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What’s Stopping You From Pursuing Your Idea?

By Gina Waldhorn, President of Quirky

I Asked a Room Full of Women: What’s Stopping You From Pursuing Your Idea?

Quirky launched #InventHer, an initiative dedicated to creating a more inclusive invention ecosystem. We started small, hosting a breakfast to have a conversation about the issue (women file only 8% of all patents in the US) as well as our program goals.

But rather than tell people what the initiative was going to do to, we wanted to hear from those on the frontlines of invention, and understand openly and honestly: What’s stopping you from inventing?

So, to a room full of women from across industries including media, marketing, technology, education, hospitality, and even Australian Rules Football, a room full of women with ideas, we asked:

What’s stopping you from pursuing your idea? What’s getting in the way of you taking that concept from out of your iNotes app and actually doing something with it?

Slowly, one woman stood up and shared her answer.

Followed by another, and then another, until the room was an outpouring of confessions. Here is a sample of what we heard:

“I don’t want to do it alone. I’d love a group of women, or a partner, to help me on this journey.”

“I just can’t get started. The first step seems impossible to take.”

“I need sincere feedback. No ass-kissing, is this a good idea or what?”

“It’s intimidating to think of all the skills I need across the spectrum of inventing.”

“Time. Work, kids, dogs, life. How can I find the time to invent?”

“Money. We know the stats, females don’t get funded.”

Do these answers feel familiar? They did to me, which I find both comforting and frustrating; comforting to know I’m not alone feeling like I’m the world’s worst confidence-lacking procrastinator who can’t seem to juggle it all, and frustrating to know that so many women like me are struggling with the same challenges that – let’s be honest – are not that hard to solve! We have a Mars rover people, come on!!

In fact, we solved one that very morning: not going at it alone. When that brave soul stood up and shared that she felt more comfortable creating surrounded by other women there was a collective nod throughout the room. And why wouldn’t there be? Inventing, founding, starting something is REALLY HARD. It’s even harder when it feels like “there’s no one else like me” going at it.

So for the next several months, we’ll be creating a program that solves some of these problems. Not all of them (not yet at least), but a handful that will help us push the needle just that much further to get more people who don’t see themselves as inventors to change that perspective.

  • We’re going to organize resources for funding and patenting.
  • We’re going to schedule group work sessions and skill-building workshops.
  • We’re going to tell you if your idea for hermit crab clothes might be absolute garbage.
  • We’ll even bring you a dog walker or babysitter if it means you’ll give that brilliant idea of yours the shot it deserves.

What stops you from inventing? What’s standing in your way? Tell me how you’d like to see #InventHer help create an invention ecosystem that makes you feel more confident in pursuing your ideas, and message me if you’d like to get involved with #InventHer.

Originally posted on Linkedin.

The Epic Showdown – Dogs vs. Toothbrushes

Toothbrushes are invading the mouths of dogs everywhere. Dogs aren’t having it and they’re doing anything and everything to fight back.

Video credit: CrazyFunnyStuffCFS

As funny and entertaining as it is to watch dogs dance, juke, bark, nip, play or anything else but get their teeth brushed, keeping your dog’s mouth clean is critical to their health and length of life.
Did you know?
80% of dogs have periodontal disease by 2.5 years old. If left untreated, it can lead to life threatening health problems including heart, liver and kidney damage
Plaque begins to develop within hours of brushing your pet’s teeth and in as little as three days, can convert to tartar
Only 4% of pet owners brush their dogs teeth daily

Staggering, isn’t it?

Dogs’ teeth, not unlike human teeth, need to be brushed every day to prevent infections and more dangerous conditions such as periodontal disease. If a strong, consistent oral care regimen is maintained, your dog may even live up to 2-4 years longer because of it!

My dog hates ‘teeth time,’ what do I do?

Although nothing truly replaces brushing, there are a variety of products on sale today to help improve doggy dental care. You can go to most pet stores and buy toothpaste, toothbrushes, finger brushes, water additives, gels, foams, sprays, breath mints, breath strips, chews, bones and chew toys to try out with your dog. You could also read dog owner forums and blogs for out of the box tips and tricks, I Heart DogsFidoseofReality, Dogster, and Reddit are just a few. With anything new, it’s best to start out small and train your dog to adopt the new skill over time.

