Missing link between Crowdfunding, Co-Innovation and Available Platforms

Crowdfunding & Co-Innovation: the Missing Link

Personally, I am a great admirer of Technology & Innovation from a small group of people. Thus, I regularly visit some crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo. These sites provide a platform to various people around the globe assisting them to materialize some of their coolest ideas. Overall, my visits to these innovation incubators were going fine until I got hit by this feeling, which you all might have had some time in your past, it’s that feeling when you know something is good the way it is but, you are sure that it could be much better.

Moreover, this "something missing" feeling came after seeing these innovative projects that were doing great at an individual project/product level, but could much bigger when combined together. Being an amateur researcher, I thought about the possibility of a crowdfunded co-innovation ecosystem, wherein multiple teams would come together to build an idea into a product.

Motivating Example

Let me motivate my point this through an example in the area of "Human Well Being". For instance,  the MOODBOX project on Indiegogo. The idea is straightforward, a smart speaker that uses "Emotional Intelligence" to enhance the mood (quality) of humans. It uses a perfect mix of music & lighting for the same. This product is created by a team from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology boasts of wireless speaker and voice controlled music along with use of AI techniques such as machine learning and mood recognition.

Again personally, this product is motivated to achieve a better mood and emotional state using some technology that could be seen in other devices (for Human Well Being) such as Philips wakeup light. (I have not used any of these products first hand yet!). Similarly, another product on Kickstarter called Sleepion (Stimulate the Senses to Induce Better Sleep), uses sound, light plus "aroma" to induce better sleep.

Being a user of natural essential oils, I started to wonder how someone could design a product for "Human Well Being" using all the components, i.e., light, sound, aroma, emotional intelligence. Plus, what platforms could help them to achieve these? Not to forget, there are already other devices such as Emotiv Insight, which could records brainwaves and translates them into meaningful data, to support "Personalized-Human Well Being".

Thus, a product can be created using Emotiv Insight, Moodbox and a smart aromatic device such as pura scents (but using essential oils), to provide a whole "Human Well Being" product. This could smart air pollution detection devices and other sensors (IoT). In other words, a "Human Well Being" ecosystem/platform.

Relevant Questions

Now, this motivating example may seem quite intuitive, but there are several questions to be answered (the devil is in the detail) such aswould be:
  • How to motivate and bring all the different teams to co-invent together from different locations of the world?
  • How would they partnership and manage their contributions (Intellectual Property problems)?
  • How would they price the product and take their share?

Relevant Solutions

  • Are there any existing platforms that could help us to achieve this? For a start, an open platform (evolution of Kickstarter or Indiegogo) that would help in creating topics and sub-categories such as "Human Well Being"
  • Project proposal calls for teams with prior product experience in these domain (including the new and inexperienced teams)
  • Use of crowdsourcing tools to gather user requirements on these domains (similar to software requirement
  • Creating beta or alpha products and giving them to some experts (and early adopters)


  • Create some great products, which enhance the state-of-the-art and solve the existing problems to a greater extent
  • Building a community that helped enhancement of the technology for a cause greater than just building a single product
During this research, I also came across Hyperloop.  It is a highly innovative transportation vision  involving various participants (through open calls and competition) to give shape to the idea of Hyperloop. It’s a good example of open-innovation and a platform to bring teams together but it is not crowdfunded (as far as I know).  Also, there are various research and innovation projects funded at various level, for instance, in EU the Horizon 2020 project, but they have a different scale and particularities than those of the crowdfunded projects.

This leads to an interesting question:
  • What could possibly be done in these projects (like H2020) to facilitate crowdfunded co-innovation?
  • What could be the right motivation for this kind of co-innovation?

The End...

I will end this post by quoting two great innovators and their thoughts:
  1. Elon Musk on Opening up Tesla patents: "If we're all in a ship together, and the ship has some holes in it, and we're sort of bailing water out of it, and we have a great design for a bucket, then even if we're bailing out way better than everyone else, we should probably still share the bucket design."
  2. Richard Branson, In it together, "Life doesn’t have to be a game where some lose so that others can win. Everybody stands to gain if we work together."
(Updated: May 2016 and April 2018)