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September 29, 2009

Unleashing the Inventor in You: Sites That Want to Help You Make Your Idea a Reality

A few weeks ago lots of members at IGC were buzzing about
Quirky after it was covered in a NYTimes piece. Aside from how interesting the business model was, we were all excited by the fact that Quirky helps to ensure that really cool and useful ideas can get to market regardless of the “inventor’s” manufacturing experience or business savvy – because in Quirky’s model they handle all the manufacturing and distribution details after a “crowd” helps them select which product to make.

Quirky joins the company of a few other businesses on the hunt for regular people with innovative ideas.

Some of you may be familiar with a PBS-produced show called Everyday Edisons that documents the idea-to-shelf process of 12 ideas a season. (I was told about it by the show’s graphic designer Juan Miguel Marin.) A natural extension of this initiative was Edison Nation, which seeks to match specific company needs with the best idea or innovation. Those registered on the site can submit ideas to specific company requests – sort of like the RFP process.

I also recently read about Ponoko in the most recent issue of Inc Magazine, not online yet but shown here (and well worth the read when you can find it – great article). Ponoko takes models like Cafepress and Zazzle one step further by actually allowing you to design and produce your own product (versus imprint an existing t-shirt with a cool slogan). Positioned as “the world’s easiest making system”, Ponoko will give you the resources that you need to get your idea produced.

While Ponoko seems to bridge the gap between the “customization” and “invention” spaces, it still points to an uptick in efforts enabling anyone and everyone to make their ideas a reality.

There are now so many businesses with this capability that there is a need for aggregation– namely Milk or Sugar, a directory for “all things customized” (found on Springwise).

With all these resources available it seems as though many of our “wouldn’t it be cool if…”questions can be answered.

1 comment:

Jon said...

I really enjoy the services that Ponoko provides... they allow me to sell my physical products with ease!

Jon @ WoodMarvels.com