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March 24, 2008

A Grande Idea

Brenda HainesIt looks like Starbucks is outsourcing its market research and R&D – to customers.

The MyStarbucksIdea Website, launched last week, seems to bet on the notion that your customers can and will provide you with ideas for innovation. And, you get to bond with them while doing it!

If you haven’t seen it, the site rolls focus groups, open source R&D, surveys and customer engagement all into one.

Site visitors can share their pain points and submit solutions. Registered users (and future promo offer recipients?) can vote for favorite suggestions. Then you can check back – on the site and in your favorite Starbucks – to see your favorite solutions become reality.

Expect other companies to begin tapping consumer brains this way, too. What a great way for customers to share their pain – and what a great place for companies to look for solutions.

Maybe the Fed will be the next to try this…