The Three French Challengers of Quirky

Quirky’s mantra is to “make invention accessible” to all – and it seems to work if you judge by the success of Quirky in the United States. But as soon as you have success, you also start having competition, either globally or locally. A lot of entrepreneurs want to replicate that idea in their respective countries, adapt it, tweak it a bit.

In France, a country that pioneered the concept between 2007 and 2011 with the rise and fall of CrowdSpirit, where I also happen to live and work, collaborative innovation platforms are popping up like mushrooms. What are they called? Who are their founders? What is their model? What are they ambitions? Let’s have a look at Quirky France… and three of their challengers: Nov’in, La Fabrique à Innovations, and MyKompany. Continue reading →

Genius Crowds, Another Company That Failed to Turn Co-Creation Into a Profit

Genius Crowds is Out of Business

In May 2011, I covered the French platform Crowdspirit, and tried to discuss the reasons of its failure. In August of the same year, I wrote a blog post about the costs of co-creation, underlining that there are substantial costs to orchestrate crowdsourcing and/or organize co-creation, and that profitable platforms are actually rare. Well, very recently, announced that a US-based crowdsourcing company, Genius Crowds, had to close its doors. Why? Because Genius Crowds was not able to turn their co-creative model into a profit.

“As a small startup, we frankly didn’t have enough resources to do the job of business development that we wanted to be able to do” (C.J. Kettler, CEO and co-founder) Continue reading →

Where do creative crowdsourcing participants come from?

World map with pins representing interviewee locations

Image via

My dissertation on creative crowdsourcing is going along well, and I’d like to share some findings in this post. This is not rocket-science, especially at this early phase of the work 😉 but I thought it would be insightful to share with readers interested in crowdsourcing. Basically, in my quest to find out who creative crowdsourcing participants really are, I analyzed 100+ interviews and was able to have fairly good data about their identity, origin and skills. In this post, let me share some findings about the countries of residence of creatives featured by different crowdsourcing platforms. I’d love to get your comments! Continue reading →

The dangers of crowdsourcing (Johann Füller’s post on Harvard Business Manager)


Johann Füller is CEO of Hyve AG, a company that organizes crowdsourcing for co-creation and/or open innovation purposes, and professor at the University of Innsbruck (Austria)

I already blogged about academic articles in French that should have been translated into English, because they’re pretty darn interesting and useful for people interested in co-creation or user innovation. This post is about a blog post that Johann Füller, an experienced researcher and businessman, wrote in German on Harvard Business Manager. It’s called Die Gefahren des Crowdsourcing (The Dangers of Crowdsourcing) and highlights some of the dangers that brands should be aware of before kicking off a crowdsourcing campaign. Not only does he give some examples, but he also cites 3 often encountered sources of crowd-resistance, as well as 5 ways to avoid failures. This post is an unedited translation, I only changed the illustrations and added a couple of links in the text. Continue reading →

Consumer creativity across cultures: the case of basketball fans


Li Ning’s “Year of the Dragon” collection is specifically targetted towards the Chinese consumer (image via

Currently my PhD work is taking an interesting direction: how does crowdsourcing work across borders? I just blogged about a crowdsourcing experiment in China, and about evidence from Mechanical Turk, and in this post I’d like to share the findings of a paper that looked at creative expression across cultures: A Comparison of Creative Behaviours in Online Communities across Cultures (Jawecki, Füller & Gebauer, 2011). To my knowledge is one of the few papers today to compare creative consumer behaviour across cultures. “We find that culture does have an influence on creative processes and expressions“, the authors say. Here’s why. Continue reading →

Merging two crowdsourcing platforms: what challenges?


A week ago, InnoCentive announced the aquisition of OmniCompete, another innovation-contest platform. To my knowledge, it’s the first acquisition of one contest-platform by another (correct me if I’m wrong). In the blog post that announced this strategic move, InnoCentive’s and OmniCompete’s CEOs explain the rationale for this merger, but I think that this type of operation also implies interesting challenges concerning platform- and community-management. Continue reading →

A great read: Community Building on the Web

book cover

Old graphics on the book cover (the book is from 2000), but some very relevant content!

There’s a lot being said and written about communities on the web. Especially today, in the age of social networks and subscribtion-based websites… everything is communities! In a book from last year, La Communaué Illusoire, French sociologist Marc Augé argues that (1) the term “community” is overused, (2) that they are only meaningful if they’re meaningful to their members, and (3) that, rather than building communities with frontiers, we should think about building communities to encourage exchange and communication.

Anyway, web-based communities are now ubiquitous, and one of the first books that has been written about them is Community Building on the Web: Secret Strategies for Successful Online Communities (Kim, 2000). Let me share some excerpt.

Continue reading →