The Betterific Blog

Connecting consumers with brands to crowdsource and innovate on product ideas.


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Crowdsourced Ideas for Television Programming – Meet George Roche

Betterific gets a lot of ideas, suggestions and feedback relating to a wide variety of topics. This week we’re featuring an idea from one of our innovative members that has struck everyone’s fancy at Betterific. About a week ago, George Roche posted this betterif: “Wouldn’t it be better if the olympics also showed normal people doing the winter olympic events to give viewers a deeper appreciation of the athletes?” A few of us responded to the idea thinking it would be a hilarious  hybrid between a sporting event/Jackass episode/American Idol… and then a few of us were thinking along the lines of more inspirational programming. Take someone who’s always had the dream of being an athlete and follow them through the process of training to be one and see what it takes to succeed (a la Biggest Loser).

The nice thing about crowdsourcing ideas for such creative topics like television programming is that there are numerous directions one could go that would all seemingly delight audiences, and apparently we’re not the only ones to recognize this. You may have heard that Amazon has started crowdsourcing feedback to get people’s reactions to pilot programming they’re developing for Amazon Prime’s on-demand television series. Depending on the number of votes that each pilot receives, decisions are made whether to put it into full scale production or to drop the show and find another. An article from last year in Entrepreneur magazine (Crowdsourcing’s New Platform: Prime Time Reality TV, by Catherine Clifford) details that CBS started working on a project for a television series that actually uses the crowd to decide which businesses should win money to fund their ventures, in an interesting Shark Tank twist. So far, we haven’t seen this show, called Crowd Rules, actually air… perhaps because it would have been more useful to ask the crowd first whether they’d be interested in watching this type of show.

And this again is why we love what Betterific can do and how awesome ideas can provide great value when they get to the right people. So, without further ado… here’s George explaining his vision of the idea:

Wouldn't it be better if the olympics also showed normal people doing the winter olympic events to give viewers a deeper appreciation of the athletes?GG: Explain your idea in a little more depth. What do you envision exactly?

GR: While watching the Sochi winter Olympics at a bar, I kept hearing the same comment from people along the lines of, “I think I could be an olympic bobsledder. It doesn’t even look that hard.” To which I would reply, “prove it.” Basically, I thought it would be fun to give some perspective on just how remarkable Olympic and professional athletes truly are by having normal people take a stab at it. Having some normal person trying to bobsled, figure skate, or curl would be interesting to watch. It would be both amusing and also quiet the people with inflated heads about how they could have been Olympians. And really this concept could apply to any pro sport or sporting event.

GG: Who would you like to see take this idea and run with it? Is it an idea for a reality TV show or a new sporting event perhaps? 

GR: A TV show or web series would be a great format for this, and it could be done for a range of sports. What I’m picturing is American Gladiator meets Most Extreme Elimination Challenge where you are getting normal people to complete physical activities and then compare their results with a professional (or retired professional) athlete. Watch Usain Bolt smoke a slightly overweight mid-thirty year old. Or Justin Verlander blast a fastball by someone. Though the ultimate is really US football where people love to berate players for dropping catches…that they themselves would be able to complete maybe one out of a thousand times.

GG: Why do you think this is a good idea? Who would benefit from it?

GR: The benefit would really go to the athletes themselves because it would help ground people’s expectations and also highlight their skills. It would give a healthier appreciation of olympians and pro athletes across the board. Plus it would also be good for a laugh.

GG: What do you think about all the upvotes your idea has gotten?

GR: The upvotes validate that people would like the opportunity to see what your average person is capable of athletically. It also validates that it’s kind of hard to appreciate some sports that you’ve never played, or even seen live. Watching a cross country skier collapse at the end of the race is both inspiring and terrifying. But it begs the question, “how well could I have done?”

Thanks George for being such a great Betterific user!

Written by Gwen Gurley

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Betterific Travel Contest Winner – Meet Meia Geddes

One of our winner's betterifs from the Travel Site Contest

One of our winner’s betterifs from the Travel Site Contest

Did you ever wonder how travel sites could be made better? After just booking a trip to China I think I have about a dozen ideas floating around in my head that would vastly improve that experience. And so have many of our Betterific members. Every month or so we have sponsored campaigns on Betterific to give our members a specific topic to post ideas about with the chance to win a fantastic prize. A few months ago we had a campaign done in partnership with Spark Experience that was sponsored by an anonymous company looking to enter the travel space. For our Travel Site Contest we sent out an email to our member base asking them to brainstorm and post ideas on how to improve travel sites.

Here are a few examples of some of my favorite Betterifs from this campaign:

An example of a high ranking betterif on Betterific.com

betterif3

Betterif2

A travel site contest betterif posted on betterific.com

The campaign ran for two weeks with a grand total of 217 Betterifs posted by members. As an incentive, the contest offered a $500 voucher to travel anywhere in the continental US. Our winner, Meia Geddes, is a dedicated Betterific member with 120 (and counting) Betterifs of her own.

Below is an annotated interview with our illustrious contest winner!

GG: Tell me a little bit about how you got started using Betterific.

MG: I began using Betterific around May 2013, and ever since, I’ve felt like I’m missing out if I don’t go on Betterific every week or so to see the list of “Recent” ideas posted. I tend to like trying different online platforms, but often abandon them—for taking up too much psychological space, creating too much noise, lacking meaning, and so on—yet there’s nothing like the experience of discovering or creating a new idea, and I think that’s why I keep returning to Betterific.

