Tapping the World’s Smarts for a Novel Shoe Design

Published Aug-03-15

A global crowdsourcing contest results in the design of a new sporting fashion shoe.

Quicksilver, Inc, United States

The Story:

Tapping the World’s Smarts for a Novel Shoe Design The demand for new products, designs and fashions is insatiable as hungry consumers crave novelty. Companies realize they have to keep their product pipeline full and pumping out new items, less their competitors get in there before them. Many have to do so on ever tighter budgets with fewer R&D and/or creative staff.

These are just some of the factors that have led numerous firms all over the world to seek greater input into what they make by tapping a larger network of brainpower. One way is via crowdsourcing competitions. Such contests are also attractive smaller companies with fewer resources and even more limited budgets.

Seeking Ideas from Outside

In 2014, Quicksilver, Inc., a manufacturer of surf wear and other board sport-related equipment decided to look beyond its in-house teams for a new DC Shoe design. The American company summoned the crowd to help by organizing a global contest. The massive international crowdsourcing effort was hosted on Talenthouse and it drew a spectacular response.

Mass Participation

A total of 1,889 original shoe designs were submitted, an eclectic mix of colorful patterns and eye-catching designs. These elicited approximately 80,000 votes and comments. Anyone registered with Talenthouse was able vote for their favorite designs although the final choice rested with Quicksilver. The engagement measure of the crowdsourcing contest's webpages was one million, while the reach was more than 10 million.

Winning Design to Hit Store Shelves

At the end of all this exciting creative activity and discussion, one winner was selected. Ese Izhi of Mexico City won $10,000 for his sketch of bright green marijuana leaves on purple shoes. Apparently, when Ezi heard about his win he leaped around his room screaming with joy.

The winning design is due to go into production and will be sold on the DC Shoes’ website as well as in select physical stores around the world. Furthermore, the company says that it may chose some of the other submitted designs to go into production.

Crowdsourcing is Creating Opportunities

Crowdsourcing contests like this have the potential to create a win-win situation for all involved. Provided the company has a well-run, tightly scoped contest that doesn't become a drain on resources, it can be a fantastic way to receive a new revenue-generating product at lower cost.

For those who take part, a crowdsourcing contest can lead to valuable exposure as well as extra funds. The practice is creating many opportunities for people who want to work independently, whether they are students, retirees, full-time freelancers or others who just want to dabble from time to time and see where their creative skills and smarts can get them.

There is a deep global pool of talent of diverse ages, backgrounds and capabilities that are waiting to be tapped for their knowledge, creativity and problem-solving prowess.

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