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In reviewing the benefit of transitioning to a user/community driven product design and development process, the availability of platforms such as GetSatisfaction and UserVoice (plus other similar products) have really helped to integrated and collate the information required to feed into the design and development process.

However, I am interested to know the experience that teams have had with the number of ideas generated and the proportion of ideas that end up getting implemented or rejected. Is the extra effort of curating and maintaining these types of platforms worth the effort or is the overhead usually greater than what it is worth?

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When considering such platforms, the question is whether the users of those platforms are representative of your target users. If they are representative, then it is worthwhile. If they are not representative, but if they are vocal and can garner attention, it might be worthwhile for you to engage with them to some extent. If they are not representative and they are not garnering attention, then it probably is not worthwhile.

In general, if I compare the feedback that occurs on such sites (where I don't know how representative the users are) and the feedback that is gathered elsewhere (where I do know how representative the users are), I've rarely found that the feedback on such sites represents that from target users. There is some overlap between their feedback and the feedback of representative users. I've occasionally found feedback from such sites directional, or discovered a bug through it that the team wasn't previously aware of (and thus that bug could get considered and prioritized in the usual way).

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Customers are always interested in getting their voice heard on ideas they have to improve the Product they use.

Setting expectations is key: community members should not take for granted that most ideas will be implemented (or even looked at by Product Management in the next 2 weeks).

What we've seen is that Community members are very excited as soon as they get feedback on the idea, even from other Community members.

See UX we're working on to foster such engagement: Recent Ideas

The crowd aspect is very efficient here. If you have a thriving community, other community members will comment / vote up on ideas posted by others, thus make progress in defining the idea that was posted. After a couple of weeks, when Product Management will jump in, the idea should have been qualified enough so that a proper next step can be shared (include in roadmap, reject with comments, etc.)

  • Framing your answer back to the question that I asked, do you have to spend much effort curating the information or is the platform that you use pretty efficient? Can you give an idea of the amount of ideas generated and also the percentage that ends up being implemented? – Michael Lai Nov 29 '16 at 1:50
  • Curating information works very well, we just have to move ideas when posted in wrong community, or to de-dup ideas where several instances are too close (so that people vote only one). – Matt Laurenceau Dec 2 '16 at 23:48
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    In 5 years, 13k ideas where posted (for about 35 products). Percentage of ideas being implemented varies a lot depending on specific product. Good illustration that engagement doesn't depend on the idea platform, but on the people (submitters, or R&D teams). The platform we use is Jive Software. – Matt Laurenceau Dec 2 '16 at 23:50

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