28 November 2006
Crowdsourcing for consumer products - Web 2.0 hits manufacturing?
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Today sees the launch of the first public beta of the CrowdSpirit site, an international venture based in Scotland (Edinburgh) and France (Paris and Grenoble), which couples the power of crowds and the collaboration of Web 2.0 to reinvent the supply chain and product development cycle.
CrowdSpirit has been created to resolve the problem of popular consumer products taking too long to reach the market place, not always being in tune with the public's needs and being unduly held up trying to find a route to market. Even The Beatles, JK Rowling and the inventor of the wind up radio all had significant problems setting up a supply chain to get their market leading products in front of an adoring public. It is not in the inventor's or the public's interest for it to be so difficult.
CrowdSpirit believes that the general public and not commercial interests are the best advisers on novel product creation and are targeting the field of electronic products to turn their revolutionary manufacturing vision into reality.
A joint venture between veterans of the IT and electronics business in the UK and France and Grenoble EM, CrowdSpirit is harnessing the "power of crowds" to allow inventors and adapters of technology to take their products to market via a collaborative distribution channel which overcomes many of the difficulties that inventors have faced in the past. Furthermore this distribution channel provides opportunities for inventors, developers, distributors and manufacturers to contribute at different stages to enable the supply chain.
This is Crowdsourcing taken to the marketplace and has been hailed by Marc Benioff, CEO of salesforce.com, as "The next wave". Analysts believe the concept of product creation by companies that dynamically build the supply chain could be set to change the world of business. Sometimes labelled as 'prosumerism', Web 2.0 allows it to happen.
Web 2.0 has seen a massive generation of on-line content from blogs and video challenging traditional media companies. With the recent YouTube sale and the rapid movement of TV companies putting content on-line, Web 2.0 has only just begun. The media is, however, just one consumer space. CrowdSpirit is targeting the electronics sector initially and other sectors could follow as the Web 2.0 revolution extends outwards from on-line content through one consumer market after another.
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