Crowdfunding and the Next Era of Creativity
Over the last five years, crowdfunding has grown into a billion dollar industry, and at the core of it all lays a common desire to create, innovate and bring ideas to life.
As an alternative source of funding, platforms such as Kickstarter let innovators bypass the traditional pathways for delivering their ideas to the market. Where traditional product development is hidden until the product is complete, crowdfunding allows consumers to take part in the creative process by delivering feedback underway, helping develop the ideas.
Typically you are offered some incentive for funding a project, in ways of sneak peaks, test trials, special edition version of the product or even VIP meetings with the creators. Most projects list a variety of reward tiers depending on your contribution, making sure every contributor gets something in return. The real treat for contributors, however, is the ability to co-create something they find exciting, resulting in a highly involved community of consumers, ready to not only buy but fully back their idea.
Entrepreneurs have received a turbocharged platform for developing the ideas traditional funders deem unmarketable or unprofitable. As ideas are presented directly to the consumers, the market becomes self-regulating by embracing exactly that which is desired, and nothing else. With an all-or-nothing policy, funders are guaranteed their money back if the product does not receive enough funding, and so consumers are happily contributing their dollars in the thousands every minute. Last year alone, more than 22,000 projects were brought to life through Kickstarter, the majority being cultural projects within art, design, music and film. The most heavily funded category, however, is technology, where you arguably find the most revolutionary ideas, such as consumer 3D printers, virtual reality devices & cameras, and various flying drone projects. Consumers are virtually screaming for these products. As there are no dominating players in these markets yet, any entrepreneur with a strong idea and the ability to connect with the community has a chance to leverage their dream through crowdfunding.
When the market has yet to develop and consumers are still figuring out what they want, products co-created between entrepreneurs and consumers hold a significant edge, as these products are constantly changed and redesigned based on this creator-consumer interaction. Value offering is no longer a thing to be developed by a board of directors in an office somewhere at the heart of the CBD, where all things creative go to die. Value offerings must stem from the minds of the consumers, and crowdfunding has given entrepreneurs a unique gateway to this co-creation of value.
Take for instance The Artiphon, a crowdfunded instrument designed for any and all musicians, co-created with professional musicians and novices alike. This unification of so many instruments is a brilliant example of how crowdfunding allows for the collection of great ideas, concepts and products, and how entrepreneurs along with the right community can create a novelty that has the potential to change an existing industry.
And if that hasn’t convinced you, I know these Bunch O Balloons will, because lets be honest, a hundred water balloons in one minute is exactly what your inner child has been screaming for all these years.
Crowdfunding is, in short, the closest we have come to unrestrained creativity on an industrial scale, and we are only just getting started.