From Computers to Coffee to the President!

Nearly two years ago, Dell embarked on a journey along with to use a platform called Ideas to harness the wisdom of the crowds with the launch of IdeaStorm. extended this platform with Starbucks over a year later with the release of My Starbucks Idea for input on coffee and more.  And just last week, our new President and his team are using Ideas to create a Citizen's Briefing Book at  I think there are 2 key things to note about this evolution…

The first is the increase in use of social media in politics.  Many of us here have watched with interest as President Obama has seemed to embrace the Web and social media during his campaign and in the time leading up to his Inauguration today. Sure there are many barriers to bringing Web technology into the White House. But up to this point, Obama and his team have seemed to have done a stellar job utilizing tools like Twitter where @BarackObama has 150,000 followers and his ChangeDotGov YouTube channel where his videos have been viewed almost a quarter of a million times. We'll know more as he begins his time in office.

The second is the increasing trend in social media towards collaboration and co-creation.  Geoff Livingston discusses some of the pros and cons with online collaboration in Leveraging Idea Markets While Avoiding Echo Chambers.  And there are more examples of the use of community input.  Just yesterday, Michael Arrington and a small team unveiled the second prototype of the TechCrunch tablet with guidance from thousands of comments left by readers.  Green Globe Ideas is a site asking ideas to help save the planet Earth.  And Google has started asking for input on their Mobile Products with plans to expand to other products this year.  I expect to see many more of these collaborative websites in the year ahead.  Are there others out there that you use or that you would like to see?

About the Author: Vida Killian