A Crowdsourcing Community for Inventors AND Influencers!

By Yaser
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You walk into your bathroom early morning; half awake and BOOM…your foot hits the bathroom scale! Your toe is red and you think angrily, I wish there was a way to fold away this stupid scale! You then go on with your business, and off to the rest of your day, forgetting about this idea that might have been your missed million dollar opportunity.

How many times have we had those very brief and passing thoughts that usually start with “I wish that item ABC could do XYZ…life would be much easier”? But we never give too much thought to them because most of us think that our ideas have no market value. This is exactly what the social media site quirky.com is all about.

I stumbled upon this amazing website when someone on my Twitter account was advertising for his “invention” through quirky.com. So I curiously right-clicked, opened a new tab, and started reading what Quirky is all about. To my amazement, I found an incredible community!

Quirky is a group of “Inventors” that have such “I wish…” thoughts for little gadgets.  They suggest their ideas to a mass audience called “Influencers” whom, with the help of the site’s administrators, guide the invention process and refine it through different stages until it is ready to be produced and sold.

At this final stage, a minimum number of products have to be pre-ordered to justify the mass production, after which the “Inventor” gets about 30 percent of the sales, quirky.com takes another 30 percent for their investment in design time (quite significant, about $100,000 for some products), and the rest is divided amongst all the “Influencers” that helped make it happen.

So, I quickly registered using Facebook (how convenient!) and started influencing product ideas  that I thought would be useful. To be frank with you, after helping with a few products, I found that the monetary gain is not that attractive.  It’s the thought and feeling of having successfully influenced a product until production that seem the most gratifying. And therein lies the power of this digital community!

dassault systèmes, dassaul, 3DS, DS, PLM, PLM 2.0, PDM, CAD, simulation, digital manufacturing, design, engineering, BOM, local requirements, regulations, collaboration, co-create, crowdsourcing, supply chain, product creation, innovation

What I really love about this company is its openness. The owner and his team are in direct relation with their members and are honest and straight forward with everyone. Everyone has tons of fun suggesting and influencing products, and comments are accepted as constructive criticism that allow for great products to emerge.

Now, how is intellectual property managed? I won’t go in details but the site is also very clear about that as well, and stipulates that the entire idea becomes Quirky’s property (unless there are patents of course).  Quirky is free to leverage the idea as it wills, always rewarding the inventor and influencers of course. This is the perfect example of an efficient crowdsourcing process.

This seems to work for smaller gadgets now, but could this basic and instinctive process be the next PLM standardized evolution?

Next time you start a thought with “I wish…” try to take note of it, you never know, it might be the next big thing!

Regards,

Yaser

Design School Miniseries Final Article: Playing Spiderman

By Charles
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building spiderman spider man jumping climbing soliworks 3DS dassault systèmes systemes systems catia enovia simulia 3Dvia delmia 3D modeling PLM 2.0 CAD simulation digital manufacturing design engineering regulations collaboration co-create product creation innovation

I’ve dedicated this final episode to another project from one of The Nantes Atlantiques School of Design’s students. This blog post is for the forever-young…

For those of you who have always dreamt of being a super hero, flying with Superman, fighting with Batman and climbing buildings with Spiderman, YES, IT IS POSSIBLE!

The Spider Hero project has turned fantasy into reality for the forever-young whom have always wanted to have the same powers as Marvel’s SpiderMan. Flying over the city, jumping from one building to another, or staying still to contemplate the city from the sky… sounds exciting right?

The concept is that Spider Hero enables visitors to ricochet from one building to another on a cobweb in a virtual city.   It reproduces visuals and sound effects for more intense sensations and immersion.

This Virtual Reality application is based on a system using unexpected and unusual tools: a vacuum cleaner, a rubber tube, a servomotor, a WiiMote, a thread and a WiiBoard.

The user stands on the WiiBoard, which is equipped with movement sensors. He wears a glove connected to a rubber tube with a thread. Using a system that exerts a pulling force, he targets buildings or moves in closer until he almost collides with them, feeling the wind blowing around him. Just like SpiderMan…

The thread that the user holds stretches out to recreate the sensation of movement.

This project was presented during the Laval Virtual conference. Spider Hero was also worked on in collaboration with students from the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST).

I think these students are genius.  Would you like this kind of VR game?

