Using Web 2.0 tenets such as crowdsourcing, gamification, and social rewards, Dogfooding 2.0 solves the problem of employees not supporting/using products and services of their company.
If implemented effectively, this program will create an internal community of power users and advocates of the "eating your own dogfood" mindset.
Many projects and intiatives have failed because lack of customer adoption, but also because of lack of internal adoption.
Dogfooding ("Eating your own dogfood") has been a staple in IT companies in the last two decades. Said to be originated from Microsoft, dogfooding is the practice of encouraging employees to be end-consumers and users of products and services the company makes. Google has well-documented cases of dogfooding online properties.
The solution I'm proposing is centered on using Web 2.0 concepts such as crowdsourcing, community, and social rewards to make the whole dogfooding experience work on most businesses.
Development of an opt-in program that will recognize and reward dogfooders. This can be in the form of a leaderboard and badges (on the company intranet or in email signatures). Think Foursquare badges for folks who be
iPhone and email notifications when major dogfooding milestones happen in the organization ("There are now 500 users of Product X in our company!") This aims to create a viral effect especially when notable people in the company (The CEO, the company heartthrob, etc.) will allow themselves to be featured.
A scoring and incentive system for those who will be the top users of the new service. These incentives need not be material-- it can be in the form of being part of a "beta tester group" for future products.
An inter-group competition where team members must share tips and tactics on how to best use the product or service. The winning group will be the ones that provide the tips that get the most "Likes."
The good thing about this program is that it can be implemented with existing tools and services available for free or costs little. Apps like wikis, voting sites, referral sytems and content management systems are already existing and customizable.
The benefits are:
Internet marketing goes beyond copy and emails-- employees will use the products in real situations
Potential quality iprovement as more employees with stake in the company will speak out when there are problems
Word of mouth effect when employees recommend the products to their family and friends
Internal rewards system that can motivate employees and recognize power users
Building confidence on the company's products
The first step is to determine if Dogfooding 2.0 is a strategic fit to the company's products and services, as well as management direction. Like other initiatives, buy-in from senior management folks is crucial as a champion would be needed to push this forward.
Next is evaluating what elements of the program can be done, especially with the tools. The leaderboard can look something like this: