I like the idea of using your influence to contribute to and create new ideas and products. New York based start-up Quirky allows you to submit an idea, have it reviewed and evaluated by the community, and based on their feedback, either refine and redesign the product, or take it forward into production.
The web site also encourages social sales in addition to direct sales. Users are more likely to purchase a product where they’ve influenced product design or manufacture either directly or indirectly.
There are some great ideas on the site already too – like this cord grabber to stop your cables falling off the desk. There are related products to buy too.
Will this new way of product design evolve using social collaboration? Internally, it would certainly get round the interminable product review meetings that companies have. Meetings where half the team are pushing for their component to be included in the mix and the other half processing their email and not contributing to the meeting.
Perhaps your design could fall victim to the Wikipedia model, where any changes are instantly reverted by the page owner and new ideas are drowned in a sea of conformity.
Or are we poised to change the whole way that products are created – and allow innovation to lead the way?
Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.