BEICK: Done with the traditional and dull city bikes? build your OWN!

Do you recognize the feeling that finding your bike in the city depots is like finding a needle in a haystack? Or do you feel like traditional black or grey bikes are just not that cool anymore and you feel the urge that you want to express yourself in any way possible? If the answer is yes, BEICK is maybe the ideal solution for your problem!

Beick is a Dutch company who offers their (potential) customers the possibility to create their own unique bike. From a large offer of different ‘standard bikes’ BIECKS makes is possible to customize your bike to match your own preferences and needs. They want to approach the customer segment that feels that riding a bike is more than a functional activity and/or people who wants to express and share their creativity in every activity they during the day.

How does it work? Beick offers the customers the possibility to customize their bikes by using an online toolkit (based on DPI) on their website which guides the customer through a process to build his own ‘unique’ bike, step-by-step. You start from scratch by choosing the ‘basics’ as the type of gear used in the bike, the colour and size of the tires, the type of seat and so on until you reach a fully operational bike. Assuming that there will be questions raised how changing these functionalities can lead to an assurance that your bike is YOUR bike and that it is unique, Beick has developed step two. This step will be done by deciding which colours are used on the different parts of your bike. After choosing and customizing ‘your’ bike it is possible to finalize your bike by offering a large variety of accessories that will be attached to your bike. Think of different type of bells, baskets or lock that is used on your bike. At the end it should lead to a unique bike, which is according to Beick affordable, durable and delivered with a high quality service. The service on the bike is five years, on the accessories two years and any possible reparations or modifications is done at your home by a qualified bicycle repairer.


The customer input is used actively and they function as co-creators for mass customization of the bikes of Beick. Although the customers mainly benefit themselves from being a co-creator, Beick also shows the last sold customized bikes and the ten most popular ‘standard’ bikes which is also beneficiary for others. They can gather inspiration or even purchase the same bikes as others did before them. Beick has done a good job to minimize process complexity by offering a clear and easy step-by-step method to finalize your bike and not offering too many variations in design. Although this has a positive outcome on the perceived ease-of-use of the online toolkit I think it also hinders the product utility of the bikes of BIECK. It is not possible to choose any possible colour, but only some standard colours. Also the accessories could be more refreshing in terms of creativity. For example they could work together with a company as Veloretti which offers unique accessories to really let your bike stand out a biking country such as the Netherlands.

In my opinion Beick has a big potential in a country as the Netherlands, where 34% of the daily trips shorter than 7.5km is done by making use of a bicycle. Combine this with the current trend of being different and potential high revenues and high premiums. However, the current concept of Beick has some flaws that hinders to reach his full potential. The website is only offered in Dutch, which already cuts a share of the population in the Netherlands, which do not understand the language sufficiently to order a bike at Beick. Assuming that their potential customers mainly  live in the bigger cities in the Netherlands such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam, where extrovertness is more accepted and present, translating the website in different languages will be highly advised for increasing revenue. Furthermore, the customization is not that intensive enough to fully exploit the creativity of the user and warrant the uniqueness of the bike, something that is promised by Beick and is their main value proposition.

Concluding,Beick is a creative way of involving customers in the creation process and offering them mass customization of bikes. However, at the moment the base for selling a unique bike is implemented well, but they should innovate themselves to protectBeick from competition and devaluation of the bikes. When the amount of bikes increases and customers will notice a lot of similarities among bikes, will probably makes them feel less ‘unique’, which is a high risk forBeick and should be handled immediately.





Introducing The World’s First 3D printed Electric Vehicle – The Strati

One of the world’s most exciting open source co-creation initiatives is Local Motors. Part online platform, part physical business, Local Motors combines co-creation and micro-manufacturing to bring hardware innovation to market at unprecedented speed. The platform consists of a global co-creation community made up of enthusiasts, hobbyist innovators and professional. Besides the online platform, the organisation operates an international network of so-called micro-factories.

