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Unformatted text preview: Putting Innovation in the Hands of a Crowd - New York Times March 3, 2008 E-Commerce Report Putting Innovation in the Hands of a Crowd By BOB TEDESCHI IF executives are going to rely on the wisdom of the masses for business help, it’s probably time the masses get a little compensation for it. That’s the theory behind Kluster, the newest in a lineup of companies using the Web to channel the collective wisdom of strangers into meaningful business strategies. With a cash reward system for contributors and a big beginning at the TED conference last week in Monterey, Calif., Kluster hopes to attract just enough visitors with just enough business smarts to gain early momentum. Along with members of the public, the 1,000 attendees of TED, a conference named for technology, entertainment and design that attracts leaders from many industries, used Kluster to generate ideas for a new product, then chose the most promising one and collaborated on the design. The result was “Over There,” an educational board game intended to promote cultural awareness, with questions like, “What percentage of the world’s population lives further than one mile from their nearest pure water source?” According to Ben Kaufman, Kluster’s 21-year-old founder, there were a few parameters, including provisions that the product could not be wider or longer than eight inches and only specific materials, like single-injection plastic, could be used. Going into the process, Mr. Kaufman said he hoped the product would “be something that doesn’t just serve an uninteresting consumer need, but a humanitarian product that can be used by everyone.” Mr. Kaufman said that would actually be a departure for him. As a founder of Mophie, a manufacturer of...
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- Spring '08
- Don Tapscott, Ben Kaufman, Cambrian House, Kluster