Starbucks has long prided itself on being innovative and cutting-edge. Their approach to marketing has been an integral part of their success and helped the company grow from opening their first international location in 1996, to having nearly 25,000 locations worldwide only 20 years later.

The key to Starbucks’ success has been its willingness to listen to its customers. They have always taken the approach that their customers know best, and by adapting to their needs they have been able to stay as a market leader, even in the face of significant changes in the food and beverage industry.

To help them better identify what their customers want, Starbucks launched My Starbucks Idea in 2008. The crowdsourcing platform allows consumers to submit ideas regarding anything linked to the brand directly to the company and the initiative has been a great success.

My Starbucks Idea

In its first year alone, the program generated over 70,000 ideas. Over the years it has been in place, My Starbucks Idea has seen over 150,000 ideas submitted, approximately 300 of which have been implemented.

Starbucks My Idea Chart

That might seem like a relatively low conversion rate, but some of those ideas have been central to Starbucks’ success. K-Cups, mobile phone payments, the skinny mocha, sugar-free syrups, and a free drink with the purchase of a reusable cup are just some of the examples of ideas that have been implemented as a result of this initiative.


Not only that, but Starbucks gets a lot more than just ideas out of the program. By implementing an open innovation platform, Starbucks is able to better gauge their market by seeing the way that users are responding to shared ideas and comments. The platform also serves as a natural testing site for new ideas and initiatives. Previously, Starbucks would have gone through the costly process of a market research report and research and testing groups, but now they have streamlined that entire process into one easily manageable platform.

The conversation is happening whether you like it or not, the question is do you want to join in?

Have a look at the video below to see Matthew Guiste, Director of Social Media at Starbucks, talk about open innovation and how it helped the company during one of its most challenging periods.


Open innovation platforms can radically change the way in which you innovate and do business. Considering implementing one today to better interact with your consumers, improve your customer engagement, and learn more about their needs.

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