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The power of open ideation: eBay’s Green Box Bags

It never fails to inspire me when the seed of one person’s idea takes root and branches out into much more. It’s why I think it’s always so powerful to provide employees and customers the opportunity to provide feedback and suggestions on how to make status quo better in some way. There have been many examples of companies who have successfully tapped into the brain-trust of many to do this: Starbucks, Dell, and now eBay.

eBay recently held its annual Innovation Expo, which encourages all employees to contribute prototypes of ideas they have that they feel would benefit eBay’s buyers and sellers. This year over 250 employees forming almost 80 teams worked together to develop and submit their innovative product prototypes. The submissions were judged by the greater eBay employee base who were invited to show up to listen to the teams pitch their ideas, and to test the prototypes. The winning idea was called “simple green shipping”, and is now soon to be released to the market.

“Simple green shipping” is a specially designed reusable box that can be used by buyers and sellers over and over again. The idea is so simple, and perhaps that’s the beauty of it. With a service that sees many of its users playing the dual role as sellers as well as buyers, reusable packaging is a win-win solution for everyone.

Nicely done, eBay. A solution that helps your user base, reduces waste for the environment, and build employee morale around ideation and innovation.

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