Does your company have an idea funnel?

Everyone has ideas, right? You hear them in the most unexpected places. In the gym, waiting in line for check-in at the gate, and at places like …Quirky.


It’s one of the latest in the batch of idea generating sites, where the wisdom of the crowds reigns. Runs riot, really. A wide open pasture, with the two ingredients ideas thrive on –rewards and recognition.  OK, make that three things. Add ‘Community’ too. is a fast-paced idea hub, where people come up with sensible, practical solutions that may not be as quirky. It urges the community with this:

The horses are at the gate, the gun’s about to fire… ladies and gents, step right up and place your bets. We have a bunch of new product ideas for your perusing pleasure.

The “Foolproof Patio Composting Bin” had this detailed sketch. (Enlarge it by clicking on image.) Another stylish spatula set was on sale, because it went from idea to market because enough people voted on it!

How it works is Quirky’s product development team takes an idea and lets the community vote on it. They ‘pre-sell’ the product and then manufacture it. Revenues are shared with the inventor/idea generator.

So what if companies could take this process and let it loose among employees? What would it take to create an idea funnel that taps the passions and ideas that arrive with us at work?

Managers who are receptive to feedback and product development suggestions tend to open the funnel at formal brainstorming sessions. These are not exactly the  moments when the most crazy (or should I say ‘quirky’) ideas hit us. is just one of the ways to get your employees’ creative juices flowing. A few others are beginning to try their hand at funneling.

And you thought that My Starbucks Idea was just a bunch of over-caffeinated people with light bulbs going off in their heads…

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