Daily Archives: 31 July 2008

Design classics – the Bic Crystal ballpoint pen

Often when talking to innovative designers and inventors in the Business & IP Centre, I discover they have a great fear of having their intellectual property stolen. Of course there are many examples where this has occurred. Our very own inventor Mandy Haberman had her idea for the Anywayup Cup copied, and had to win a legal battle to regain her rights. This experience has turned her into something of spokesperson on the topic.

However for many new products such as the Wattson mentioned in a previous blog post, the key is being first to market, and keeping ahead of the competition.

The other winning approach is to produce a design classic first time out. A case in point is the Bic Crystal ballpoint pen. Designed by Marcel Bich, more than 100 billion Bic pens have been sold since 1950 – enough to draw a line to the moon and back more than 320,000 times, according to the Observer newspaper. The only variation on the original design was to create a hole in the cap to prevent choking.

The pen has even become part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and has been reinventing in various guises.

Re-design your world with RedesignMe

For those of you who get as frustrated as I do with poorly designed products, you will be pleased to know there is now a place you can go to air your grievances. There is even a chance that the product manufacturers will take note and listen to your improvement suggestions.

Just pay a visit to RedesignMe and start a new topic. Or add you comments to the hundreds of suggestions already on the website.

For those of you who are a source of new ideas the site could even pay you for input into new product suggestions.

According to SpringWise, product manufacturers pay RedesignMe to establish “RDM Challenges,” through which a new product concept is presented and the site’s 1,000 or so active members are asked to react to it. Currently on the site, for instance, is one from the international DECT Forum, a group of wireless communications companies that are seeking product ideas based on CAT-iq (short for Cordless Advanced Technology – Internet and Quality).

Beginning with an initial proposed concept, users are free to modify the current design or upload their own ideas, using any combination of comments, sketches, pictures, mood-boards, movies, prototypes or total redesigns. In exchange, they are rewarded with RDMs—RedesignMe’s online currency, which is convertible into products in the online RDM Shop such as mp3-players, game consoles and gift cards. RDM Challenges can be open to all users or only a select few. Ideas generated on the site are then used as input by the manufacturer’s R&D team or professional designers, who decide on the final concept.