Today’s post covers the top 30 sites for crowdsourcing design and engineering product innovation. Companies are under constant pressure to be innovative and introduce new exciting products in rapid succession if they want to stay relevant to their target customers. For example, carmakers keep pushing new designs and concepts annually even when the current models are still in production. It doesn’t matter if they use the same engine, gearbox, electronics, and interior layout as long as the proposed model looks slightly different from the existing one.
To cope with the challenges, more companies are now embracing an “open innovation” method in which the social crowd (customers, influencers, and the professional community) are invited to participate in the design process. Contributing members of the public offer suggestions to the companies’ in-house experts. Companies implement feedback to develop a new product that meets the market’s expectations. It is called innovative crowdsourcing, and the idea is to collect as many inputs as possible from external parties. However, companies still have the lead in deciding which ideas materialize.
Crowdsourcing used to be the method of choice for startups, but established companies can take advantage of it too. Moreover, they don’t have to do everything independently, thanks to the large number of businesses offering crowdsourcing services for product ideas, engineering solutions, and industrial design services. The following list includes some of the most recognizable names in the industry.
Top 30 Sites for Crowdsourcing Design and Engineering Product Innovation
Most innovation crowdsourcing platforms are design contests, and the Designboom competition is no exception. For a fee, anybody can post a concept, illustration, or design brief to the website for all willing professionals worldwide to participate. Since this is a contest, companies may reward some of the best designs.
You choose the amount or type of rewards available, how many of the best designs (i.e., top three or top five) should receive the prizes, and how much. Designboom will promote the competition on the billboard banner on the site’s competition page for an additional fee. Currently, there are only two categories: architecture and product design.
ArchDaily architecture competitions
ArchDaily claims to have readers in more than 230 countries and regions. ArchDaily’s architecture competition is an excellent platform to launch an innovation crowdsourcing campaign. The website also says it receives projects, products, and opinions from architects and designers worldwide daily. Everyone is welcome to submit their competition or award opportunity. In 2021 over 400 architecture competitions were introduced to the site. ArchDaily reviews submissions and publishes them once approved. The only permitted category is architectural design.
In DesignCrowd, any number of designers can enter a contest. With more significant competitions having a higher fee, you can determine how many designs you want to receive, and the price starts at $99. DesignCrowd assures you that the first designs will arrive within 24 hours after the contest begins, and a typical project receives more than 100 designs. You can ask for revisions of designs you like but want to improve or a money-back guarantee if none of the submitted works meets your expectations. Only when you approve a particular design will you receive all the essential files, including copyright transfer.
Cults 3D printing competition
There doesn’t seem to be any limitation on what kind of 3D product design competition is allowed on Cults, as long as a consumer-grade 3D printer can print it. It is not entirely clear whether or not submitting a contest is free of charge. However, past contest winners have received monetary rewards or product discounts.
GrabCAD design challenges
An exciting aspect of a GrabCAD design challenge is jury selection in any contest. GrabCAD allows anyone from your company to participate as a judge, including the site’s experts and members of the 3D design community. You decide how much money to spend on the contest and how many prize levels to offer. The site also has an administrative fee for organizing the crowdsourcing competition. There are no restrictions as to what categories are allowed. The most recent contest in GrabCAD was NASA-sponsored, looking for a viable design for its mobile lunar heliostat.
HYVE Crowd contests
Unlike most 3D design contests, which encourage submissions of 3D assets, HYVE Crowd does not limit the type of contribution the crowd can make. While contributions can be 3D assets, other formats are acceptable depending on how you define the contest brief. For example, crowd members can submit opinions, ideas, or case studies in text form rather than elaborate visualizations. HYVE Crowd suggests using the public version of the contest in which anyone can contribute, but you can opt for the private version to allow only experts to contribute; you can invite them, or they may apply to join. The contest categories are industrial design, engineering solutions, business innovation, and product ideation.
Dexigner design competitions
There are not a lot of active design competitions at Dexigner, at least at the moment. But the few currently listed seem to be of high quality. It is a pretty straightforward platform as well. Once you enter your name and email, Dexigner provides a form to fill out. You can give as much information as you like, including texts and images (limited to 250 MB), but that should be enough to cover every important detail. Alternatively, you can email the editor directly regarding the contest. Categories include 3D design, illustration, industrial design, architecture, multidisciplinary, package design, and more.
Like other design contests, you submit a design brief telling MyMiniFactory your goal and how you want to achieve it. The site will then organize everything with all the custom options that fit your budget. MyMiniFactory says the competition is shared with their community, which probably means it is posted to other websites too. In addition to 3D assets, the design contest category also includes 3D printable files. There is an option to keep the submissions private, although the site does not explain how the system works or who can enter the contest.
