Barbie Doll Seduced by the Benefits of Crowdsourcing

September 8, 2012 By IdeaConnection

The world’s most famous doll isn’t only a fashion icon to millions of girls all over the planet; she’s also one smart cookie. To get ahead of her rivals and would-be pretenders to her throne she’s reaching out to the crowd for inspiration and innovation.

Toymaker Mattel, Inc., is embarking on an open innovation initiative for their Barbie and Hot Wheels brands and will ask consumers to come up with new product ideas.

At this stage there are scant details of what form the consumer engagement will take. A press release announced that Mattel is going to collaborate with Genius Crowds, a platform for opensourced product development that enables companies to co-create products with their consumers.

“Mattel is very excited to be working with Genius Crowds for crowdsourcing new product ideas”, said Mattel Vice President of Innovation Programs & Inventor Relations, Elisabeth Krisel . “We believe strongly in open innovation and are thrilled to be on the cutting edge of new product development processes including crowdsourcing that enable us to listen to, and meet the needs of kids and their parents.”

Crowdsourcing Benefits for Barbie

As Barbie knows only too well the benefits of crowdsourcing and co-creating with consumers are many and include:

  • Consumers are willing to provide ideas for new products and services that will fulfill their needs. It could be considered foolish to ignore such a source and social media tools makes engagement easy. However, an appropriate form of engagement must be selected so as not to be inundated with a large volume of shallow ideas.
  • Crowdsourced ideas more closely mirror what consumers want and need. One of the reasons why products fail is that they don’t adequately meet consumer needs.
  • R&D costs are slashed.
  • A deeper bond is created with consumers.

Competitive Advantage

Ultimately those companies that work well with the crowd and manage the process effectively can gain long-term competitive advantage over their rivals.

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