Do you have an innovative product idea you’d like to test out, but lack the funds to make it a reality? Do you want input on your new product ideas from other entrepreneurs and innovators? Or, would you like to tap into the brainpower of innovators to help take your product to the next level?
You can do all of this by using the power of the crowd. Crowdsourcing can help you develop marketable ideas. Two websites tap experts and community to give you feedback on the viability of your product. And they can help you bring it to market.
GeniusCrowds promotes itself as a way to get great ideas “out of your head, and onto the shelf.” Simply submit your ideas for new products to this crowdsourcing website. It’s free to join. Members of the GeniusCrowds community vote on their favorite ideas and offer comments and feedback.
Ideas are not just reviewed by members, but also by a panel of experts. Retailers, manufacturers and GeniusCrowds staff help determine which ideas are marketable enough to be manufactured. If your idea is chosen, GeniusCrowds licenses it to a network of manufacturers and retailers, and you earn 25 percent of the royalties from the sale.
GeniusCrowds helps focus the discussion by selecting a topic to concentrate on each month. For instance, when I visited the site recently, the topic was playthings (toys, games and other children’s products). Prior topics included wheels (anything automotive) and office.
This site offers a great way to get your feet wet in the world of inventing and to test new product ideas with an audience of consumers and other innovators.
Quirky works similarly to GeniusCrowds. You can join the community for free, where you can vote and comment on others’ ideas. To submit your own idea for the community to vote on costs $10 for each idea.
The top ideas selected by the community are evaluated by the staff, which analyzes their design potential, marketing potential and viability. The product with the highest score is manufactured and sold through Quirky's network of retail partners, which includes Bed, Bath & Beyond, ToysRUs, Amazon, HSN and many other big names.
As you might imagine from this partner list, the site’s focus is on consumer products. Quirky brings two new products to market each week. The inventors earn 35 percent of the royalties on the sales.
In the worst-case scenario, as Quirky points out, if your idea isn’t selected, you still get detailed analytics on who liked and didn't like your idea, extensive community feedback and valuable market-research data that can help you fine-tune your idea for resubmission—or for manufacturing and distributing on your own.
All of that for $10? Sounds like a fine idea to me.