Innovation can spring out of ideating beyond your own needs. Look to others’ challenges to shine a light on prime areas for innovation. Innovation can also come from dire need. Both cases push innovators to ask questions. What can I do to make this better? Can innovation through collaboration improve or accelerate the process?
John Chang, co-founder of Willow, discusses his solution to an overlooked problem. A mechanical engineer, John had the technical background. But the conversation with his wife about the challenges moms face launched Willow Pumps.
As part of a business incubator, John searched for areas of innovation. The spark of an idea began with his wife’s input. It became an innovation through collaboration with mothers – relatives, friends, business associates. He asked these women “what are the unmet needs of mothers with babies.”
The recurring theme: the breastfeeding pump is overdue for innovation. The products on the market were bulky and noisy. The basic design had not changed much since the pump’s development. In designing the product, John focused on the target customer.
Now available, the Willow pump is discrete, quiet, handsfree, and mobile. The most gratifying result: this product has helped women and babies.
Learn more about Willow at www.willowpump.com.
Timing is Everything
On the battlefield getting the right product could be a matter of life or death. The problem – long lead times for innovations. As a soldier, Jay Rogers felt open sourcing and crowdsourcing could accelerate military vehicle innovations. The faster turnaround would benefit the military.
Jay founded Local Motors to build upon this idea of innovation through collaboration. His first success was the Rally Fighter, the world’s first crowdsourced vehicle. It reached market within one year.
Justin Fishkin is Chief Strategy Officer for Local Motors. He is committed to impact investing and the environment. The company mirrors these values. At the core of Local Motors’ business are co-creation and microfactories. A microfactory is small volume production in local markets. This sustainable way of doing business has future impact. Justin believes it “could solve the issues globalization may have caused in the early days of outsourcing.”
Local Motors’ innovations are a fusion of ideas from contributors in all walks of life. The company exemplifies innovation through collaboration. In a sense, Local Motors is bridging the local and the global communities. Drawing innovative ideas from the far reaches of the world and bringing production down home to local communities.
- Check out Local Motors’ Olli, a self-driving vehicle. Watch it in action at CableLabs on Youtube.
- Track the latest with Local Motors at Localmotors.com.
- Join the Local Motors innovators at the crowdsource platform Launchforth.io.
UPDATE: The original audio for this post was from an old show. This has been corrected. We apologize for the mistake.