I’ve literally tried everything, what now?

If you consider yourself creative, you could come up with a new solution to help your dog and more like him/her. Arm & Hammer, one of the leading brands in oral care, makes many pet dental products and is searching for new ideas to develop and offer to dog owners around the world. The brand came to Quirky, the community invention platform, to launch the Doggy Dental Invention Challenge and work with everyday ideators and dog owners to invent a useful new doggy dental product that isn’t on the market today. Whether you have invention experience, or not, you can enter the challenge for a chance for your product to be made (and make a buck or two in the process).

It is estimated that sales of pet oral care products will outpace the overall pet market; the forecast is estimated to grow to nearly $1 billion by 2020. A focus on functional and value-added products are at the heart of innovation for items in this growing category. Consumers are willing to pay more than ever for pet products, but they are also more educated in terms of product benefits. Source: Packaged Facts

Click here to learn more about how to enter the Quirky and Arm & Hammer Doggy Dental Invention Challenge. Share your idea for a chance to win before May 18th, 2018.

Meet inventor Sam Cheng

Meet Sam. He’s a computer science major at Rice University and inventor of the Portable Surround Sound, which has been renamed, Air by Quirky. Air is a portable speaker that detaches into 3-5 smaller speaker segments and can be used to create a premium, wireless surround sound experience in or outside the home. “I wanted to bring sound everywhere – to the living room, the shower and the beach,” said Sam.

Sam has been ideating his whole life. He submitted his idea for Portable Surround Sound on Quirky before he turned 18. “Since childhood I’ve wanted to create and make things that are my own.  The thought of people seeing and using a product of mine inspired me to start sketching my ideas,” said Sam.

When asked about his motivation to invent, Sam told us Iron Man [Tony Stark] and Elon Musk were inspirations for him to become an inventor, be his own self and not follow conventional paths.

The Quirky team was attracted to this invention because of it’s unique detachable speaker design, versatility and durability. Air was recently selected to move into Development, which means Quirky’s product team is working to finalize product design, materials sourcing and prototyping before setting up a production schedule with major big box retailers.

In addition to inventing, Sam has used the community platform to collaborate and help fellow inventors. “I’ve been on Quirky for a while and have contributed to a ton of challenges. Doing sketches were always my favorite – I had just learned Illustrator and Quirky projects gave me opportunities to practice. I’ve really improved my skills through making sketches for people on Quirky,” exclaimed Cheng.

Learn more about Sam’s invention, Air by Quirky, here.

OMG I’m so thirsty!

Written by Gina Waldhorn, President of Quirky 

OMG I’m soooo thirsty!!

I’ve said it a thousand times. I’ll probably say it a thousand more.

But I’ll never say it again without recognizing I have no clue what it feels like to be truly thirsty.

I’ll never know the pain of having to walk 6 hours to find a source of clean drinking water, or carry that water on my back another 6 hours to bring it to my son. I turn on the tap and clean water flows out, and I walk to any one of the 20 bodegas on my block and choose from a myriad of overly designed bottles (or cartons or tubes) of spring, mountain, or even re-packaged NYC tap water.

Quirky recently teamed up with the philanthropic organization charity: water and my perspective was forever changed. There is a water crisis. But unlike so many of the other seemingly insurmountable problems facing the world today, the water crisis is solvable. IN MY LIFETIME.

I didn’t know much about charity: water except that as far as charities went they produced rather beautiful content, and felt more like a cool millennial brand than a typical charity. It was the Quirky community who suggested we partner with charity: water, and from my first step into their office (literally, see below) I knew the community had nailed it. charity: water changed the social good game with a transparent infrastructure that allows for complete accountability – so you can see exactly how they spend each and every penny collected to work with local boots on the ground to support operations and execute “water projects” that bring clean drinkable water to those who need it most. charity: water isn’t a movement. It’s a well oiled machine with strategic and tactical plans that deliver results.