The way it works is as follow. On the Local Motors Platform, users are able to share and evaluate ideas, prototypes and projects for motor vehicles with a global community of like-minded innovators. Through a voting process, users decide what projects get continued and developed. If a prototype is chosen, it will be produced in a micro-factory in low volume. As it is brought to market for sale, Local Motor’s sales team and e-commerce platform help to sell the product. Finally, if successful, each one’s contributions get rewarded. A percentage of sales revenue for each co-created product is paid to the community members who made a contribution to the vehicle.

The use of micro factories is revolutionary in its own right. A micro-factory refers to a small factory able to produce small dimension products. Such micro-factory’s main advantage is to save great amount of resources in terms of space, energy, materials, money and time. Micro-factories are highly automated, containing automated systems such as tools, assembly systems, quality inspection, replacement and material input. Each of Local Motor’s micro-factories is a place where innovators could develop their own projects and consumers are welcome to visit, watch progress and potentially buy their products.

Local Motor’s motto is “We make the coolest machines together.” And hell, they do. In 2015, the company is expected to launch the world’s first 3D printed electric car, named the Strati. As the company puts it, “There is nothing conventional about this car, the way it’s made, or the company behind it.” First to note is that the Strati is fully functional and is aimed for (small) production for the road. The car is developed according to Local Motor’s principles of designing and developing open source with a global community. It is made from ABS plastic in combination with carbon fiber. In order to get the material right, the company has been through a process of extensive material testing, sponsored by SABIC. All car parts that could be brought down to a single material piece have been 3D printed, including the frame, the exterior body and interior features. Mechanical components such as batteries, motors and wiring, however, come from the electric powered Renault Twizy. Currently, the Strati takes about 44 hours to print, although the organisation aims to bring printing time back to 24 hours. As soon as the Strati is cleared by US regulations later this year, it will enter public roads.


The Strati is an amazing outcome of open source co-creation. The automobile shows that a global community of innovators could complete the design and development of complex products. Interestingly, the business model of paying royalties according to one’s role in the development process works motivating enough for engineers to participate in these projects. One wonders what this may behold for the future.

What else will we be co-creating in the future according to Local Motor’s principles?

Creativity of the Crowd – Pornhub’s Ad Contest

“Do you have what it takes to be the Creative Director of the world’s No.1 adult website?”

Last year, the YouTube of Porn, otherwise called Pornhub, challenged creative enthusiasts to come up with non-pornographic advertising concepts to advertise the platform to a wider audience ( The adult website coined its search for ad material a hunt for SFW (Suitable For Work) advertising. As the contest stated, “Traditionally, porn has been a taboo subject – but the fact is, over 35 million people visit every day. How do we reach the next 35 million? We need a national advertising campaign that can be channelled through mainstream media (” In order to succeed, contestant had to come up with family friendly ideas that still manage to convey the nature of the site ( The person with the best idea would be awarded with a one-year contract to be Pornhub’s creative director.

Through the use of wordplay and subtle imaging, designers and ad creatives all over the globe submitted brilliant and subtle images and videos. One entry displays a bus stop outside of a university campus, displaying a two meter high white poster ad with the copy Where are you getting off?, subtly accompanied with the Pornhub logo. Another image displays typical male and female toilet symbols in combination of male-female, as well as female-female, female-man-female and many others, accompanied with the quote We’ve got it all. Yet another minimalist ad shows the shadow of a bare hand with the text America’s Largest Do-It-Yourself Website.

pornhub-finalists-13-2014 pornhub-finalists-07-2014 pornhub-finalists-11-2014

This crowdsourcing describes a new web-based business model that harnesses the creative solutions of a distributed network of individuals through what amounts to an open call for proposals (Howe, 2006). According to some, the creative industry increasingly relies on crowdsourcing to find solutions to problems. Mau (2004) states that problem solving is no longer the activity of the individual genius, but he is hesitant to a business model in which problem solving is radically distributed beyond the boundaries of professionalism. Clearly, he is not the only one convinced of the power of crowdsourcing over professionalism. As one commenter on the article notes, “So does Pornhub specialize in amateur? Pay for great ideas, work with people or agencies with a track record or success, you might just get great ideas (” As Brabham (2008) notes, “where design teams and other group collaboration rely on collections of experts, the wise crowd insists on the presence of non-experts, on the presence of amateurs.”

