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Company: National Instruments
Entry Submitted by: Jordan Groves (jgroves) Web Project Engineer
Community: National Instruments Community (forums.ni.com)
Lithy Categories: Best Business ROI
The National Instruments Idea Exchange, which was established in June 2009, provides a quick, excellent medium of direct communication between our customers and our R&D team.
Here at National Instruments, we understand the importance of integrating co-innovation into the product design and development processes. By giving our lead users the opportunity to provide valuable feedback on our products, not only do we develop better software, but we also demonstrate to our customers that we greatly value their input.
Before the Idea Exchange was born, we first needed to determine how to best incorporate our top users into our development processes.
In order to do so, we needed to learn more about our community members. A survey of the user base returned the following information:
This data reaffirmed our assertion that it would be well worth the effort to pull customers into the NI software development process.
With the main focus being ease of use, National Instruments utilized the Lithium community platform and revealed the new Idea Exchange in the summer of 2009. Since then, users have submitted over 3,700 ideas – each with candid explanations of why they posted.
Our Research and Development teams monitor the board and reply directly to the customers’ requests. Over the years, the Idea Exchange has expanded to encompass eight different product boards and has received:
Additionally, the LabVIEW 2011 Beta release included 13 new features that were suggested on the Idea Exchange.
In the end, not only did the Idea Exchange alleviate many users’ frustrations by giving them a direct connection to our developers, but it also increased our productivity, as well. Our engineers now have an exact picture of which new features are most important to our customers.
By placing co-innovation as a cornerstone of the product development cycle, we have been able to produce better products.
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