Whether they are external tools for feedback from clients and customers or internal tools enabling employees to voice their opinions, suggestion boxes are great ways to get ideas in a private and nonthreatening manner. You don't need to go out and buy a ready-made suggestion box as they are fairly easy to make on your own.
Creating an Internal Suggestion Box
The internal suggestions box should be private. Therefore, any clear acrylic boxes or boxes placed in very visible locations are not good. Unless there are incentives, most people prefer to be anonymous with their suggestions, especially if the suggestion regards anything that might be negative. Make sure to get a lock on the suggestions box so snooping employees can't rifle through the contents when no one is looking. Suggestion cards are not necessary in this case.
Creating an External Suggestion Box
A suggestion box for customers or clients should be easy to find, handicapped-accessible and have a spot for suggestion cards and a pen, preferably a pen attached to the box. There is no need for privacy for an external suggestions box. Visibility is the most important thing. Place the box near the exit. If using a clear box, consider placing a couple of folded, but blank, suggestion cards in the box after you have emptied it to make people feel more willing to contribute themselves, not having to feel like they are the first.
Constructing the Box
A wooden suggestion box consists of little more than a 6-sided box, with the top opening on a hinge opposite a lock and with a hole cut in the top. Acrylic sheets can be used as an alternative. If you want to paint on the acrylic, you will need to primer it very well before painting. If your suggestion box can be less formal, as in some internal uses, such as a classroom suggestion box or in some workplaces, cover a cardboard shoe box in paper as well as the lid. Cut a slit in the top. Stop casual snoopers by keeping the slit relatively small and inserting a small lock through small holes cut on each of the four sides that correspond to holes on the top. Naturally, if someone cuts the box open, they can still get at the contents, but that requires more determination than general curiosity and snooping.
Antonia Sorin started writing in 2004. She is an independent writer, filmmaker and motion graphics designer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. She has completed work for the Long Leaf Opera Company, the former Exploris Museum and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She graduated from Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey with a Bachelor of Arts in communications.