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May 8, 2009

Bulbstorm – Communicate To Innovate

ss-bulbstorm

Bulbstorm is an idea sharing community. The idea is that individuals, experts and companies can join forces to create and improve products and services. Bulbstorm attempts to harness global creativity so that everyone can benefit from the feedback and expertise they need to turn a new idea into reality.

To get started, post a bulb, which is a way of showcasing the concept you want to bulbstorm. You need a title and description, development status, date and keywords, along with an image. The more effort you put forth up front the easier it is for others to contribute, and you can also state specifically what kind of expertise you are looking for.

The community also has a social side, which is essential to the way it works. Finding or inviting friends to your bulbstorm is critical to get the feedback you need. To help facilitate this networking process, you can share bulbs on external sites using widgets. Bulbstorm also has its own currency, WATT$, which is earned for rating and contributing to various bulbs.

Overall, we liked the implementation of this site. It works particularly well for manufactured products and clearly defined services, and less well for creative works.

Practical Uses:

  • Find out if there really is a market for the invention you are planning to patent
  • Get feedback from potential users on a new design
  • Fine tune the creative concept for a new website before you launch
  • Find partners to work with on launching a new service

Insider Tips:

  • Control access to your bulb – and your idea – by adjusting the sharing status. Green is open to all, yellow to a chosen few and ‘lights out’ only to you
  • Fill out as much of the bulb description as you can to make it easy for others to contribute
  • In addition to sharing status, Bulblock makes non-disclosure agreements available for use by participants who wish to protect their intellectual property rights
  • The more you rate and comment the more WATT$ you will earn; you can then use these for promoting your own bulbs

What we liked:

  • You can sign in with your Facebook account and invite friends through your email account
  • Groups provide a great way to harness expertise on a particular topic
  • Rating is as easy as making a single mouse click and it takes just one more click to make a contribution
  • We found many great ideas on the site

What we didn’t like:

  • Profile categories are too restrictive; it was difficult to see where to place creative work that was not design, for example
  • Although we understand the need for incentives, earning WATT$ seemed like an unnecessary distraction

Alternatives:

Company Info:

  • Launched: 2006
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: Phoenix, Arizona
  • Founded by: Bart Steiner
  • Web site: http://www.bulbstorm.com

Costs:

  • Free; premium services planned