It used to work something like this: when you had a design problem, you called in the pros. Let's say you sought the ultimate ergonomic office chair, or a device that redefined portable audio. You called in the industry elite to create an innovative product for you. For decades, we've approached design as the province of experts. But in recent years, there has been an explosion of user-generated design. Talented people are going it alone and bringing their designs directly to market.
Success stories are everywhere. The Hidden Radio & Bluetooth Speaker, a recent project by John VDN and Vitor Santa Maria, has received raves from Wired.com, Core77 and BoingBoing. Designers by trade, John and Vitor recognized the need for a better portable speaker. The pair spent $50,000 of their own money to develop a prototype , then turned to Kickstarter to help fund their project. The site granted them a huge market of potential buyers and the ability to scale their project nearly risk-free. They've raised $938,771, nearly three times their goal.