Crowdsourcing Invention Ideas
Quirky is a new type of socially developed product company founded with the vision of making invention accessible. Quirky helps design, develop, and manufacturer new products submitted by a community of inventors.
Each week, the New York City-based company receives thousands invention ideas from its community of some 500,000 (and counting) users. Hundreds of users vote on it, and the most up-voted ideas rise to the top of the pile. Every Thursday, the company gathers a group of industry experts, friends, and community members at its Headquarters in New York. People can watch live as they debate the best ideas that have been submitted. in the end they choose the next products that Quirky’s engineers will begin working on.
Quirky now launches three products each week, each of which is voted on by the community and prototyped the company’s New York headquarters. Those products are sold in 30,000 retail stores including, the MoMA design store, Target, Home Depot, and Best Buy.
Six months ago, Quirky announced a partnership with General Electric to develop smart home products. The partnership opened up GE’s patents and technologies to Quirky’s product development, giving the latter the capacity to scale its capabilities.
According to Josh Dean from Inc. Magazine
This is what crowdsourcing looks like when it really works. It works because instead of asking for money or labor, Quirky is asking people to share their dreams and giving them real incentives to participate. It turns out people don’t just want to make apps; they want to make things; and by recognizing this, Ben Kaufman has built a $50 million business, attracted $97 million in investment, and established a productive partnership with a giant of American industry. For these reasons and others, Quirky might be the most important innovation engine in business today.