The classic ideas or suggestions box still is, for some companies, the only way available for employees and clients to share their ideas, proposals, appraisals… But let’s not kid ourselves, sharing an idea with a company, be it the company you work for or another, through a suggestion box is an extremely discouraging process; it is cold and distant, and has already lost the battle in this era of apps and tools that are transforming innovation into an open, multi-directional, transparent and fun process.
Old-fashioned suggestion boxes are doomed to disappear and anyone who has tried using one (that may very well be you, dear reader) will have experienced one of these 10 reasons that have driven them to stop using the suggestions box:
1. Employees and clients know beforehand that they will probably never receive an answer to the proposal or idea they are sharing, no matter how good it is. It is a case of unidirectional communication with the company.
2. It is cold and impersonal.
3. It is not a transparent process. You never know who evaluates your proposal, or how it is evaluated.
4. The suggestion box can only be used to give ideas, not receive them. The company’s needs are still unknown to its clients and employees, who may have ideas to solve specific problems, but cannot share them because they are not aware of such problems.
5. People who share an idea lose control over it as soon as they put it in the box. Once the idea is shared, they are unaware of the process it follows and whether or not it is implemented.
6. It isn’t a fun process, it is formal and serious. People sharing ideas may even feel like they need to be thankful for the company listening to their idea.
7. People don’t know which ideas have been shared before, so that they aren’t repeated, or in order to be inspired by previous ideas or add improvements to them.
8. It no longer makes sense to share ideas in a closed box where you obtain no answer, given that there are many social tools with much visibility where you can receive acknowledgement and even attract the interest of the competition.
9. Users don’t win anything in exchange for their participation.
10. Suggestion boxes are difficult to access and hard to find; some are even still “analogical”, which means writing the idea by hand.
It is time to adapt to new tools and possibilities that open real, bidirectional, communication channels, among many other things, with the people who can help an organization the most: their own employees and their clients. And even more importantly, we must thank and actively recognize the efforts and interest of those who bother to share their ideas.