Most talented inventors live and die without realizing that they are talented inventors, US start-up Quirky use this truism as its core business idea.
Customers with a business idea pay $10 to submit to the Quirky site and the site’s social media community decide the best idea. The company then makes the product, markets it and pays royalties to the inventor.
Quirky was itself invented by 25 year-old Ben Kaufman. The idea has wowed the tech investors so much that it’s received $91.3m in investment since its founding in 2009.
The site claims to make invention accessible and it’s using social media technology to achieve this. Quirky uses crowd sourcing to vote the best ideas in a weekly batch of submissions. The process they use is DMV, Design Market Viability. Each submission is tested in the process.
The winning ideas are then handed over to a design and engineering team that work in-house to see whether or not it can be brought to market. The professionals are also helped with input from the Quirky community and each contributor is compensated according to how much they influenced the success of a Quirky product.
The process ends with its launch on the site and testing with members of the public and if it reaches a sales threshold at that stage then it’s marketed with the company’s retail partners.
While Quirky uses a social media platform, it’s not primarily an IT
company most of the products it develops are simple household
conveniences that are non-technical, like the Mocubo chopping board, the
Broom Groomer and other items. And from such lowly beginnings did
corporations like IKEA begin.
Ideas like this that use social media technology but crucially create a diversity of products, are critical to an economy like Ireland’s where economic activity is limited to just two sectors ICT and Bio-tech, and much of that is driven by FDI.
If the local economy is to provide jobs, and any type of stability it needs to build this diversity in its indigenous industry. So instead of looking for the Irish Google, Ireland should be looking for its own Quirky that could be the generator of tomorrow’s more diversified corporate sector.