program exists
  • Managed Beta Feedback
  • Premium Support Customer feedback
  • Worldwide Premium Customer Council
  • Business Partner Round tables
  • Business Partner Forum databases on LNN with Feature Requests
  • PMR Process
  • Requests from IBM Executives
  • Requests from IBM Sales
  • Requests from IBM Development

Add IdeaJam to that list and you have a have a giant list of things to consider doing. What happens when an idea gets 50 votes on IdeaJam but one Premium Support Customer says "No"? 100 votes? 1000? Votes? What is the saturation point.Where does a website, created by the community, have enough impact to drive change?

I also look at the popular ideas. The idea "Move HTML signature into mailfile" has 229 votes. As far as I can tell, that is the top idea on IdeaJam. Is 229 votes the top level we can get? Is 229 votes enough for IBM to take notice?

I believe in IdeaJam, but wonder how can we drive more traffic to it. How can we get the top vote to be 1,000+ votes? How do we get to where an IBM Sales Rep responds to a customer ... "I will of course submit your suggestion/request, and you should follow-up with a PMR as well, but why not put it up on IdeaJam? If you can get people to agree with you, it will have bigger impact when we plan the next version!" How do we get to that level ... I believe that is the holy grail of saturation for IdeaJam.

We can all advertise IdeaJam more. I call on all speakers to have an IdeaJam slide in any presentation they do in 2008. IBM Customers, when you file a PMR, create an Idea as well. Heck, why not link them in some manner? Why not post a link to the idea in the PMR so IBM can see the demand? IBM Business Partners, if a customer has a request, point them to IdeaJam.

I would like us to get to a real, valid 1,000 promotion idea by Lotusphere 2009. That would show IBM that IdeaJam is the premier location for suggestions to their Lotus Product line by it's users and customers.

2008 - the year of IdeaJam. How are you going to make that happen? Share your thoughts.