Lissa Regets & I visit charity:water HQ

So we’ve launched the Water Changes Everything Invention Challenge to do our part in supporting their incredible mission. It’s easy to participate because we all drink, wash, and use water everyday, and we can all think of new/better ways to conserve and enjoy that water. From washing dishes to washing the dog, watering plants to slip & sliding, submit your water inventions to the challenge to make a difference. Submissions will be judged on their market potential because Quirky will be donating the profits from the winning invention sales to charity:water!

The challenge is open starting today – World Water Day – until April 23rd. Follow @Quirky on twitter for daily challenge inspiration. If you don’t have an idea yourself, check out the “needs my help” tab on your Quirky dashboard and contribute to others’ ideas. Or share our challenge with your network. Or donate directly to charity:water via our Quirky donation page here.

The Home and Housewares Show: A Brief Quirky History

The International Home and Housewares Show, hosted at Chicago’s McCormick Place, is the largest housewares-only show in the world. The show attracts 2,200 vendors featuring their incredible products and more than 60,000 attendees looking for what’s new in the world of housewares.

Kitchen was a huge focus of this year’s show. Natural-themed products and fun-infused ideas were also a big hit. Large companies the likes of Whirlpool/KitchenAid, Cuisinart, Thermos, Midea, Eureka featured their latest and greatest products. There were also many inventors featuring their own ideas – which we loved!

Quirky showcased more than 20 of its products invented by real people like you, including its power line with crowd favorites Pivot Power, Switchflip, Prop Power and Port Power. Quirky kitchen products Ventu, Bake Shapes and Tether made an appearance and new storage solutions Slimline, Cubby and Versa Store were introduced.

Over the 80+ years the Home and Housewares Show has been around, many interesting inventions where showcased to the world. Below are some of our favorites.

  • 1906 – The first Housewares show was held in the NYC Madison Square Garden
  • 1910 — Chester Beach’s small motor powered a milkshake mixer for a Wisconsin dairy company. He partnered with L. H. Hamilton to form the Hamilton Beach Company.
  • 1915 — Corning Glass Works developed a glass to withstand extreme temperatures for railroad signal lanterns—this led to PYREXovenproof cookware.
  • 1928 — Manufacturer Col. Jacob Schick patented a men’s electric shaver. The electric shaver market reached its first year of million-unit sales in 1936.
  • 1938 — KitchenAid introduced a stand mixer designed by Egmont Arens. The stand mixer became the company’s keystone product and its form a symbol for a product type.
  • 1948 — Engineer/entrepreneur Lewis Salton invented an electrically heated tray to keep food warm at the dining table. His HoTray served buffet-style parties for decades.
  • 1958 — Corning introduced Pyroceram, a ceramic-glass material that could endure heat and cold and was strong enough for space missile nose cones. Corning Ware cookware soon became a kitchen classic.
  • 1966 — In Germany, Heinz Hankammer developed the AquaDeMat filter to desalinate water to use in car batteries. He made jug water filters for home tap water and named his new company, Brita, after his daughter.
  • 1979 — Black & Decker applied the technology it created for the Apollo moon landing to its Dustbuster.
  • 1994 — Salton, Inc. invited boxer George Foreman to represent its new grill, the George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine.
  • 1999 — Procter & Gamble’s Swiffer made its debut. The mop with the dirt-grabbing, disposable cloths created a new category of cleaning tools.
  • 2002 — The iRobot Corp., founded by Helen Greiner and partners to create military, industrial, and research robots, introduced the Roomba vacuuming robot and in 2005, the Scooba floorwashing robot.

