Innovation That Matters

Crowdsourcing product improvements

Fashion & Beauty

It’s a rare product that can’t benefit from at least a little bit of improvement, and many leave room for lots more than that. RedesignMe is a Dutch site that is putting crowdsourcing to work to refine and revise product designs of mass-produced consumer goods. Consumers frustrated by mobile phones, coffee machines, or products of virtually any type can submit a photo or video of the product along with a description of what they think needs redesigning. One user, for example, complains about excessively sensitive buttons on his cell phone that frequently get pressed by accident; another describes an alarm clock that won’t go off. Other users on the site can then submit suggestions for redesigning the product in question, with the option of using an online design tool to annotate pictures with post-it notes, text balloons and arrows. Users can rate each other’s submissions and add comments, and prizes are awarded each month. After a beta period beginning in late July, RedesignMe just officially launched a few weeks ago, with the goal of “promoting simplicity in product design” and giving “a signal to the industry.” About 60 problem products have been submitted so far, and more than 30 have been redesigned. The site’s developers are now looking for design schools, investors and entrepreneurs to partner with. RedesignMe’s site could use some refinement itself—navigation can be tricky—and it’s not yet entirely clear how ideas generated there will translate into actual products on the market. But if the site continues to gain traction, smart consumer products companies and inventors will start paying attention, and maybe even start sponsoring it. After all, who needs expensive market research when consumers are right there, showing you what they want? And the obvious opportunity for entrepreneurs in other parts of the world is to set up their own versions of RedesignMe, focusing on products (and services!) sold locally. Spotted by: Sheila Wigman



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