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Crowd Sourcing April 12, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in innovation process, service design, social computing, Uncategorized.
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I was invited at the Tchibo Ideentag (Days of Ideas) to give a keynote. The aim of this event was to promote the Tchibo crowd sourcing platform called Tchibo Ideas.

This event was organized by the Tchibo Ideas team and by a spin-off by the d-school called Tiefenschärfe.

It was a nice event, but more interesting for me is the concept of crowd sourcing:

Tchibo Ideas is a very ambitious project, trying to achive two things:
1. a direct communication with the customers of Tchibo
2. using the community to design new products

(For my non-German readers: Tchibo is a coffee-retail-company with lots of shops all over Germany. Besides selling coffee they have each week a product theme with a whole range of products – this week under the topic “In love with my garden“. The products are mainly available during the week and after 4 weeks they completely disappear.  The whole concept is built on impuls buying and on quite good deals.)

As the main audience of Tchibo are ladies over 45, it is kind of hard to establish a two-way communication.

From the point of view of communication the platform seems to work. My feeling was that mostly the retired or bored husbands of these ladies are involved. I met one guy who invented a child-proof toilet brush, a engineer in his late 40s, not a “designer” at all…

This years winner for the best solution 2010 was Philipp Schaake, who invented Star, a self-powered children night light.

However, the Tchibo team is not happy with the crowd sourcing so far: they are hoping to address more young desigers. To make crowdsourcig more attractive, they have established a close online environment and a really fair scheme to collaborate with them.

As the target audience is kind of out of the scope for young designers, Tchibo started the “idea day” to attract young designers. One of the key note speakers, Werner Aisslinger, a well established Berlin-based product designer, said that he likes the concept of crowd sourcing, especially for young designers: it offers them a chance, which is hard to get in real life.

Compared to the crowd sourcing approach in the app-store by Apple I got the impression that the Tchibo approach is very fair. They are even helping the designers to finish their designs, they will return the licens after max. three years and they have a quite open decision process.

Let’s stay tuned: I am looking forward how this platform evolves!

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