13 December 2006

Crowdsourcing product development

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What blogs, citizen journalism and YouTube have done for media, CrowdSpirit hopes to do for product development, reports Springwise.

“The Scottish-French venture’s focus is on harnessing the power of crowds to allow inventors and adaptors to take their products [currently mainly electronics] to market. By involving end-users in every aspect of a product’s life-cycle, CrowdSpirit aims to set off a crowdsourced manufacturing revolution.”

“How it works: inventors submit ideas for innovative new products and contributors submit problems for inventors to work on. Members vote, define a product’s specifications, and can invest money to finance development. After a first prototype has been created, selected members test and help fine-tune in cooperation with manufacturers. Once the stage of product development has been completed, contributors continue to be involved, for example by acting as a product’s ambassador and promoting it to retailers, or by providing product support, like translating instruction manuals.”

Springwise questions how customer-manufacturers will be rewarded for their efforts: “As trendwatching.com points out in its briefing about the customer-made trend (a.k.a. co-creation), “as co-creators get smarter and realise how much they’re worth, expect kick-backs for co-created goods and services to go up. If you don’t pay a fair share, talented members of the global brain will take their business elsewhere”.”

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(via David Carlson)

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