Missing link between Crowdfunding, Co-Innovation and Available Platforms

I am a big fan of innovation & technology and a regular visitor to crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, which are helping to materialize some of the coolest ideas into this world.
My visits to these innovation incubators were going fine until I got hit by this feeling which you all might have had sometime 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. I felt this "something missing" feeling after seeing these innovative projects that were great at an individual project/product level but they made me think, what if some of them were combined to make an awesome product?

Thus, being an amateur researcher, I tied to think about how the future of crowdfunded co-innovation could look like, wherein multiple teams would come together to build an idea into product.
Let me explain you what I mean by taking some product examples designed for "Human Well Being". I recently came across a very interesting product on Indiegogo called MOODBOX: The smart Speaker that makes you smile which uses "Emotional Intelligence" to enhance mood of humans with using the perfect mix of music & light. This product boasts of wireless speaker and voice controlled music along with use of AI techniques such as machine learning and mood recognition. This product is created by a team from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. To me it sounded like a great product enabling humans to achieve a better mood and emotional state and it also includes technology which 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 "Human Well Being" on kickstarter is called Sleepion - Stimulate the Senses to Induce Better Sleep. This product uses sound, light plus "aroma" to induce better sleep. I myself knowing the benefits and effectiveness of natural essential oils on general health started to think, how someone could design a good product for "Human Well Being" using light, sound, aroma, emotional intelligence etc. and what platforms could help them to achieve these? Not to forget there are already other devices such as Emotiv Insight available that could records brainwaves and translates them into meaningful data which could further help in "Personalized-Human Well Being" 

Thus, someone could design a product using Emotiv InsightMoodbox and a smart aromatic device such as pura scents (using essential oils rather than artificial fragrances) so as to provide a complete "Human Well Being" product. They could also include smart air pollution detection devices and other sensors (IoT) in this unit or rather design a "Human Well Being" ecosystem/platform.

Now, many of you would be thinking that it’s easier said than done and anybody could have thought of these ideas after seeing these crowdfunded products. Thus, the real questions would be,
  • How to envision these crowdfunded products before they are available?
  • 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?
  • How would they price the product and take their share?
  • Plus, are there any existing platforms that could help us to achieve this?
While thinking about these questions, I also thought about Hyperloop, which is a highly innovative transportation vision and this project involved various participation calls and open 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 e.g. in EU the Horizon 2020 project, but they have different scale and particularities than those of the crowdfunded projects.

What could possibly be done to facilitate crowdfunded co-innovation?
  • 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 (even new and unexperienced teams)
  • Use of crowdsourcing tools to gather user requirements on these domains (similar to software requirement) Ongoing Research
  • Get proposal submissions and create early product vision
  • Publishing the ideas on website for crowdfunding
  • Creating products and giving them to the early adopters
What could be the right motivation for this kind of co-innovation?
  • Create great products that really enhance the state of the art of technology and solve the existing problems to a greater extent 
  • Knowledge sharing and networking
  • Being a part of a community that helped to enhance the technology 
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."

P.S. -  Taken from my LinkedIn Post