Ever have that frustrating feeling of knowing exactly what you want and not being able to buy it?It used to be that consumers were more-or-less powerless. We had to take what products were offered to us. For practical reasons, manufacturers couldn’t ask everybody in the world their opinion before they set course and started building.
But, thanks to the Internet, today they can ask the world.
This has lead to a revolution in manufacturing and design. No longer do companies have to built it and see who’ll buy it.
It takes a certain amount of chutzpah for a company to abandon the we-know-best mentality and give design power over to the crowd. But the results can be awesome.
Here’s a look at some of the cool products, services and ideas that have already came into the world this way:
1. The Fiat Mio: the world’s first crowdsourced car. In 2009, Fiat Brazil asked people to help design their next car. More than 11,000 ideas were submitted over Twitter and Facebook from 120 countries. By 2010, the Mio concept car was born. It has since won numerous car show awards and gained Fiat national recognition in car design.
2. Razer’s “Razer Edge” Windows 8 gaming tablet built by 10,000 gamers. At CES, Razer announced that it was sending its crowdsourced Project Fiona PC gaming tablet into production to be sold at retail outlets later this year. The tablet was designed by gamers asking them to Tweet or post to Facebook what specs they wanted. Some 10,000 people participated deciding the end-game chipset, weight/thickness, features and even price for the Edge.
3. V-Moda Crossfade M-100 headphones, built by 200 artists and voted on by 10,000 music lovers. V-Moda worked with over 200 audiophiles, editors, artists, DJs and Grammy-winning musicians to create these headphones. And it became a big topic of discussion, generating 10,000 posts and 700 pages on the world’s largest headphone site, Head-Fi, reports Androidspin.com.
4. Delicious ice cream made from fair trade ingredients. In 2009, Ben & Jerry’s conducted a worldwide search for new flavours by asking people to jump onto its “online flavour lab, whip together the ice cream of your dreams and give it an appropriately appealing name.” It promised to buy all ingredients from Fair Trade certified suppliers. The winner was the flavour “Fairly Nuts,” caramel ice cream with praline almond clusters and caramel swirls.
Photo: Ben & Jerry’s
5. Making TV advertisements more fun. Pepsi’s first-ever crowd-sourced Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show introduction, which used photos sent in to Pepsi from 500 real Pepsi and Beyonce fans.
6. Turning scientific research into a video game. A University of Washington online game that is really a fun way to crowdsourced their research. With Foldit players solve puzzles for points. Those puzzles are really science problems. It lead to a breakthrough for a a new anti-aids drug.
Photo: UW centre for Game Science
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