At the same time some businesses are embracing "crowdsourcing" as a cheap way to tackle large tasks, another model is emerging whereby customers themselves are asked to submit new ideas or designs. Examples of this in practice include a shoe company that accepts design sketches, and a t-shirt maker that offers money for submissions that get used. Some may be skeptical of the idea that customers would voluntarily spend their time coming up with ideas for someone else's business, but this is something a lot of people do anyway. How many times have you had an idea for a new flavor of gum, funny bumper sticker or way to attach a strap to your backpack? By offering a modest financial reward or some form of recognition, businesses can start to harvest these countless glints of insight and inspiration. Using the customer base as a source of new ideas probably won't replace traditional modes of product development, but, like the standard suggestion boxes, is likely to a useful addition to the process.
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