Some companies still operate in 20th-century mode, but not MakerBot Industries. First they crowdsourced their manufacturing ops back to their own customers (which we still get a giggle about) and now they're crowdsourcing their strategy by using true 21st century innovation management technology.
What the heck does that mean? They've opened up a website that is specifically designed to capture ideas from their customers, or anyone. The ideas are voted on by participants and, so the theory goes, the best ideas will bubble up to the top. Presumably the tall foreheads at MakerBot will take up those ideas and make them real.
You might think this is simply a fancy suggestion box, but it's far from that. Innovation Management is a scientific discipline with lots of research behind it. It's used by forward-thinking corporation to find the best ideas from many sources. Where are the ideas? They're locked up in everyone's heads. This approach unlocks those ideas and sets them free to rise or fall on their own merit, so the more ideas the better. In fact, we're aware of one unnamed corporation who processed over 140,000 ideas one year - and ended up building only the seven very best ideas.
MakerBot is trying to do the same thing, but we suspect they might not get 140,000 ideas. Nevertheless, it's a great start and we encourage everyone to throw in their ideas, comments and votes.