Source: Wikipedia

Learn more about Quirky Products featured at the Home and Housewares Show (#IHHS2018):

  • Pivot Power – Jake Zien
  • Switchflip – Inventor Erin Wiggins
  • Prop Power – Inventor Jacob Riesgaard
  • Port Power – Inventor Marc Zech
  • Carabandits – Inventor Marc Zech
  • Slimline – Inventor Leanne Luce
  • Crates – Inventor Jenny Drinkard
  • Cubbycomb – Inventor Lisah
  • Cubby – Inventor Tammy Maddrey
  • Versa Store – Inventor Robert Francois
  • Stackable Locker Storage – Inventor Jaswinder Brar
  • Pawcet – Inventor Tony Lytle
  • Silo – Inventor Jan H
  • Broom Groomer – Inventor Bill Ward
  • Squeak – Inventor Team Lab
  • Zen Cosmetics – Inventor Edwin Van de Bospoort
  • Ventu – Inventor Andrea Z.
  • Bake Shapes – Inventor Hadar Ferris
  • Tether – Inventor Gary Rose
  • Poppit – Inventor Yolanda Jackson
  • Stem – Inventor Timothy Houle
  • Verseur – Inventor Angelo Cacchione
  • Sheath – Inventor Sonia C.G.
  • Bobble Brush – Inventor Spencer Sloan
  • Solo – Inventor Don Darnell

Women Won’t Hold As Many Patents as Men Until The Year 2092

That’s according to The Atlantic, which means “when we reach patent gender parity I’ll most likely be dead, or at least wearing a new “sleeve” Altered Carbon style, says Gina Waldhorn, President of Quirky.

Less than 8% of all patents filed name a woman as the lead inventor.

81% of patents filed DON’T NAME A SINGLE WOMAN AT ALL.

If 30% of women hold STEM undergraduate degrees, and 24% hold STEM jobs (according to the US Dept of Commerce), and if we just consider how many original ideas are outside of STEM fields, why the hell are only 8% of patents coming from women??

My guesses are:

  1. Patents are expensive, and funding for female-led companies actually GOT WORSE in 2017. If the majority of funding is behind men, the majority of patents will be behind men.
  2. There aren’t enough women in STEM jobs at corporations which are filing patents on the regular. Even though studies have shown teams with females on or leading them boosts the bottom line, too many companies use the pathetic excuse that “we don’t see enough female candidates applying” to avoid taking real proactive steps in hiring women.
  3. Patents are confusing and time consuming, as is creating an original product or process to begin with, and without flexible work structures it can seem impossible for many women who are also managing motherhood to pursue them. Love what companies like Werk are doing in this space.

“Don’t worry, I’m not here to whine. I’m here to do something about it.

It’s been exactly 1 year since I assumed the role of President at global invention community Quirky and I am lucky enough to be in a position to steward real change,” says Waldhorn.

In a few weeks we’ll be announcing a major initiative to move the needle in 2018 on patents filed by female inventors. This will be more than a “movement,” we’re going to take action to get more patents filed with female inventors named on them.

What will it take? Awareness, education, and support to help play the long game. 3,000 patents filed with women named on them plays the short game and moves the needle one percent in 2018. Message us if:

If you are involved with Corporate Social Responsibility at any of the top 20 patent filing companies (see here).

If you work with any organization promoting females in STEM education or employment.

If you’re in IP law and need to fill your pro-bono hours with something worthwhile.

If you work for a major brand that supports Open Innovation.

If you believe this is as important and worthwhile as we do.

Lookout for news when Quirky officially launches our initiative in the coming weeks. “I refuse to be dead, cryogenically frozen, or suspended as AI before we reach gender parity in inventing,” says Waldhorn.

#InventHer

See the original article here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/rate-were-going-women-wont-hold-many-patents-men-until-gina-waldhorn/

Quirky Makes an Appearance at the New York Toy Fair

Each year nearly 1,000 global media representatives flock to Toy Fair to report on the hottest trends in toys and games. From exhibitors to manufacturers, attendee companies presenting at the Toy Fair account for approximately 90% of the annual U.S. domestic toy market totaling $26B.

This year Quirky joined thousands of other registered play professionals at the Jacob K. Javitz Center in New York City, to showcase some of the marvelous inventions submitted by our very own Quirksters!

Quirky showcased one recently launched product, the Tune Zoo and previewed 5 brand new inventions currently in the development pipeline. These are the lucky inventions that made an appearance at one of the biggest Toy shows of the year:

Free Wheel by Rene Diaz of Dallas, TX
Tune Zoo by Debbie Schwartz of Plantation, FL
Boo Boo Bear by Faith Bouchard of Phoenix,AZ
Q the Kangaroo by Christopher Zailo of Gulf Breeze, FL
Soundtrack by Ricardo Seola of Milan, Italy
VA Spy Tank by Megan Yocum of Kentucky

Congrats inventors!

