“Ideation” is the concept of crowdsourcing applied to innovative ideas. The “crowd” typically comprises either internal (employees) or external (customers/fans) - or both.
It’s a pretty hot concept and been around for a while. Dell, for one, knocked it out of the ballpark with its IdeaStorm platform. But the reason Dell succeeds at it (and many others don’t) is fairly simple: they actually have a plan and process in place to take the ideas, filter the crap out, and bubble the winners up to implementation.
It’s easy to ask customers or employees for ideas - and appear progressive and “social” in the process. But if you can’t or won’t follow up on the firehose afterwards, then you’re just posturing - and it shows.
It’s best to let people know you don’t care one bit about their ideas (which is actually quite okay) than to create the illusion of the contrary and appear less than authentic in the process.