Prepare yourself, the snow is coming. It’s best to arm your loved ones with an ice scraper that’s more of a deadly weapon than a toy. Enter Thor. This Quirky product is a monster of an ice scraper. The inventor of the ice scraper spent 10 years trying to get his idea marketed, patented the concept and approaching both manufacturers and distributors before he decided to toss it to the Quirky community for good measure. Although the product that eventually emerged, called Thor, looks quite different from his initial concept and prototype, engineer Jim Johnstone said the crowdsourced invention model that Quirky offers helped validate his vision. “Sometimes there are ideas that are way beyond the capacity of an individual to bring to life,” Johnstone said.
The concept of Quirky is pretty simple. The real winning formula to this device is the double blade design, which lets users scrape both back and forth for more effective scraping. The front handle can be gripped with both hands for additional leverage on those tough jobs, and and extendable telescoping arm lets you reach those hard to get areas. Once you’re done using it, just fold it up, and store it right under your car seat for easy access the next morning.
The platform allows inventors to share an idea with the community. The community, in turn, offers feedback and suggestions for refinement. Every week, the community rates ideas that it thinks have a shot of becoming commercially viable, offers pricing suggestions and the Quirky team meets each week to decide which ones will move forward. Quirky’s founder created the site after his own challenging experience getting a product to market. The crowdsourcing community now greenlights approximately one product every few days.
Tiffany Markofsky, Quirky’s director of communications, said the site receives thousands of submissions every week, many of them from inventors with multiple ideas. Approximately 40 percent of the community comes from outside the United States. Products that move forward are marketed under the Quirky brand name; the company focuses not so much on flash branding but on highlighting the specific problem that the invention solves, she said. Products are shipped to more than 20 different countries.