I have an almost unhealthy passion for Nike running shoes. They offer me the best support for all the exercising I do. About four years ago, I found a pair that I really loved, but an unfortunate encounter with a poorly drained residential street and black dirt ruined them. They were a cool combination of chartreuse and ice blue, but sadly, they must have been in the last lot of that color combination. So, I couldn’t find another pair in those colors. I had to settle for something else that I didn’t like as much.

It would have been so fabulous if they’d had a customer community back then. I could have posted the idea that Nike make several specialized “colorless” running shoes and offer people the option of choosing their preferred color combination. Then, if enough people agreed with me, Nike would release this new line, and I could get my dream chartreuse-and-ice-blue shoes. I would be even more of a fan than I am now.

One day, Nike might have such a community because all companies are listening to their customers more than they did in the past. Listening to customers is big.

While we wait for “design your own running shoes” to become a thing, I want to tell you how my company, OutSystems, listens to customers.

What’s the Big Idea?

In the OutSystems Community, we have a big Ideas area. We’ve had it for awhile, but we decided it and our customers weren’t recognized like they should be. After all, customer suggestions deserve major love. So, we increased our investment in implementing new ideas and launched a new experience for the Ideas area. We gave it a fresh coat of web and mobile paint, and now it’s much easier for any customer or OutSystems user to submit ideas, follow their progress, and stay in touch with the teams working on them.

And the best part of all of this? Many of the features added as part of the Ideas area redesign were submitted by customers as ideas. Talk about a virtuous circle.

Write on the Ideas Board

As part of the relaunch, we promised our “ideas people” that we’d update them each quarter on the progress of ideas. And since Q1 is a wrap, here are the numbers: 156 ideas were submitted, we implemented 49 of them, and we had 551 community votes. By the way, you can get the scoop on every idea submitted by reading this OutSystems Community forum post. (While you’re there, check out the rest of the OutSystems Community. We’ve made some other changes, and more are coming as it grows.)

Here are just a few highlights from the 49 ideas implemented.

Properties Pane: Change Properties for Selected Widgets (IDE)

If you’re working in version or later of our IDE, you can change the properties of several objects in bulk. That idea had more than 126 likes and more than 531 views, and we have just finished launching it.

Select Part of an Action Flow and "Refactor to Action" (Back-End)

Thanks to another idea, we introduced the Extract to Action command in version You can extract and reuse complicated logic that you created in a different place. Just select the piece of logic and click! Your action is now reusable. This idea, in particular, had more 59 likes and more than 330 views, and we have just finished launching it.

Logging Native App Crashes (Mobile)

Another OutSystems customer suggested that we add the capability to log native app crashes. As a result, you can now have full visibility of all the errors that may be occurring on the devices your customers are using to access mobile apps. This capability allows you to understand and act fast on any problems detected in your mobile apps.

Go Ahead. We’re Listening

What makes someone love a product? It might start with the product living up to its promises, but in the end, love comes when people feel that companies are listening to their needs and making changes to the product when necessary. So, whether you have an idea to submit or you want to tell us in person about a feature you’re dreaming of, go ahead: we’re listening.