Companies in which most employees work at networked computers can take advantage of the link tocreate an updated version of the old suggestion box. The new version: an online suggestion database.

At Timeslips, a software publisher, in Essex, Mass., CEO Mitchell Russo says a companywide suggestion database--that anyone can put a suggestion into orperuse--"probably has more than a thousand suggestions in it." The ideas come from customers, letters, developers, and staff. Ranging from fleeting thoughtsto formal ideas about product enhancements, the entries each include the idea, who originated it, and the date of the suggestion.

Russo reads through the collection every week or so. "Fifteen to 20 of the items are what I consider great ideas," he says, "and they end up on a short list inmy personal database." They also show up in product updates: Russo says that more than 100 electronic-suggestion-box entries were incorporated into onerelease, and he has overseen development of new products that bubbled up through the idea-exchange system.