Crowdsourcing innovation – 5 platforms that are getting it right

So, I’ve been sort of hooked on the notion of crowdsourcing innovation for a while now. Thought I’d share a list of 5 companies that have succeeded in building awesome platforms for social collaboration and sharing. First out on my list is Quirky:

Quirky were the first movers in this game, and have found a great business model to go with it (they got a whopping $68 million in venture cap in September this year). Being a big Quirky fan since way back, I was happy to have the chance to pop by their HQ in NYC in February when they hosted an “open eval(-uation) session” at their Chelsea office (I wrote a long post about my visit here). Why is Quirky awesome? They’ve created a transparent product development model that have encouraged a community of 252000 pro and amateur inventors to connect through their online platform. The ideas submitted go through various phases of testing, and so far 222 products have reached the market in association with Quirkys 188 retail partners (go here to submit your own idea).

Another very awesome example is Instructables (although I’m feeling they’ve lost some edge recently). Although they’ve managed to source a lot of awesomeness from the maker community, they’re flawed in having no proper incentive or rewards in place to encourage the community to keep on sharing.

Thingiverse and Shapeways are both great examples of the sharing open source ethos, here’s an awesome clip from Shapeways:

Lastly I want to give a big heads up to the OpenIDEO platform which I think is pioneering the world of crowdsourced social innovation. OpenIDEO is the brainchild of IDEO, and attempts to match problems (stated as challenges by various companies and organizations) with anyone and everyone up to the problem solving challenge. Whereas Quirky is about the products, OpenIDEO is about the concepts. Partipation is rewarded through the DQ (Design Quotidient) score. If I had more time on my hands I could easily spend it on OpenIDEO. I’d actually rather spend 2 hours on there instead of going to the cinema, and if that’s not awesome platform design I don’t know what is.


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