The Internet Wishlist & new product development

The Internet Wishlist is an online hub that collects suggestions for apps and websites that internet users would like to see. Its creator Amrit Richmond describes it as ‘a suggestion box for the future of technology.’

Anyone can contribute an idea to the Wishlist by simply tweeting a suggestion with the hashtag #theiwl. Since the Internet Wishlist went live in February 2011, it has already been recognised as a great source of business inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Children's measurements app wish

As co-creation becomes a popular form of new product development, it could be particularly relevant for marketers. What’s most interesting, in my opinion, is the fact that it isn’t brand-led. The ‘consumers’ have little interest in who answers their need; they just want their need met.

The Internet Wishlist is fundamentally different to an online community set up by a brand for the purposes of co-creation. Its neutrality – not seeking to solve a business problem for a particular company – may ironically where it has most worth for brands.

The ‘Wishlist’ model may allow greater creativity in product development. A brand would probably have to think more deeply about how it could respond to a consumer demand – if it can respond at all – but the scope of new ideas could be vast, possibly wider than a brand-led conversation which has the potential to be limiting if it concentrates on its own interests.

I am not suggesting that an online hub like this is more useful to a brand than one created specifically for the purposes of the co-creation, but it could be beautifully complementary.

Assuming it’s relevant for the target audience and nature of the campaign, any brand, be it an FMCG product or a luxury services provider, could take an idea and use it as a springboard for a creative and relevant solution, building a relationship with the consumer by answering their need.

I have also been thinking… why should this type of ‘Wishlist’ be just for apps & internet services?

There is no reason why there can’t be multiple online ‘Wishlist’ hubs:  product wishlists (for the type of items consumers want to buy in-store), services wishlists, nightlife wishlists… [Note: this means Wishlist in the sense of new products/services consumers want to see, not existing ones that they would like to have, in the way of wishlist.com]

There could be an opportunity for an entrepreneur to develop the idea of wishlists commercially, charging companies for access to various wishlists. Of course a brand could create their own Wishlist. However, as the brand ‘creator’ would need to be open about its identity, this could potentially lead the conversation when the beauty of the Wishlist is its lack of bias.

A ‘wishlist’ is mutually beneficial to the consumer and entrepreneurs/brands. As marketing becomes increasingly digital and collaboration becomes more important, it will be interesting to see where the Internet Wishlist model goes next.

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