When I was invited by Lionel of Dell to hang with bloggers, customers, and press with Michael Dell in vegas in CES, he was very receptive to listening to the community. Now hes manifested a new website that empowers Dell customers to submit ideas for feature improvements, vote up or down (is this wisdom of the crowd) and then working in a collaborative nature with Dell Engineers to really build the products that a customer wants to buy.
The online manifestations of this is called Dell Idea Storm, which is really borrowing from Cluetrainish ideas, and nods to Johnathan Schwartzs mantra that intranets are anachronisms. I do believe that the web is a platform that can allow customers and companies to build products efficiently and quickly using real time feedback. I hope this to become a shining example of how it could work.
The lines of feedback appear to be very open to Dell, and even Michael Dell himself (who told us he reads blogs) as the official Dell blog announces they are accepting Videos from Dell users.
Not only do savvy companies of the future rely on their customers to aid in the product requirements and engineering process, but they can also rely on the community to help spread the word. Im impressed, and hope this will live up to the potential I see it could have.