A week ago, I made T-shirts with logo of my web-site(on picture) and offer it for free to my columnists and forum visitors (my football club web-site). Soon they wanted to go to drink with me, and I took the t-shirts there. We had nice discussion as we had common interest – our football club.
When you build that kind of community, ideas are jumping out of every corner, and except to that we had many remarks on how club is organized, and that it has poor results in last years, we have great ideas how to make it better and more successful(like that anyone ask us?).
My point is that online communites can build groups with common interest, that can generate many ideas and certain individuals can make it useful, but of course – first he needs to ask for it! In our case, if someone from club want to hear us, or just visit our forum, he can get many ideas for the club’s future – and all that for free!
When you copy this to enterprises, first thing that come to my mind is open innovation. It must be recognized as a powerful weapon in search for new ideas or even new customers. It is recognized in USA or W.Europe but in my part of Europe I don’t know for any example yet.