James Murdoch and Willy Wonka On Crowdsourcing

Last Updated Aug 20, 2007 8:59 PM EDT

In case you missed it, the Financial Times had a great column on James Murdoch, CEO of British Sky Broadcasting and son of Rupert Murdoch, and how he used a type of one-on-one crowdsourcing last month.

Murdoch invited groups of British Sky Broadcasting customers to his office and gave them one minute to pitch him ideas on how to improve his company. He heard 20 of these pitches. Murdoch ended up picking a new loyalty card program for British Sky Broadcasting customers that would reward green and socially responsible behavior.

The column compared Murdoch to Willy Wonka and his golden tickets that allowed lucky customers to get face time with the chocolate maker. Here's more from the Times.

"But what the two business leaders had in common was an understanding that there is no substitute for getting really close to your customers...At the end of the session he said: "It is so incredibly important for us to have this dialogue with you". He was palpably sincere. He was also exactly right...Smart businesses in the 21st century are going to find more and more ingenious ways of tuning in to their customers' legitimate concerns, deepening the relationship they have with them and extending their customers' appreciation of their business and their brand."
Now if only Murdoch can make chocolate television...