GG: For the travel website campaign that you won, you were selected as the winner based on the overall quality of all your travel related ideas. Are you passionate about travel? Which of your ideas did you like the best? Can you elaborate a little bit on that idea?

MG: I’m very passionate about travel, and am privileged to have had the chance to travel quite a bit, especially with family located in different geographical regions. I think my favorite idea for the Travel Contest was, “Wouldn’t it be better if there was a travel website that, after you completed booking a destination, compiled and suggested geography-specific literature based on ratings from Goodreads or Amazon, for where you were going.” This was a really specific idea, but I liked its cross-disciplinary nature. I get excited about ideas that involve an intersection between two seemingly disparate realms. I guess I would argue that experiencing a landscape through literature enriches one’s lived experience of that space and that all travelers should consider reading texts that involve the places they are traveling to.

GG: What was the prize? Have you used it? Are you happy you won?!

MG: The prize was a roundtrip ticket for up to $500 to travel anywhere in the Continental U.S. and I’ve used it for a ticket between the East Coast and Seattle, WA, to travel to my cousin’s wedding this March. I was thrilled to have won!

GG: Why do you like using Betterific?

MG: I love ideas. I view Betterific as an inherently optimistic, future-oriented site. Its very existence has made me think more particularly about different problems I encounter in daily life and how they might be solved. After coming up with an idea, I always Google it to see if it’s already been implemented—more often than not, it has been, and I feel this tremendous surge of pride for human innovation (and a bit of a let down that I wasn’t the one to come up with the idea in the first place!).

GG: What “betterif” could you give us right now off the top of your head?

MG: Given that Google has Science Fair Contests for students ages 13-18, I might suggest something like “Wouldn’t it be better if Google offered prose and poetry contests to students under age 18.”  Maybe a “Best Websites Contest” (most innovative, best graphics, etc.) could be fun as well.

Thank you Meia for being such a wonderful Betterific user!

Written by Gwen Gurley


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Game changers: Betterific’s story and why you need to use it

Here’s what Betterific is: It’s a social platform that allows you to share your ideas with the community, get feedback on those ideas and communicate them to companies and brands who you want to listen. It’s so much fun to use, and it’s revolutionary. With all the emphasis on crowdsourcing today, it’s no surprise that we would eventually get there with ideas. If you can’t get your voice heard by anyone, you may as well have never had the idea. Betterific gives your ideas a sounding board. You get heard, you get feedback and you get exposure. Our vision for Betterific is that it will give our users a direct line of communication to the people who have the ability to make the ideas they hear a reality. We’ve got a few companies already partnering with us and we have regular contests with prizes for those with the best ideas. With our first post we want to present you with just a little history on who we are and why we are so excited to be making things better through crowdsourcing innovation.

So who is behind the Betterific vision anyway?  It’s a dynamic trio to say the least. Micha Weinblatt, Jonathan Schilit and Brad Cater (who previously founded Crooked MonkeyWaveborn and Snaptalent, respectively) are the innovators behind Betterific. Micha and Jonathan grew up in the same neighborhood, have been friends since grade school, and they both attended the University of Maryland together.  It goes without saying that they both share the entrepreneurial spirit too. Like any good company, the concept for Betterific arose from a simple problem and an “ah-ha” moment.

So let me ask you…Have you ever taken fresh sheets out of the dryer, gone to put them on your bed only to become increasingly frustrated because you keep putting the short side of the sheet on the long side of the bed? Isn’t it insane just how much time you can waste on such a simple task? Micha was doing just this one day when the thought struck…”Wouldn’t it be better if fitted bed sheets had length and width indicators so they’d be easy to put on the mattress?” We all have moments like this. A light-bulb goes off, a great idea is born…. but what next? Surely someone could take that idea and put it into action, right? If only there were a better, more engaging way to communicate such simple but provocative ideas to companies that already make those products rather than the old and unfriendly “contact us” form on a cold corporate web page…

Micha and Jonathan had a pretty good feeling that a social wesbite could do the job so they enlisted the help of Brad (a friend of a friend with website coding experience) to round out the team. It would need to be different from facebook and twitter since innovation requires a more collaborative environment. If people had an open space where they could submit ideas and vote on how to make their favorite products and brands better, a sort of digital suggestion box, they could create the best platform necessary for true innovation.  At the same time they could revolutionize how companies source their product and services ideas while allowing them to build better customer relationships. They submitted the idea for Betterific to the 2012 Dreamit Ventures program in Philadelphia and were accepted. The trio moved to Philly for three months and began the intensive process of building Betterific.

Here we are almost a year later and our members have embraced Betterific, submitting thousands of ideas, suggestions, and feedback on hundreds of products and ideas. We are inspired by this fact which is why we are working hard to make the Betterific site more user friendly. With this blog we will be providing information on what our team is up to as well as upcoming campaigns. Thus far, Betterific has done several amazing campaigns with ConAgra Foods and the Washington Nationals brands. We’ve got a few more in the pipeline and we hope we can announce them to all of you very soon! In the meantime, we encourage our users to keep posting all their fantastic ideas and share Betterific with their friends! We want more fantastic innovators to join our site!

Keep tuning in to our blog for updates on the best ideas we’re seeing on Betterific, interviews with the winners of our campaigns, and other news on crowdsourcing innovation. And of course, if you haven’t done so already, please go to Betterific.com and sign up! You need to use Betterific because the more ideas there are, the better the site gets. The more ideas that get communicated  the bigger the impact we can have on the world around us. Be a game changer!

Written by Gwen Gurley