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The Invention Myth

When it comes to consumer products, fostering an invention is no walk in the park! I’ve been inspired to invent and design from an early age and have been confronted early on with many of the hurdles and roadblocks down that road.

Really? inventing is hard? – Nooo!

Yes, quite a bit harder than most people imagine apparently. But those days might essentially be over thanks to Ben Kaufman and his team.

Many people still hold this romantic notion that inventors come up with some idea in their living room, then make a product for… say, their kids, so everyone ends up wanting to buy one and… voila! A couple of years later, they’re on CNBC’s “How I Made My Millions” telling us about their good fortune from their exotic villa on millionaire’s row or their luxury yacht in the Bahamas.

As much as those stories exist and are greatly inspiring, the truth is that the vast majority of inventions fail. For every fairy tale, you have hundreds of stories of people who bet the bank, the house, their reputation, the kid’s college fund, the family dog and their marriage only to end up in utter failure, bitter disappointment or worse… ongoing lunacy. It’s often very sad to see such resourceful and inspired people get their dreams severely crushed over years and sometimes decades while they and their loved ones pay the price… both figuratively and quite literally!

The Quirky idea

Quirky.com is a social product development company powered by the community with 30 cents on the dollar going back to everyone who contributed! Genius!
Ok so?

Is that really a big deal though? Sounds cool and… quirky – pun intended – but maybe not exactly revolutionary. Or is it?

Even the very few inventors who come up with a brilliant product continue to face major hurdles. You actually need an extraordinary amount of resources throughout the process. Ideation is really only the tip of the Iceberg.

Design, R&D, prototyping, proof of concept, product testing, branding and packaging, cash flow, advertising, sales and distribution, copyright, patents; all of it can be an incredible money pit, and quite an ingrate one at that.

Good problems to have you’re thinking? Well, when you’re accomplished in business or can rely on a solid team, yes, absolutely. But many of these inventors aren’t and can’t so more still fail at that stage despite sometimes sitting on a winner invention.

quirky process

Social Product Development or the Quirky Revolution

Good problems to have you’re thinking? Well, when you’re accomplished in business or can rely on a solid team, yes, absolutely. But many of these inventors aren’t and can’t so more still fail at that stage despite sometimes sitting on a winner invention.

Quirky allows you to put your idea in the hat and compete for attention. If it gets picked out, it will be refined, designed, tested, priced and branded by the community and a team of industry professionals that might need no more than a month from ideation to market. The speed of the process is in itself a huge advantage. If there is such a thing as a first to market advantage, well, this is certainly it. And all you have left to do is essentially collect your royalty checks. Pretty neat huh? Plus you get to contribute to any other idea you feel like!

As much as all of that is very nifty, very smart and quite cool, I think the genius of @Quirky lies into the brilliant concept of designed by the people for the people. If people make it because they want it, chances are they will buy it. That is starting to sound much more like a market research revolution to me. It’s truly crowd-sourcing at its best! I think the social implications on this one are much deeper than anticipated… What do you think?

Here are some of my favorite Quirky products:
Quirky Favorites

Here’s a list of cool blogs on innovation and social innovation:
www.innovationexcellence.com/blog/
www.venture2.typepad.com/innovationnet/
www.virgin.com/richard-branson/blog
www.heathbrothers.com/blog/
www.theinnovationdiaries.com/

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