Wednesday, 2 November 2011

"Quirky" Innovation

Image representing quirky as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBaseUp to this week, Jake Zien had earned nearly $36,000 in profit from his PowerCurl Apple Cord Wrap. For a $10 stake. Zien's is just one example of an idea bought to market through the unique 'Quirky' process.

I just love this approach to innovation, not just because it has come up with winning products, but the model itself is so innovative.  Initially developed with US retailer Bed, Bath and Beyond in mind, Quirky takes the best from Crowdsourcing, social networking and entrepreneurship.

Zien's $10 represents the standard submision fee. However 850 people had a say, and a stake, in the success of his product. 

The Quirky principle is fairly simple:
Submit an idea > the Community votes > influence the design > Quirky manufactures > everyone cashes in.

The community is 70,000 members strong, growing by 20 percent a month and includes fellow enthusiasts, hobbyists, professionals and students. Potential inventors submit their concepts online - they must retail for less than $150. Quirky has a large team of professional product engineers and others that can make the ideas that make it through the process a reality, and fast. Amongst it's toolkit, Quirky makes use of one of the largest 3D printers available.
Some of the smartest aspects are:

  • The community is involved in every stage of the process; voting for ideas, design, naming and logo.
  • Those whose improvements are accepted, get a financial stake in the product
  • The idea does not go into production until enough items are pre-sold
  • Risk, always a problem in bringing innovative products to market, is managed in a transparent way, at every stage, for all parties

To find out more about Quirky, read the article in Entrepreneur Magazine.
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