Meet Quirky Inventor: Paulette Blankenship

Meet our featured Inventress, Paulette Blankenship!

Paulette has had aspirations of becoming an inventor since childhood. With so many innovative ideas in mind, she began searching for a way to make it happen. And then it did! Paulette came across Quirky several years ago during a televised broadcast and shortly after decided to give Quirky a shot!

“Since joining, I have made friends on the other side of the world and what I love most is that these people are just like me and we share the same passions for inventing and collaborating on ideas. My professional experiences have included anything from Magistrate to Real Estate, but for me, nothing has been more rewarding than inventing with friends…. it’s what I love.” – Paulette Blankenship

Since joining, Paulette has submitted 260+ ideas, collaborated on 690+ inventions to help other Quirksters and is an avid community forum leader. One of her most recent ideas was the SOS Flashlight: a flashlight that sends out 3D distress signals via laser projection. The SOS Flashlight was one of the winners of the ACE Hardware Invention Challenge, which was an initiative by Quirky + ACE Hardware aimed to develop inventions to help victims of hard-hit hurricane areas. Her invention recently passed Quirky’s Development tests and is moving to Production! It will be on ACE Hardware store shelves in 2018! Learn more about her SOS Flashlight idea here.

Community is at the heart of who we are at Quirky. We couldn’t help but to ask a few of our Quirksters about Paulette. Here’s what they said:

“Paulette’s creative engine never shuts down. I love working with Paulette; she inspires me and helps me to become a better inventor!” – Debbie Schwartz, Inventor of the Tune Zoo

“Paulette is a creative dynamo and the most passionate member I know. She’s the total package – skill, intellect, creativity, and dedication to task. Her excellent contributions on my invention are a testament to her skills, passion, and dedication to making invention accessible through – collaboration.” – Constantine, Inventor of Pivot Power Cubed.

“Working with Paulette is always fun and inspirational, She is an extremely creative person and comes up with more features and uses than any other member I have worked with” – Bill Jephson, Community Quirkster

Inspired? (we are). Join our community and spark up a conversation with Paulette here.

Quirky and Syracuse Partner to Make Invention Accessible

Students kicked off their spring semester with a 2-week invention challenge hosted by Quirky.

The community-led invention platform Quirky in partnership with Syracuse College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) partnered to deliver a one-of-a-kind invention experience for students coming back from winter break. When students arrived to start their spring semester at VPA, they were greeted by Quirky industrial design lead, Lex Zelekowitz, a Syracuse alumni and briefed on a Quirky invention challenge, The World’s Greatest Party Host, to design the next generation of party planning and hosting products.

Students were engaged and excited about the challenge – with multiple groups starting their brainstorming exercises within minutes following the brief. “This was a great group project, where students from freshmen to seniors had a chance to practice defining problems, communicating the solution and thinking about possible production methods. The collaboration was fantastic. Solutions truly emerged from anyone on the team,” said Denise Heckman, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator for the Syracuse School of Design.

Students will not only receive a grade from the school on their design work, but also vie for the opportunity to be chosen to preview their invention idea live on Quirky partner HSN’s Monday evening show, American Dreams, a program designed to tap into the joy and excitement of discovering new entrepreneurs.

Nearly 100 students participated in the invention challenge, and more than 20 ideas were submitted over the 2 week period. The winning product or products will be selected in March. As new members of the Quirky community, students will also have the ability to receive product royalties if their idea is chosen and commercialized.

Knowledge in science, technology, engineering, arts [industrial design] and math (STEAM) can be the key to a successful future. Some of the most well-known leaders of our time, including Steve Jobs and Marissa Mayer, demonstrated strong creativity and technical skills. “We invest in the younger generations because tech is the face of the future. 80% of jobs in the next decade will require technology skills and we believe partnerships like the one we have with VPA will help prepare students for their careers,” says Gina Waldhorn, President of Quirky.

