Big Dreams Big Ideas about to take off? New website for innovators looks to change the way products are developed

Taylor Rocca, Roving Editor  Ω

Big Dreams Big Ideas is a new online community for aspiring inventors and creative minds.

Dean Horsfield is the chief executive officer and creative innovator at Big Dreams Big Ideas. A recent graduate from the University of Calgary, Horsfield first came upon the idea for Big Dreams Big Ideas when he came across Starbuck’s mystarbucksidea.com.

The overarching shared concept behind both Big Dreams Big Ideas and My Starbucks Idea is that consumers are provided with a means to communicate with the company and suggest product ideas.

“What an empowering position to be able to say something and a company is willing to listen,” Horsfield said.

Big Dreams Big Ideas allows users to suggest product ideas and concepts to the online community at www.bigdreamsbigideas.ca. The platform allows users to comment on what they like or dislike about submitted concepts.

“Every great idea starts with a problem,” Horsfield said.

Users vote on concepts that they like. At the end of each week, the concept receiving the most votes moves on to a finalist round where it eventually goes head-to-head with other popular concepts.

A quick flip through the website shows a great variety of different product ideas. Currently in the finalist category are ideas such as a solar-powered cellphone battery charger, a digital touch photo frame that allows users to crop and edit photos, a pedal-powered mobile charging station for electronics and a gym lock that uses a fingerprint to unlock.

The creative innovator of the winning concept that emerges from the finalist round receives a $1,000 tuition credit (or cash prize if they are not a student). A 10 to 30 per cent revenue share of the product is also awarded to the creative innovator.

Once the concept has been voted a winner, it goes into production and eventually ends up for sale online.

The online community is free to join. The only cost involved at any point in the process is when it comes to submitting product concepts and ideas. It costs $10 for a user to submit an idea. The cost isn’t in place to nickel and dime users according to Horsfield, it’s simply there to ensure that users have put good time and thought into their idea. It also helps to cut down on any potential spam that the site might receive.

If you’re a real go-getter but you don’t want to pay the $10 concept submission fee, Horsfield said that he gladly gives out free coupon codes to users that go out of their way to communicate with him on Facebook or via email.

“We’re trying to give back as much as we can [to users] while still being a viable business,” Horsfield said.

For young inventors and creative innovators, Big Dreams Big Ideas provides an opportunity to build a portfolio and receive constructive feedback on ideas.

Steve Billings is an engineering student at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and a user of the Big Dreams Big Ideas website.

“I met the creator of the website on campus at UBC,” Billings said via email.

“At first I thought he was trying to sell me something, but he convinced me that I should at least check out the site.”

Billings went on to submit an idea that would be voted into the finalist category, the digital photo frame mentioned earlier.

“I like the fact that anyone can submit an idea,” Billings said. “I would way rather see products hit shelves that were created and designed by students and other creative people, not just corporate big wigs.

“If the site takes off, it could become a really influential concept.”

While it may just be an infant in the realm of creative engineering and product development, Big Dreams Big Ideas is aiming to be a significant player in the near future.

With an interesting concept that promotes consumer communication and input, it will be interesting to watch this service upon its full launch.

Currently in beta mode, Big Dreams Big Ideas will launch completely this September.

3 Comments

  1. Leslie Wilson Apr. 6, 2012
  2. john ryan Apr. 14, 2012
    • editorofomega Apr. 14, 2012