In the case of Pornhub, I think their quest for creative ads is the perfect example of consumer value creation. Even though the contestants might be amateurs, they have come up with some pretty unique ways to communicate the brand to a wider audience. Besides the results of the contest, the company Pornhub has profited from the PR of the competition, it has managed to actively involve its consumers in its business and has found itself a new creative director.

Now, judge for yourself. What do you think of Pornhub’s contests that challenges the crowd to come up with subtle ad’s to reach a wider audience in a family friendly way while still conveying the nature of the website? For one, do you think professional ad agencies could have come up with better ideas than the contest results?


  • Howe, J. (2006) ‘Crowdsourcing: A Definition’, Crowdsourcing: Tracking the Rise of the Amateur .
  • Adweek
  • Brabham, C. 2008. Crowdsourcing as a Model for Problem Solving. The International Journal of Research Into New Media Technologies.
  • Mau, B. with Leonard, J. and The Institute Without Boundaries (2004) Massive Change. New York: Phaidon.
  • Pornhub Campaign Tumblr (SFW)
  • Daily Dot

Make money in the supermarket!!

Are my products placed in the right shelves? Is my in-store activation plan executed perfectly across all super markets? These are questions marketers of major brands face on a daily basis, and Roamler may have found the most innovative solution to answer them so far!

Major consumer goods enterprises have always relied on field teams to evaluate whether their designed marketing strategies were well-executed in-store. A rather time and resource intensive endeavor, seeing as these would have to travel between all different supermarkets present in our country. The Dutch start-up Roamler noticed how this was causing a problem for major brands and thought up a creative solution to simplify the process. Seeing that most people have smartphones with cameras these days, why can’t we let consumers themselves do the work?

Roamler has made smart use of a number of trends including the power of crowdsourcing, the mobile trend, the trend of gamification and the fact that apps can now operate location based.  These features are built into a slick looking mobile interface in order to bring the concept of value co-creation to the retail industry. In principle, Roamler allows for consumer goods organizations to ask questions or set out tasks to users of the platform. The users closest to the task’s location will get an update and may opt to complete the task in return for either money, points or badges. Typically, such tasks will include evaluations of the shelf backed up with a photograph.

According to Saarijärvi et al. (2013) it is important in any value co-creation effort to have a clear picture of what value is created for whom. In this scenario it is the information that is of value to the companies. Companies can use this real-time information to quickly assess where the retail execution could be improved, and mobilize their field employees to make quick adjustments accordingly. For the users it is the monetary reward as well as the possibility to ‘level up’ and unlock new features that creates value to them. In short, the company quickly gets the information it needs, while the user earns some instant benefits for a minor effort. A classic win-win scenario.

Not surprisingly, this simple but effective use of co-creating value between consumers and consumer goods brands was not left unnoticed. In 2011, the year Roamler started, the start-up won the Accenture Innovation Audience Award in the category Media, Communication & High Tech.

Having read about this easy way to earn some extra cash, you may have already whipped out your smartphone and opened up your appstore. Unfortunately, Roamler follows a rather strict entry program and only users who have received a personal invite may participate. Such an invite can only be sent by Roamler users who have at least reached ‘level 3’. When selected, Roamler offers a training program which the new user needs to complete before being sent out on real tasks. This way, Roamler tries to build an exclusive community of high quality Roamlers which can be chartered to participate in tasks of the various clients.

Saarijärvi, H., Kannan, P., & Kuusela, H. (2013). Value co-creation: theoretical approaches and practical implications. European Business Review, 6-19.

