Screenshot_20160605-065951 - MyStarbucksIdea homescreenDid you know that there is a place you can go and suggest an idea for Starbucks? It’s called MyStarbucksIdea. It’s been around since March 2008.

Take a look at these ideas:

Here’s one suggestion that baristas should be able to have unnatural hair color. I completely agree! It’s very hard sometimes to tell what’s natural and for me personally, I just don’t care if my barista’s hair is blue, gray, red, or whatever.

Screenshot_20160605-070049 Idea - Different Hair Color

One thing is that when you’re using (MSI) the mobile version is very different from the desktop version. There’s a category called “view ideas” and the mobile version only allows you to see “popular ideas.” You can’t easily filter by the most recent ideas or the most recent comments on ideas.

I love the idea of being able to search for Starbucks along a specific route:

Screenshot_20160605-072814 driving along a route

It’s super easy to create a new idea. Just to show you how easy, I submitted this coloring book idea today!

Screenshot_20160608-071610 coloring book



You. should think about the voting scores on MSI with a grain of salt. There are many reasons why good ideas get voted down.

Why do people vote down ideas? I think most of these things below happen on a very subconscious level:

  • Most people are resistant to change and since MyStarbucksIdea is fundamentally about change and growth, lots of people aren’t going to like the ideas. Change is very hard to accept.
  • Lots of people cannot sort out the merits of an idea from the delivery: An excellent idea presented badly (even in terms of grammar or use of caps) will likely get down votes.
  • Lots of people are naturally argumentative.
  • Pop psychology seems to teach us that we’re stronger when we say “no” to things. (I’m beginning to think it takes more strength to say “yes”). It can feel emotionally good (though likely immature) to vote a bunch of ideas down. I genuinely believe the American culture is starting absorb as the default that you should just say, “no.” You’ll be stronger for it, is what we learn. Subconsciously, this plays out into what we do online. This is just my opinion, but I see it as a new trend. “No” is more powerful so subconsciously people grab for it as much as possible.
  • Of course, sometimes people vote up or down for reasons that have nothing at all to do with the idea. It would be better if you couldn’t see who made the idea until after you voted. It’s possible that regular users of a MSI vote because they think, “I like that person” or “I dislike that person” regardless of the merits of the idea.
  • Some people genuinely like to give others grief.
  • And lots of people can’t really imagine what’s a good idea (even if they think they can!).

So for all of the above, just disregard the scores! It’s possible there are some ideas out there with high votes that would be terrible if really implemented in the stores!

There’s a famous Henry Ford quote (though arguable whether he really said it) that goes something like this. “If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they would’ve said, ‘faster horses.’” The fact of the matter is that people often don’t know whether they’ll love a product until after it’s in their hands. And it seems to be part of the human condition that we’re resistant to what’s new, what’s different, and change.

So what’s your idea for Starbucks?

I picked out 3 ideas I like: 1) Remove any restrictions on barista hair color. 2) Create the ability to map Starbucks stores along a route. 3) Sell a Starbucks adult coloring book. Hope you’ll vote up my 3 picks.