Have an idea for an innovative product sitting around in your head, but never have the time or the wherewithal to kick any kind of serious effort into high (or even low) gear? If so, here’s a Web site to check out. Quirky.com, which is being billed as a social network for product development, is trying to become the launching pad for the best ideas among those countless product doodles tucked away in pockets, drawers and notebooks.
Founded by a 22-year, serial entrepreneur Ben Kaufman, Quirky lets anyone submit their product idea for $99 and then the community of users vote, rate and influence those ideas. After a seven-day evaluation period, the Quirky community chooses one of the products as the idea of the week and the social networking spin on the collaborative product development process begins.
The chosen product is put on the Quirky Web site where “influencers” can vote and contribute to all aspects of product’s development, from ideation, design, naming, manufacturing, even marketing and sales. Once the product is completed, it’s pre-sold at the Quirky online store and when (and if) it meets a threshold, it then moves on to production and delivery. The original idea owner and the “influencers” get a cut of the sales. Quirky says even those idea owners who don’t get chosen walk away with valuable research and analytics about their product to help them if they choose to move forward and build the product on their own.