Whenever Gary Rose shops at Target with his daughter he walks through the kitchen tool department just a little bit slower. Soon enough, his young daughter points out her father's invention on the shelf, and erupts with pride and excitement. This is Rose's biggest payoff on his journey from idea to invention.
It will be quite a few years before Rose's little girl can enjoy using her dad's product, which may be the biggest thing to hit the wine industry since the sniff test. Rose invented the brilliantly simple kitchen tool Tether, which allows wine glasses to be cleaned in the dishwasher without them breaking. Rose had help with his invention from more than 700 other collaborators from around the world. How is such an achievement possible? Only through a product development platform known as Quirky.
When most people think of innovation, they think of the lone tinkerer in the garage or the best-of-breed scientific teams at companies like 3M and Proctor & Gamble. The Quirky platform utilizes a new process of innovation, known in academia as 'Open Innovation' to develop products and quickly bring them to market by combining a social network that cultivates innovative ideas with a cutting-edge product development team. Open innovation is a new approach that opens up an idea for the public to innovate, invent, price the product, and even perform market research. Quirky does all these things with the goal in mind of making it possible for ideas from people all over the world to show up on retail shelves.
The Quirky process goes something like this:
1) A user submits an idea for review and modification by a community of more than 210,000 other innovators.
2) Upon receiving a critical number of votes, it is then analyzed by the Quirky product development team.
3) If the Quirky team decides the product is viable, then full product development begins.
4) The product is then sold through the Quirky Website as well as retail shelves in stores like Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond.
5) Royalties are paid out to all users who had influence on the final product according to the weight of their influence (The original idea-maker keeps the lion's share of the profits).
Innovative minds are already reaping the rewards from the opportunities that Quirky presents. Jake Zien, the inventor behind Pivot Power, a flexible power strip, was mostly driven by the community's positive reaction to his idea, "I was thrilled I wasn't the only guy with this problem!"
Angelo Cacchione, the inventor behind Verseur, a multifunctional wine opener, got his inspiration from watching McGuyver as a child. Cacchione values the relationships forged with other brilliant minds in the Quirky community as well as seeing his influence on products unfold.
Rose suggests that users submit their ideas early in the week, when the energy is high, for the best chance of success.
"There is always a problem to solve, and this is the most important part," Rose says.
Quirky founder Ben Kaufman has a grand vision for the future, envisioning it as the Proctor & Gamble of the 21st Century and adding that he sees Quirky making it possible for ideas from people all over the world to show up on retail shelves.
Think you have an innovative idea that solves a problem? Go to Quirky and create the solution!