Ben Langhinrichs

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Genii Weblog

Starting a new dialogue with our customers

Tue 25 Mar 2008, 12:54 PM



by Ben Langhinrichs
As I mentioned before, we are experimenting with using the IdeaJam software to start a new sort of dialogue with our customers and potential customers.  I thought I should describe some thoughts on this experiment, because GeniiJam (or whatever we call it) is likely to be quite different than the IdeaJam many people know and love, both in terms of goals and implementation, even though it will use the same software.  There are three significant differences which are likely to impact GeniiJam.

1) The cycle for new ideas is likely to be much longer and slower.  Simply said, IdeaJam has hundreds of visitors every day, while GeniiJam is likely to have far, far fewer, due to its narrower focus and smaller target audience.  This will change the dynamics considerably.  For example, it will be much easier to see all the ideas in an idea space, which is impossible with most idea spaces in Idea Jam.  It will also be much slower to get an impression of the popularity of an idea.  On the other hand, it may be much faster to see a solution completed.

2) The people who can implement the ideas, or show how they are already implemented, are connected to the site.  With IdeaJam, IBM employees may be reading the ideas, but direct interaction and response to ideas is unlikely, so IdeaJam is more of a general idea generation and sounding board, but unlikely to have answers and solutions directly tied to the ideas.  GeniiJam is likely to generate much more direct response to individual ideas, as both our developers and support people will be able to respond and even act on requests or show the requestor how the current products already can accomplish the stated goal.  Thus, if an idea is posted that can already be addressed by one of our products, we can respond and close the cycle without having to wait to see the popularity.  If an idea is posted that sounds good to us, we can respond and give a target version.  These differences will put more focus on completed ideas than IdeaJam has, and less on the "What's Hot!" portion of the software.

3) GeniiJam will be integrated into the fabric of the Genii Software website in a way that IdeaJam can't be, at least during the course of our experiment.  In other words, like the Genii Blog, there will be connections back and forth between the support forums and GeniiJam and the blog and help manuals.  For example, if a visitor wants to link to a help entry for Midas, they will be able to just write:  

It would be great if the AppendGraphic method would allow us to import .PNG images.

and the text will be saved as:

It would be great if the AppendGraphic method would allow us to import .PNG images.

with a link to the Help topic for that method.  Similar automatic connections can be made to the support forum or blog, and connections can be made back from those as well.  We can do all this by leveraging the Wiki and LinkMatching functionality of Midas and CoexEdit, but they should allow a more integrated experience than IdeaJam, where ideas are just posted and then drift to the back as new ideas flood in.

Our goal is to establish a deeper dialogue with customers, allowing feedback and idea generation to be shared with the users of our products.  The experiment is limited only in that if this approach does not work, we will move on to others ways, as dialogue is essential, whether this is the bext implementation or not.  I hope that when we formally introduce GeniiJam, you will come and share in the experiment with us.

Copyright © 2008 Genii Software Ltd.

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