More and more companies are asking visitors to pitch them their ideas. For many this represents the ultimate dream! Many successful websites and online businesses have been built on the vibrancy of their audience providing content. Think eBay, YouTube, Wikipedia and the hundreds of thousands of blogs and forums on every topic under the sun!

As a keynote Marketing speaker I am often asked the keys to generating ideas – certainly one of them is to ask the audience because it has been shown that People create profits.

Probably one of the great examples of this was cited in the book Wikiconomics.

Goldcorp, a US mining company posted all its proprietary information on the internet and invited the public’s interpretations (with cash incentives) of where the ore was located. The process brought the company from $100m in revenue to $9bn.
Transparency – trust not secrecy – is the way forward.
How can you ask?

Why not have your own RENTACROWD session to generate new ideas for your business? This involves inviting a small group from diverse backgrounds to brainstorm new ideas, potential improvements etc.

The rules of engagement are simple: every idea and opinion is noted and honoured regardless of how ridiculous it may seem.

This allows free flow and potential association.

Based on my own experience, I have found that the most creative ideas came from some weird and wonderful suggestions from my advisors.

Remember creativity happens where different ideas meet.

The Apple Genius Bar came from Steve Jobs’ question ‘how do we create a store that has the friendliness of a Four Seasons hotel?’ The Four Seasons had been identified by a focus group as a place where you get the best service. The answer was ‘put a bar in our shops, but not an alcohol bar – an advice bar!’

Business Week wrote this idea off before it even began and said ‘Sorry Steve, Here’s why Apple stores wont work’ but Jobs persisted with his vision of “a buying experience as good as our products,’ and in 2006 Apple had the highest annual sales per square foot ($4032) with Tiffany’s trailing behind at $2,666

At a basic level, every company should host an internal forum/blog where employees can share and co-create new ideas for the business.

If your search is for new product ideas, why not incentivise it by giving employees a share of the revenue if their idea is implemented?

Any modern thinking keynote marketing speaker will extol the virtues of thinking outside the book and coming up with creative ways of finding that killer idea – that killer incremental improvement that may give you the competitive edge within the marketplace.