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Business - Written by on Thursday, April 23, 2009 6:58 - 0 Comments

Denis Hancock
LG Mobile & CrowdSpring: an $80,000 Prosumer contest

We’ve mentioned CrowdSpring a few times on this site – I introduced it on May 23rd, 2008, summarized an interview with the founders on June 13th, talked about my own great experience with them on December 9th,  and Alex recently brought them up again in his post – is spec work evil? It’s a fascinating company that plays directly in the prosumer space, and I’m sure the philisophical and economic debate about these types of platforms will continue for many years.

But I thought I’d bring them up again because they sent me an email (because I’m kind of a big deal I’m on their email distribution list as a past buyer) about a very cool contest – LG Mobile Phones has opened a “Design the Future” competition, with more than $80,000 in rewards for people that can come up with the most “revolutionary” LG mobile phone designs. You can find all the details about it here – and join the competition if you’d like, as long as you are American. I’m hoping they have a similar, less ambitious, and more self-depreciating for us Canadians in the near future :) .

There’s also another neat element to this – the competition is sponsored by AutoDesk, “a world leader in 2D and 3D design software.” All participants will get a 15-day free trial to SketchBook Pro, a powerful design application. Very cool co-branding initiative, and another example of how “professional” tools are increasingly getting in the hands of prosumers.

It’s going to be a great contest to watch – and coupled with other recent developments like Doritos Guru, it’s nice to see companies starting to get creative with their rewards. In the Doritos case, it was a share of all future product sales for the winner of the brand name / commercial contest – which could be quite a lucrative reward indeed. This competition (at least partially) deals with another complaint often levied at crowdsourcing platforms – the ‘winner takes all’ model. The prize structure is that the winner gets $20 K, 2nd $10 K, 3rd $5K, and then 40 awards of $1 K each. 43 winners is a pretty good start to encourage participation.

But wouldn’t it be cool to see those two models mashed together? Perhaps the winner getting $20 K + X% of future phone sales? Or maybe even everyone in (say) the top-10 getting a share? I think that would work very well – and I’d bet that we see a company do something like that fairly soon…

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