Crowdfunding: Democracy of Innovation

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Each member of the MAIM Class of 2014 shares their individual experiences of innovation in the lead up to our Degree Show Exploiting Chaos: Innovation in the Making. Here, Hideki Nagaishi shares what it takes to empower individuals towards the collective efforts needed to generate and create groundbreaking innovations.

Eric Von Hippel illustrated how technological advancements could support the reallocation of resources, knowledge and information – important elements for innovation. Distribution of these used to be limited in the past, but current technologies have led to the democratisation of information, and subsequently innovation within the creative industries.


Crowdfunding is a popular example of the impact of democratisation on innovation. The World Bank defines crowdfunding as a way to raise money through donations or investments from multiple individuals on the Internet. To understand the influence of crowdfunding on innovation within the creative industry, I conducted research through my role with the Student Enterprise and Employability (SEE) department at University of the Arts London (UAL). We sent quantitative surveys to students and graduates to explore the benefits and best practices of crowdfunding. The findings were also used consider how individual artists could exploit a democratised environment to support innovation.


Each creative industry has is own network of intermediaries who represent artists and promote work to customers. These gatekeepers have great influence over the quality of work in the market, as well as popular trends. One of the impacts of crowdfunding is that individual artists can reach their audience directly and bypass gatekeepers. This increased freedom in the creative industries resembles the Temporary Autonomous Zone (T.A.Z.) Hakim Bey describes. A T.A.Z. eludes control and hierarchies and thus becomes a type of creative haven. The traditional market monopoly of the old model breaks down, leaving room for more innovations to be born from the chaos of the new freedom.


To exploit this chaos for innovation, individuals would benefit from understanding of innovation methods, such as design thinking. Design thinking is a tool for imagining future states and bringing products, services and experiences to market. Not only should information resources be democratised to support innovation, but also individuals should have wide access to training in methods of innovation in order to support wider growth in the market.


My advice to companies is to exploit the present democratised innovation environment. It could serve as an opportunity to test ideas, raise funds for projects and receive feedback regarding how to improve projects.


To learn more about crowdfunding and Hideki’s research please join us at the upcoming MA Innovation Management Degree Show Exploiting Chaos: Innovation in the Making from 18-22 June.