Best,

Charles

PS: Here are the previous posts of the miniseries:

#1: Immersive Rail Shooter

#2: Interaction Design Degree

Five Questions for Jeff Ray

By Kate
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jeff ray soliworks 3DS dassault systèmes systemes systems catia enovia simulia 3Dvia delmia 3D modeling PLM 2.0 CAD simulation digital manufacturing design engineering regulations collaboration co-create product creation innovation

Former SolidWorks CEO Jeff Ray moved to Paris in January and began his Dassault Systèmes job as EVP of geographic operations.  Recently I chatted with Jeff to see how everything’s going and learn more about his plans.

Welcome to France! It would be great to know what have you been up to for the last 60 days and how are you finding Paris so far?

Personally and professionally it has been an exciting adventure. At first I was looking for an apartment for my wife and dog, sending videos and pictures to her. She trusted me and fortunately we found an apartment that we love. We moved in early February and have been getting settled. At 3DS, it has been exciting getting to know the people on the campus and jumping into great projects. Everybody has been incredibly helpful and patient with me. I appreciate their tolerance for my abuse of the French language!

I know that you are still settling in and it’s the early days, but what do you think is the most important work that you are going to be doing regarding our existing customer base?

When I am successful in this job, it will be in a way that I don’t think that it should be in your face or something that everybody should notice. It should be subtle for our customers. The internal changes may be significant, but customer impressions shouldn’t be.

First, it is all about speed and growth. Our customers are impatient with us – they want and like our products and technologies, but sometimes find us difficult to work with. Our customers are challenged to find the right solutions to solve their problems. We have great people trying to help, but old habits and ways of doing things can get in the way. The geo leaders are committed to helping remove barriers and shortening the time it takes for our customers to realize the benefits of our products.

It’s about stretching ourselves. I have no doubt that we will achieve the goals we have set for this year; my obsession is on growing at rates beyond our business targets. We are an awesome $2 B software company – not many can claim that. But, why aren’t we a $5 B company?  I hear from our employees that our opportunities go way beyond what we see today.

It is a fact that, with more and more people comfortable living in a digital world, big decisions are being made with the help of rich digital content, and in our case, rich, lifelike 3D content. We can  be the preeminent provider of the technology, tools and the resulting content to do that.

As we look at new industries and types of customers, what for you are the top of the list of things to do?

For customers we don’t work with already, we first need intimate knowledge of the industries they work in and their needs. Real precision; hard facts. This goes beyond simple market research. Great companies give customers what they need, not what they want. That is hard to do!

I’ll give you an example of hard research leading to a new way to reach a wider audience – DraftSight, which is a profoundly different model of how we have brought a product or technology to market before.  All driven by social media and word of mouth. The entire  marketing team for DraftSight is one person, but through innovative use of technologies that make it easy for happy users to share their experience with one another we have downloaded over 500 000 copies of the product in under nine months.

What is really interesting is that the majority of DraftSight users were not Dassault Systemes customers.  We have to have an appreciation for that market. What if we had used our traditional methods for developing, marketing, and distributing DraftSight?

The message here is not that we are doing things wrong. Indeed, we are world class for the things we have traditionally delivered. This is all about being uncomfortable with the status quo.  DraftSight is a good example that demonstrates that we can change this approach successfully.

We need to understand markets, the feelings of the people we are trying to reach and communicate with them in the way that they want. This can be very different to what we have done in the past. We will work on this. For those of you with bold new ideas – we want to hear from you!

3DS campus

Are there any surprises about DS since you moved – living and working here – despite knowing the company and players well already?

The only surprise is being able to get to know more and more people and see so much brilliance. There are so many ideas waiting to come out.  I am impatient to work out how to turn these ideas into actions. It is a company very rich in ideas, staggering technology, and new ways of thinking. Our challenge is to turn these in to action.

Do you have a specific message that you would like to share with Dassault Systèmes’ customers?

I am thinking about a customer I visited a couple of weeks ago, where I had a fascinating discussion. It was about sharing ideas of how they could fundamentally change the way they create products and introduce them to the market. We discussed things they had never thought about before. This made it fascinating and it was not about the technology. And it was not a manufacturer.

If I want to say anything to a customer or prospect it would be to open up and tell us  what is standing in the way of your success. Trust us to take you down new paths you have never explored.  Challenge us; we will deliver!

One thing I learned at SolidWorks and now see with every user of Dassault Systèmes products is what I call the ‘emotional paycheck’. It isn’t the technology that excites us, but watching what our customers do with our products to improve business and introduce great new products. In most cases these improve lives. In some cases, they save lives. That’s an emotional paycheck and very exciting. We are so fortunate to be given the chance to participate in this journey!

Many thanks Jeff!  Or shall I now call you Geoff?  ;-)

Best,

Kate



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