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A Case Study of Crowdsourcing Gone Wrong.

For those who believe in the promise of open innovation, the 2009 startup Quirky was an exceptionally exciting company. Founded by entrepreneur Ben Kaufman, Quirky developed a platform that connected the company with outside inventors and project contributors. Within a few years, the company built a community of over a million members, commercialized over 100 products, and raised over $180 million in venture capital funding.  Yet, in September 2015, Quirky went bankrupt.

As proponents of open innovation, we have examined Quirky’s initial failure in great detail (the company relaunched earlier this year). We have interviewed Quirky executives and studied each of the company’s product offerings, publicly available product reviews, and their development process. Far from indicating that using external talent for R&D is a doomed business ploy, our autopsy revealed four major lessons from Quirky’s downfall that can help companies harness the power of successful open innovation and avoid its very real pitfalls.

Read more.

Getting back in to the swing of things here at the MakerBiz newsroom here 🙂 It’s a challenge to write about MakerBiz and also successfully run a MakerBiz at the same time, so when you don’t get a daily mail’ know it’s because we’re 100% focused on the people at Adafruit, our customers and our community. We have tons of news and thoughts we will share, but not at the expense of taking away focus from our cause and business.

So anyhoo, here is today’s email! “A Case Study of Crowdsourcing Gone Wrong” by Sebastian K. Fixson and Tucker J. Marion Harvard Business Review.

A crowdfund’ is the not the product, the product is what you ship to a customer, people are getting confused and they think they’re just making a slick video and promise for a product, not actually making a product. Don’t confuse the process of doing a Crowdfund’ with what you must do, ship.

“The lesson here is that open innovation – especially with a wide-open call to a large consumer community – can quickly bring a company up to speed in a wide variety of product categories. This can be important to those firms seeking to enter into new markets, where they do not currently have a presence. But this approach does not necessarily lead to breakthrough ideas.”

A very quick dissection of Quirky’s spectacular undoing, and an interesting inroad to exploring the possible outcomes of leveraging a community vs. supporting it.

I still have not got my Blackest black Kickstarter, but I got a whole bunch of emails with videos TALKING about it and the PROCESS. I want my shirt, not another video.

Tom and John and helping me out with these newsletters too, give them a warm welcome when you see them -pt