China Telecom serves over 220 million individuals.  

They decided to use IBM’s Social Business Platform for ideation blogs to gather information from their customers to identify the most viable new services to offer to the Chinese market.  They wanted to invite a broad range of new ideas from the public.

China Telecom enabled consumers to register their ideas, and they encouraged continuous collaboration around those ideas. The wisdom of the crowd helped them select the best ideas to put forward. 

 China Telecom called their ideation blog, “Voices,” because they were allowing new “voices” into their development process. 

Here are some of the interesting points about their solution:

  • They received their first idea from a customer a mere ten minutes after launch.
  • “Voices” produced over 500 ideas in the first six months
  • China Telecom considers a big percentage of the entries to be breakthrough ideas.
  • When asked, 88% of the participants said that they believe ideation is fun

The participants identified new product and service opportunities by creating a networked, market- focused culture that makes it easier to bring great ideas to life.  This was especially important when China Telecom was working to determine which 3G and 4G services to deploy. 

With input from “Voices,” China Telecom has effectively included customers in the gathering of product and service ideas and feedback.  That equipped them to develop better products and services.  They have also achieved innovation more effectively, and they’ve brought successful new offerings to market more quickly.

China Telecom recognized that the potential of social business extends far beyond simple one to one communications between employees. Social can bring together the whole value chain, including customers, suppliers, consultants or anyone else. 

Using Social for Ideation or Innovation is a key ROI social project.  McKinsey says that on average a company using Social for Ideation improvements see a 20% success rate improvement in new product, offerings, or program introductions!