Press: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2018/02/prweb15156514.htmq

Cubbycomb

Asking for Faster Horses: Why Big Brands Are Struggling

This week the WSJ published an article detailing Unilever’s struggle to maintain market share as independent and local startups continue to usurp the once all-powerful market leaders. The Journal details how they’ve tried everything from corporate restructuring, to hiring “game changers”, and full on copycat tactics, all to little avail.

Outside of what the article mentions, Unilever has also been one of the most publicly aggressive companies to partner with early-stage startups as part of their Foundry initiative.

All of these efforts are to be applauded and given A’s for effort (I’m not a shareholder, so I can be generous), but something is clearly missing for Unilever, and for many other Fortune 500 companies whose CEO’s are waking up in a cold sweat wondering when their Dollar Shave Club is going to launch. I have one hypothesis for what’s wrong:

Their efforts are reactive.

What’s stopping Unilever and other global brands from creating the next Halo Top given all of the resources in their arsenal (money, research, technology, patents) is their need to have a meticulously defined goal. To know where they want to end up. Big brands innovate in response to solve a brief, to hit a financial goal, to address a new target market everyone is making money on but them. Their responsibility to shareholders forces them to be managerial thinkers instead of entrepreneurial thinkers, which would see them create opportunity from the means at their disposal versus always working to hit a goal already established.

That’s where open innovation can provide the advantage. Let an open innovation program do the entrepreneurial thinking for you. How?

First, stop structuring your innovation programs solely around briefs. It’s the Henry Ford “they would have said faster horses” conundrum. To employ an entrepreneurial mindset, give your crowd the means, and let them create the opportunity. Share research, patents, and past experience with them. Inspire them and invite them into your world with dedicated challenges, but don’t sell yourself short by ONLY ever asking them to solve a specific challenge. Let the ideas flow like the salmon of Capistrano.

Second, listen to what they’re already telling you. How are you capturing the voice of your customer (VoC), voice of your employee (VoE), or a combination (the voice of your customer through your employees- VoCE). They’re out there asking for products that don’t exist yet all the time – through their complaints, through their suggestions, when they search on Amazon or Google, when they post on Kickstarter or submit on Quirky. A thoughtful data science practice can collect, organize, and analyze this data to uncover invaluable product, feature ideas, or whitespace that can be a game changer if you only open yourself up to the possibility.

The beauty of open innovation is that you’re not the ones doing the innovating! You no longer need to “come up with an innovation that solves X” or “respond to the VR trend with innovation Y.” Accept that you have no idea where you might end up and you won’t find yourself stuck selling just a faster horse.

Read our article on Linkedin: 

Read more from Gina: https://goo.gl/e1263P

Quirky’s Invention Process Explained

If you have an idea for a product or enjoy product design and helping others with their invention projects, Quirky is for you! Inventing on the Quirky platform is simple and it’s easy to track your invention from beginning to end. With Quirky’s invention platform, there are (5) five stages, or steps your invention goes through on its way to becoming a store-ready product: (1) Concept, (2) Review, (3) Development, (4) Production and (5) Launched.

Once you have setup your free Quirky.com account, you kick off the (1) Concept phase by starting a submission and give us an overview of your brilliant idea! 

You may choose to keep your submission private or make it public. Private keeps your invention between you and the Quirky team but prevents you from tapping into the community for help. Public shares your invention with the Quirky community, where other members can offer help with features and product design. Most members choose public as they come to Quirky with an idea and need help to push the invention over the finish line. With public inventions, community members are incentivized to contribute in projects in which you’ve shared “influence” (in other words, they have the opportunity to earn royalties for their contribution). When all areas of your invention are complete, you may submit it to the (2) Review phase.

While you’re invention is in the (2) Review phase, we begin our evaluation and capture feedback from the Quirky community on your invention to better understand its viability. In this phase, you are no longer able to edit your idea and the focus shifts to collecting market research on crowdsourcing competitive products understand the landscape.

Next up is (3) Development. If your invention made it to this phase, congratulations! We think your idea really has potential and we dedicate resources to further develop your concept. This is where we create industrial design sketches & renders, test materials, build prototypes and analyze price points to understand if your product has a place in the market. We’ll be sharing updates along the way as your invention is being refined. 

