I am a gadget geek. Well, in fairness to the world, I am a geek. But gadgets in particular are something that interest me. So I first have to put this permanent disclaimer in front of what I post. I am a person that believes in the possible. Therefore, I back Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns. I do not go to casinos and put money on the blackjack table often. I have, and usually win money doing so, but I do not do so often. I will however bet money on technology.
At the same time, I work with a number of campaigns. They reach out to me as a serial backer, but also for connections. What I have gained from these campaigns is a number of really cool gadgets. But more importantly I have come to understand the mind of innovators a lot more.
In part, I have boiled that learning into two distinct books. The first is a book I published on the overall change in how Innovators operate in the world at large. The second is around how we share information in the world. The first book talks mostly about the reality of innovation today. What once was, working a major company in the R&D department or other group in the company and slowly getting your innovation noticed, isn’t the way anyone. You can quickly post a project on one of the many crowd-funding sites and if your idea catches people eyes, you will get backers. It is interesting to me because for many years I have worked in IT. In IT of old, sales and marketing were seen as bad. But now, in order to make your dream real, you have to both sell and market it. IT and your dream, now are about sales and marketing as well.
It is also however about bridging the gap that is created in the new Innovation paradigm. I love the dreams presented by many innovators. But the reason that innovations took so long in the past was that the R&D department built out all the other components. I can see people running away from the screen right now – what is he babbling about now. Once upon a time, innovators had a support system. A reality checker if you will. The system around them created the training, documentation and other components of innovation that innovators don’t always like.
So the reality of crowd-funding is we’ve changed innovation. We have changed how innovators can build their dreams. But we have also changed the process of supporting those innovations. We no longer have the documentation teams of large companies making sure the manuals ship with the product. (my favorite product from Kickstarter literally had a single photocopies sheet of paper on how to set it up. Yes, the market you are selling to is much more technical, but one-page?).
Hence the inter-generational knowledge transfer system. A way for large and small organizations to build a knowledge capture system that engages and involves the user community to produce better information and reduce the impact of someone leaving the company or organization.
All that said, there is the final lingering reality of my recommendations. I am a technical person. My knowledge and core competencies have to do with enterprise platform management. I have worked with companies all around the world to help them better understand the technology they have deployed and the systems they have built to support their business. I am pretty good at picking up a technology or grabbing software and figuring out what it was intended to do. Based on that self-declaration I have to put a provision in front of every device I review and share on my blog.
I am technical. I back cool technology that I think will change the game. I am willing to risk a little money (the advantage of KS and IG is you don’t ever have to waste the full retail price of an item). I know that I can get the device to work for me. I am willing to risk some money.
Those two statements are what I believe to be the crowd-funders mantra. If you can’t say both, don’t back a project. If you can’t willingly lose money, don’t back a project. If I were Kickstarter and Indiegogo I would start a SuperBacker group. I would tell Superbackers that they get a badge so campaigns know who they are. Superbackers agree to NEVER threaten campaigns that are running late. They agree that the dream of innovation is greater than any one, or any 100 failures.
That way innovators can go to KS or IG and say who are the Superbackers in the area of theater backing or the area of movie backing? Who are the Superbackers for phone add-on’s or for new technology? KS and IG can give that list of Superbackers to the campaign and they can start with a base of people who aren’t going to threaten to sue them the second the campaign is late.