Designing In Trust.

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In an age of radical openness, it’s becoming more difficult to keep anything a secret. Open source platforms and collaborative working models are building alliances that require trust, amplifying the ability to impact—across government, enterprise and our own everyday decision making. The need to be effective at solving what are increasingly complex problems is forcing a new, preemptive transparency among government and corporations, and a backlash against the very secretive, murky world of patents.

Businesses in particular are benefiting from taking a less proprietary approach, with Linux declaring that more than 50% of all software purchased within five years will be open source, and GE announcing it has made available thousands of patents from its’ library to inventors who are using Quirky, a crowdsourced product development platform that is a great example of ‘designing in trust’.

The purpose of Quirky’s online community (65,000 members, and growing by 20 percent every month) is to democratize invention. Each week hundreds of inventor hopefuls, or “ideators,” submit their concepts online. The two most popular ideas are voted on each week, then sent to an in-house design team to research, render and prototype. Every member of the community gets to give feedback during the design process and the best suggestions are incorporated, earning secondary “influencers” a portion of future sales revenue, and the inventor, a manufactured product.

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