If after all of this, we believe we’ve found a winner, your invention will move into the (4) Production phase. This is where your product is being built at the factory and is on its way to hitting shelves soon!

Last but definitely not least is (5) Launched. It’s time to earn that cash! This is where we showcase your invention’s full journey and link to our Quirky Shop for shoppers everywhere to buy your invention.  And don’t forget – every time it’s sold, you earn! We share our product royalty 50/50 with the community. When you succeed, we do too!

 

 

QUIRKY, HSN, and Randi Zuckerberg to Host Invention Search in NYC

Calling all inventors and entrepreneurs in the greater New York City area. We want to hear your brilliant ideas!

Quirky and leading entertainment and lifestyle retailer, HSN, are hosting an open call to inventors and entrepreneurs to pitch their product ideas “Shark Tank” style at Randi Zuckerberg’s Sue’s Tech Kitchen in New York City on December 9th 2017.

The chance to pitch HSN and Quirky executives will be first come first serve. Check out https://quirky.com/brilliant-product-idea/ for more information on how to participate.

The product search is a component of HSN’s American Dreams initiative – a program designed to tap into the joy and excitement of discovering new entrepreneurs, and then collaborate with strategic partners to find, educate and train inventors as they bring their products to market.

Sue’s Tech Kitchen is a tech-fueled wonderland for the mouth and the mind. Envisioned by bestselling author and serial entrepreneur Randi Zuckerberg, designed by a NASA scientist, and featuring technologies from all corners of the modern imagination, Sue’s Tech Kitchen offers a STEM-inspired adventure for the whole family that empowers kids to engage with tomorrow’s technologies and revolutionizes family dining in the process.

Quirky, Ace Hardware Select Two Inventions for Hurricane Recovery

In August and September, something terrible happened.

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria raged havoc.

Millions of people were affected: their homes and cars destroyed, access to power lost and food scarce.

Billions of dollars in damages piled up across multiple US cities and Caribbean countries.

Many stood by, hoping and praying for the people affected.

Quirky and Ace Hardware partnered and took action.

We polled our community, some of which were affected by the storms, to uncover the biggest problems people faced as they started recovery efforts.

And the Hurricane Recovery Invention Challenge was born.

For one month, our Quirky Community of thinkers, tinkers, makers and inventors went to work, creating thoughtful solutions to various issues – from safety and structural damage indicators and removing flood water quickly and efficiently to portable power solutions and moving debris, we received hundreds of useful ideas.

The decision was tough. A few weeks ago, we released the shortlist of the top 20 invention ideas and today we are announcing the 2 that have made the final cut.

Before we announce the winners, we want to thank every inventor who submitted ideas for the challenge and send a special thanks to all the brave individuals who have volunteered their time on the ground in these communities – helping people rebuild and recover from the devastation these storms have left behind.

The winners of the ACE Hardware Hurricane Recovery Invention Challenge are…(drumroll please)…

The eCharger by Constantine Orfan

This invention is an ingenious portable power bank the size of a keychain that is powered by a 9-volt battery. This is a great alternative to traditional chargers when you are on-the-go or in an area with no access to power.

The SOS Flashlight by Paulette Blankenship

This is no normal flashlight. It not only lights your way but has handy features that let’s someone in need send distress signals to identify their location to emergency personnel and others around who could help.

Congrats Constantine and Paulette! We love these inventions because they were thoughtful solutions to some of the issues flood victims faced immediately following the disasters and we believe there is a gap in the marketplace for items such as these.

Learn more about this awesome ideas and the others which were recently selected to move forward to development, check out our products in development page here. As we continue to test these product concepts, we’ll update these pages with our progress.

WANT IN ON THE ACTION?

Curious about how you can get more involved, and perhaps be chosen for the next products in development announcement? Join one of our LIVE invention challenges.

Login to Quirky.com and click on one of the invention challenges for instructions on how to invent the next big idea.