HeroX crowdsourcing project
A design challenge on HeroX runs between two to four months on average. The company offers a turnkey service where it handles your design challenge from the get-go to the very end of it. Categories vary, including arts and design, engineering, and technology. You can receive the final product as ideas (such as market research, business insights, and surveys), ready-to-launch products, 3D assets, 3D models, and prototypes. HeroX takes a percentage of the prize value of every challenge submitted. For projects with a reward of up to $250,000, the fee is 18 percent. Over the years, the platform has handled many high-profile design crowdsourcing projects, including from NASA and Lockheed Martin.
There are two ways that 99designs can help get your project done. You can do that by hiring a designer or launching a design contest. Categories include Logo Design, Packaging, and Graphics Design, among others. First, you make a design brief filled with as much information as possible. Second, the website handles the contest launch, after which you should receive any number of concepts from participants. Third, decide which idea is best and work with the designer to finalize the design.
The contest and categories offered in Designhill are near identical to those in 99designs, and Designhill clearly outlines all the packages and prices. A single logo design costs $249; if you want a business card to come with the logo, there is an additional $50 fee. Packaging design is even more expensive at $499, whereas a label sits right in the middle at $399. Designhill offers a 100 percent money-back guarantee if you are not pleased with the submissions.
Archinect Competitions offers three different contest packages. The basic package allows anyone to submit a contest free of charge. Before the contest is posted, editors review the brief to ensure everything is quality and relevant to the architecture industry. The standard package starts at $20, whereas the “featured” package starts at $450. The featured package includes 30 days of advertising. Standard and featured options go live immediately without editor review, and all competitions are listed on Bustler, a sister site of Archinect.
Pinshape design requests
Pinshape design requests are a straightforward 3D printing crowdsourcing platform for 3D printing. The main website is a 3D-printable file-sharing place where individuals can upload, share, or sell their creations. Contests are listed under the design request category in the forum. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that any contest will attract a crowd of designers. Still, you can improve your chances of gaining attention by clearly providing information about your project scope and what you will pay for the best submission. It may help to mention the print method and a sketch of the object you need to be designed.
If your company makes products or packaging, Eÿeka is a great place to look for new ideas and innovations in a matter of days. According to Eÿeka, a single contest can generate between 50 and 100 fresh ideas in less than a week. Of course, it all depends on how well the design brief is prepared, and that’s why Eÿeka handles it for you. When it is time to launch the contest, and you start gaining some participation, the company once again helps you turn raw ideas into actionable concepts.
InnoCentive Open Innovation Marketplace
InnoCentive crowdsourcing platform oversees the following industry categories; engineering, design, technology, and life sciences. The website has more than 500,000 experts from all around the world. An 80% success rate of delivering design solutions within 2 to 6 months makes it an excellent platform for companies to generate ideas from well-educated crowds. The InnoCentive platform covers everything from design briefs to IP treatment, idea evaluation, and sending the rewards to the winning solution.
IdeaConnection Open Innovation Services
A custom package to run a Public Challenge on IdeaConnection costs between $2,000 and $200,000. The idea behind the price range is as simple; the company provides a higher level of service if you pay more. It can write a design brief, give a website to host the challenge, handle customer service, tackle the hassles of IP transfer, and disburse the prize funds. It is unclear which industries IdeaConnection caters to, but some past challenges focused on engineering and industrial design. If you want to be more discreet about a contest, IdeaConnection offers a confidential challenge where you get to stay anonymous, and only curated experts can participate.
Arcbazar architectural competitions
Anybody can post a competition on Arcbazar. The range of projects allowed is limitless, from a quick renovation job to a landscape project, from single-family homes to commercial establishments. As usual, you clearly explain the project, including dimensions, style, expected completion time, budget, and format. Arcbazar does not write the brief, so take your time and prepare a comprehensive request. Once the competition appears on the website, designers are encouraged to sign up and participate. At the end of the contest, Arcbazar will distribute the prize money (which you have to set aside beforehand) to three ranked winners.
Desall Design on Demand
There are two types of design contests on Desall, including Single Phase, where at the end you get ideas and concepts to develop further, and Sequential Phase, in which you receive an actual new product design, packaging, and a new product name as well. Desall also caters to crowdsourcing projects for craft and interior designs. Contests are held open, private, and by invitation. An open contest means everyone can read the brief and view the submitted proposals, and submitted proposals have restricted access if you choose the “private” option. On the other hand, “by-invitation” allows you to target a particular group of designers, such as university students or a select few professionals.
Arch out loud architect competitions
Powered by more than 12,000 designers, Arch Out Loud has held various design contests, such as a hurricane shelter, an eco-friendly stadium, an underground bathhouse, a public waterfront, a vertical cemetery, and a new White House design. A company can either run or sponsor a competition in Arch Out Loud, and the website even allows homeowners to post their architectural projects. For participants, incentives include prize money and having their insights or ideas shared in various publications. Companies that sponsor a design contest are rewarded with considerable online and offline exposure through annual architectural competitions.
