Open up that innovation! Alchemy is Back!

March 16, 2008


The whole topic of a marketplace filled with ideas was derived from chapter four of our Wikinomics text, but unfortunately the main examples the text listed were regarding scientists and businesses looking for innovative answers to their unsolved problems. The real question is, what can a marketplace of ideas do for the average person? The answer is: everything !

The average person, who may not qualified as a retired nuclear physist using sites such as innocentive or to make a little extra cash answering large company’s product dilemmas, may be looking for a problem to be fixed for themselves, but doesn’t have the available resources to do so. Say you run a small craft shop on PEI in the summer months and you want to create a digital logo for your shop and internet site. You don’t know any artists and want a faster solution than posting in the Buy, Sell and Trade which may not be answered. Before your options may have been limited, now you can obtain your answer through the internet using an online marketplace. Or say you had a special piece of irreplaceable jewerly which was lost or broken. You could use an online marketplace to fix your problem, by posting an advertisement requesting someone to recreate your once irreplaceble jewerly. Now not only businesses can solve their unique problems, but normal consumers too!

A perfect example of an online ideagora is Esty‘s Alchemy. Alchemy is a divison of the Esty site, a site which specializes in buying and selling handmade objects. Alchemy is an online marketplace which requests for custom items can be listed that potential sellers can bid on the custom items being requested. The site coins Alchemy (no pun intended) as, “the pursuit of transforming your creative ideas and designs into tangible items“. Most of the items which are listed on the site range from logos, jewerly, clothing & bags, and custom-requested artwork. There are lots of examples of idea marketplace sites, here’s a post listing a bunch of them.

After finding about a million different items I wanted on this site (like crazy shoes! and rad mp3 cozys), I discovered the different pay methods available range from pay-pal like options, to credit, to money orders and checks. It depends on the seller. I didn’t realize before how amazing this type of website could be while reading about it in the chapter, but after visiting this site it definitely seems like ideagoras may be the wave of the future. Just think about how easy it would make gift shopping! There are sooooo many ideas out there, listed under just about every imaginable category (ie even pirate and ninja categories), so there is basically something for everyone listed on the site. Some of the items are kind of pricey, but custom made, one-of-a-kind objects do make the best gifts!

I had originated the idea for this post while scanning A VC’s blog, which boldly stated, “Alchemy is Back!”. Of course, my first thought was, “Who’s the next wacko that thinks they can turn common objects into precious metals? Micheal Jackson?”. Fortunately, I was pleasently surprise with Alchemy and am now in the process of saving upwards of $250 for crazy customized high heels. Shopping is the Devil’s Spawn.


5 Responses to “Open up that innovation! Alchemy is Back!”

  1. wattsy Says:

    First of all, I like that picture haha. Thats interesting how people can post advertisements for people to recreate things for them. I think that is a very good idea, because some people might lose something that was really important to them. Than people who might know how to make one of those things can create it. I like that concept.

  2. ideagoras: pushing the r&d envelope

    (innovation presentation at Thales University on March 13, 2008)
    This morning I delivered my speech on innovation at Thales University in the southwest of Paris for the second time since 2007. On top of the usual presentation describing what is meant…

  3. romizuddin Says:

    I agree with you, now online marketplace allows you to set up a website and let the customers help the business to resurrect. It is really a great idea where everyone can contribute.

  4. Liz Moise Says:

    Dave, Thanks for a great post on open innovation. Your students might be interested to know about some of the non-profit Challenges that we have posted on our site right now. Take a look at the Challenges funded by the Rockefeller Foundation – one of my favorites is the Challenge just posted by SunNight Solar for a solar powered misquito repellant device that will help reduce malaria.

    Liz Moise
    Marketing Manager

  5. Tasia Says:

    Thanks guys for all your input. It’s neat to know that other people besides our classmates are reading our posts. 🙂

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