Setting the Record Straight on Quirky’s Royalty Structure

We’re the first ones to admit our royalty structure (which is called Influence on quirky.com) isn’t a simple one. That’s because what we’re doing isn’t simple – it’s groundbreaking. From the technology that divides – in real time – millions of fractions of royalties, to the community control of those royalties, we’re not your typical licensing company.

In this blog post we’ll answer all of the basic questions around how inventors make money on Quirky and shed some light on the rationale and mechanics behind these economics.

 

How does Quirky make money?

As of 2016 Quirky operates under a licensing business model. We no longer manufacture, and thus we don’t sell products to wholesalers or retailers directly. Instead, our licensees or designated distribution partners are the ones manufacturing the products which come off our platform, and they sell those products utilizing our brand name to retailers. They pay Quirky a product royalty of 3% for the rights to manufacture the product for which Quirky owns the intellectual property. They also pay Quirky a brand royalty for usage of the Quirky brand name, which typically ranges from between 2-5%, depending on how the product is branded when it comes to market (fully branded vs. co-branded). These royalties are where Quirky derives its revenue.

 

How much of the royalty that Quirky makes gets shared with the Community?

When a product is sold direct to consumer from Quirky.com, Quirky gives the full 3% product royalty to the community. The 3% royalty is on gross net paid revenue of that product. Gross net paid revenue means the retail price of the product minus discounts, allowances and returns.

When a product is sold to a third party retailer who then sells it directly to a consumer, Quirky splits the product royalty 50:50 with the community. That means the inventor and those who collaborated on the invention are sharing a royalty of 1.5% of gross net paid revenue. Gross net paid revenue means the wholesale price of the product minus allowances, and returns.

How come Quirky gets to keep 98.5% of the wholesale price (when a product is sold via a third party retailer, e.g. not from Quirky.com)?

First point to address is that Quirky is not keeping 98.5% of the wholesale price. As stated above, Quirky licenses all products to be manufactured and sold via third parties. Quirky is paid a licensing fee of between 5-10% for all products, out of which we pay the community.

Let’s review an example of a product sale via a third party retail channel.

  1. A retailer buys an invention from a Quirky manufacturing partner for $20.00 (wholesale price)
  2. Quirky receives a royalty of 7% ($1.40)
  3. Quirky pays the community 1.5% ($0.30)
  4. The manufacturer receives the remaining 93% ($18.60)

Why does Quirky receive a higher percentage than inventors?

Quirky receives a higher royalty because of the financial commitment and risk we’re taking in bringing your ideas from concept to marketable product. We have overhead including technology and infrastructure, security, an intellectual property team, staff that builds and maintains our technology, staff that curates and pitches your invention ideas to partners, industrial designers, marketers, customer support, and so on. The exact royalty rate we receive varies based on the level of complexity of the product, product category, and investment required to develop and bring the product to market.

Why does the manufacturer get to keep so much?

The manufacturer has taken on the majority of the risk and required investment to bring the invention to market, including mechanical engineering, tooling, factory management, production, quality assurance, legal/insurance liabilities, packaging, inventory, supply chain & logistics, training a sales force to sell the product into retailers…and the list goes on. Of the total ninety plus percent of the wholesale price they’re keeping only a fraction of that is actually profit.

What if I have already secured a patent and invested in building a prototype? Can I have a higher royalty?

Our answer on this one is maybe. On a case-by-case basis Quirky will evaluate invention submissions where an investment in procuring a patent and developing a prototype has been made to determine if an adjusted royalty structure is warranted.

Why is 20% of the Influence carved out already?

When allocating your influence during the submission process you’ll see that 20% of your influence is carved out already and locked. 5% of that is for Market Research, and 15% is for Quirky Projects.

Market Research is for any community member to take a market research survey. These surveys are tremendously valuable to our manufacturing partners and do play a role in influencing the selection of an invention for production.

Quirky Projects is the name we’ve given for a portion of the influence set aside for development support once an invention has moved into the Development phase. We know the Quirky community is full of very talented engineers, industrial designers and prototype makers. We reserve the right to offer influence to some of these community members for helping your product get to a point of viability by offering their more advanced product development skills. If we don’t allocate this influence it is given back to the inventor. It is never left in reserve.