Before there was open innovation and crowdsourcing, there was just the Internet. Before web-based discussion forums, companies only had expensive tools like focus groups, interviewing and ethnographic studies to get at the voice of the customer. Once the web took off and enough homes had Internet access, companies started creating their own online presences for customer feedback, which in turn helped fuel Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing.
One of the major first movers in this space was greeting card company, Hallmark. Below you can download a copy of MRT’s old newsletter, Product Development Best Practices Report (PDBPR), from January 2002, whose feature story is about Hallmark’s Idea Exchange online community program. This program is so old that when they first populated it, they recruited users by phone. The result was a robust and diverse community of customers and non-customers that generates greeting card and other product ideas for Hallmark. We don’t publish the newsletter anymore, but it would be great to return and see a follow up and where they are with this today.
This issue of PDBPR also features pieces on Design for the Environment, “Responsible Design,” and managing project risk.
Download .PDF: PDBPR – January 2002