Contest watchers creative challenges and competitions
Contest Watchers does not offer free 3D assets or sell them. It provides a platform for companies and individuals to post design competitions and a hub for designers to attempt to win them. It encourages clients to build websites to receive submissions. Categories include everything in the scope of visual arts, such as 3D, graphics design, architecture, industrial design, and interior. For every design contest, the only reward is prize money. However, there doesn’t seem to be any way to guarantee that a contest will be posted.
Jovoto innovation platform
Open and invite projects are available on Jovoto. Open projects promise more extensive participation from the global community but may take longer to generate viable action plans. Invite projects guarantee participants are subject matter experts, resulting in a quicker ideation process. Unlike most companies on the list, Jovoto does an actual crowdsourcing event rather than design competitions. You give the general plan of what you want to achieve, then Jovoto assembles a team of experts to identify and address challenges. Categories include product design, architecture, logo, graphics design, illustration, product innovation, and packaging design.
Crowdspring graphic design services
With more than 220,000 designers worldwide, Crowdspring dramatically improves your chances of completing all graphic design projects in record time. Every project submitted comes with a legally binding contract that protects your intellectual property. Moreover, there is a 100% money-back guarantee if you are not pleased with the submissions. The company also offers one-on-one outsourcing, but you only work with one designer for the project. Categories include product design, packaging design, and graphics design for print and online use, and design consultation is available at no cost.
Crowdsite design contest
Crowdsite is a company-friendly design crowdsourcing platform for when you need a design project completed quickly. Most projects posted to Crowdsite are related to graphics design and animation. It works like any other design contest where you describe the scope of work, file format, and how much money to award the winner and then post the contest. You can give feedback on submissions before choosing the best design. Crowdsite prevents search engines from indexing the projects, and all participants must sign an NDA beforehand.
Although primarily dealing with custom logos, 110Designs caters to the graphic design category, including arts and illustrations, packaging, and labeling. The categories are limited but suitable for startups trying to build a brand identity for online advertising and social media campaigns. Every category has a posted minimum price. For example, a logo creation contest costs at least $110, while a packaging and label design is higher, at $147. Offering higher prize money will attract more professionals to participate in your contest. 110Designs has a full refund policy, so it is a practically worry-free crowdsourcing platform.
Logo Arena design contests
Logo Arena specializes in logo design crowdsourcing by hosting a contest for individual and business clients. A contest runs between three and seven days and receives a minimum of 50 original design submissions. A prize budget is required, with a minimum of $249. There is an additional $50 fee to keep the contest private, making it visible only to registered and approved designers. Every round has unlimited revisions, and all logos are delivered in standard vector file format.
Yet another graphic design crowdsourcing competition, DesignContest, provides a platform for small businesses to get a design project done quickly and affordably without sacrificing quality. DesignContest sets a minimum price for every category, including illustration, packaging, icon, VR game menu, and murals. A contest with a higher reward attracts more participants but is affected by factors such as the maximum number of winners and the “featured” option. Once the round ends and you select a winner, all copyrights will be transferred to you unless you opt out.
DesignBro creative platform
Similar to DesignContest in categories but different in pricing, DesignBro collaborates with an agency partner (Gency. co) if you choose to go for the $1200 “full agency” package. The entire agency provides a dedicated account manager, five professional designs, and a brand consultant. Suppose you choose more affordable packages, including starter, business, and pro options. In that case, the company ensures that all submissions are the works of professionals, and you get a money-back guarantee. Most categories here are meant for online media projects, such as website designs and online banners. It also has graphics design categories for product packaging, posters, and flyers.
A crowdsourcing place in its most democratic form, Quirky allows everyone to submit ideas, concepts, or even rough sketches to the website for as low as $10 and asks the community to give their input on the design. Anybody can be a true inventor at Quirky because there is always a chance that an innovative idea will go to the production line. When the idea eventually becomes a product and makes money, the owner receives a royalty, and Quirky takes 30% of the profit. There is no need to deal with prototyping, engineering, manufacturing, marketing, and product sales.
Ennomotive open innovation challenges
To post an innovation challenge on Ennomotive, a company has to be a sponsor. The company provides prize money and additional fees for the platform. Categories include energy efficiency, manufacturing engineering, automation and robotics, 3D printing, electronics, automotive, artificial intelligence, and product design. Based on the complexity of the design, some challenges have multiple rounds. At the end of each round, the client selects some submissions, which will continue to the next development phase. Ennomotive will help you determine the appropriate amount of prize money depending on the sophistication and level of expertise required to tackle the challenges.
Cad Crowd Engineering Services
Cad Crowd design and engineering services is a platform where you can host a contest and attract professional designers, 3D artists, and engineers to help tackle all design challenges. Popular categories include architecture, product design, automotive, engineering, 3D modeling and rendering, and 3D printing. You provide a brief or information about the design solution you need and set the prize money. Within days after the challenge goes live, expect to receive design solutions from freelancers on the site. It is easy to give feedback on every submission and ask for revisions before you pick the best design. A contest is an excellent option for small projects and can result in dozens of entries.