While zoning out in math class one day, Quirky founder Ben Kaufman had an idea for a headphone design that would hide his earbud wires and allow him to listen to music in lecture completely undetected. This idea spawned an even bigger idea: Great inventions can come from anyone. Kaufman launched Quirky in 2009, a startup that takes user-submitted designs for new inventions and brings the most popular ideas to life with the help of in-house product designers and an online community.
A great idea can come from anywhere. But inventing something is a tough business—issues with financing, engineering, manufacturing, distribution, and the law that can throw up roadblocks. Quirky aims to break down these barriers to ensure that great inventions see the light of day. Users submit their product ideas to Quirky for a ten dollar fee. An online community then votes on the ideas, and after a seven-day evaluation period, one product from the pool of submitted ideas is chosen. If it’s a hit, the company shares revenue with the amateur inventors.
By bringing together an in-house product design staff and an engaged community, Quirky brings two new consumer products to market every single week.
The Pivot Power, a flexible power strip designed by a Rhode Island School of Design student, accommodates bulk adapters easily. The Stake is a three-in-one barbeque tool that combines tongs, spatula, and a fork.