Joe gave some great advice in his series of posts on how to gather and apply useful product feedback. Quirky, a “social product development start-up” that builds and sells consumer products takes it a step further. The company uses crowdsourcing to determine first which products get designed and then which products get manufactured. A recent post on Mashable describes the process:
The community votes on which ones they want to develop and then adds its input on things such as product aesthetics, design, logo, and even its name. The best ideas are then taken by Quirky’s team of engineers and designers and turned into 3D renderings.
The next step is the most important one: the product is then placed on pre-sale, where anyone can buy the product. However, Quirky will only sell something if it hits a minimum number of sale commitments (usually under a thousand). Once that number is reached, the product is made and person who submitted the original idea gets a piece of the revenue pie.
All it takes is $99 to submit a product idea to the Quirky community. If you have a killer product idea (and who doesn’t!)–and the “go it alone” approach isn’t for you–Quirky might be worth a look. (And if you feel like shopping for some interesting products–modular spatula system or iPod nano kickstand, anyone?–Quirky is definitely worth a look!)