Aren’t we free-riders after all?

Nowadays, many online public goods rely on the input of the users. In fact, co-created open source software communities (e.g. Linux, Firefox, and Apache), content sharing networks (e.g. YouTube, Instagram), and open content productions like Wikipedia entirely rely on voluntary user contributions (Zhang & Zhu, 2011).

The group size of a particular community plays an important role in the incentives of users to contribute. For years, the free-rider hypothesis has been the dominant focus in the literature on private provision of public goods. This theory implies that when the size of a group grows, the contribution level of individuals declines (Olsen, 1965). However, over the years, researchers have renounced this pure altruism based view. It appeared that there was more than just the utility from total provisions of the public good that affected contribution incentives in public goods.

The importance of impure altruism made its appearance. Multiple studies (e.g. Ribar & Wilhelm, 2002; Andreoni, 2006) disproved the free-rider hypothesis that solely takes pure altruism into account. For instance, they showed that when the group size becomes sufficiently large, the importance of pure altruism disappears and on the other hand social benefits become the main motive for users to contribute.

Unlike the many experimental based studies on the effect of group size on individual-level contributions, Zhang and Zhu (2011) used field data in the form of the Chinese-language edition of Wikipedia to study the relationship.

Between October 2002 (the start of the Chinese version of the site) – July 2008, the website has been blocked and unblocked 5 times (see figure 1). In these blocked periods, people from mainland China could not access Wikipedia and thus not contribute to the site.

Zhang and Zhu (2011) focused their empirical analysis on the third block since it was the longest of the five blocks (nearly a year) and it received most publicity. This last mentioned point took away the concern that individuals were unaware of changes in the environment, something that impacts contribution levels.

By examining contribution levels of users, the researchers found out that the contribution levels of non-blocked users had significantly reduced (42.8% on average) during the block. Contributors who value social benefits more, reacted more strongly on the change by contributing even less in the blocked period. The idea behind this decline is that contributors receive social benefits when they contribute to the public good. The shrunken group size subsequently reduced these benefits.

Overall, the theoretical contribution of this research is the on field data based support that, in a setting with a large group size, social benefits indeed dominate the free-riding incentives. This outcome provides an explanation of the existence of many public goods with a large base of contributors. Furthermore, this paper helps to explain the observation that people prefer contributing to large online communities.

This outcome can be of practical relevance for users and administrators of other public goods available on the internet, since it emphasizes the importance of social effects in the provision of (online) public goods.


Andreoni, J. (2006) “Philanthropy,” in Serge-Christophe Kolm and Jean Mercier Ythier, eds., Handbook of the Economics of Giving, Altruism and Reciprocity: Applications, Vol. 2, North Holland, 2006, chapter 18.

Olson, M. (1965). The logic of collective action: Public goods and the theory of group (p. 176). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Ribar, D. C., & Wilhelm, M. O. (2002). Altruistic and joy‐of‐giving motivations in charitable behavior. Journal of Political Economy, 110(2), 425-457.

Zhang, M. and Zhu, F. 2011. Group Size and Incentives to Contribute: A Natural Experiment at Chinese WikipediaAmerican Economic Review 101(4) 1601-1615.

Photo:, accessed 03-04-2015,

Getting paid while doing nothing at all!

Throughout the world people join forces to build the kind of economy that we want to see. We share our homes, our cars, our knowledge, our time and our money. SnappCar is a Dutch platform offering a mediation service for those who want to rent their car to others and for those who want to rent a car. With this service SnappCar creates more consumer value, but it also asks for active consumer participation. Ronald Kleverlaan of CrowdfundingHub indicated SnappCar as the number one amongst all crowd-funding projects last year. The crowd-funding yielded more than half a million Euros through crowd-funding!

According to SnappCar, every day 23 million cars are not driving for 23 hours a day in Europe. This is waste of products, space and money, especially because a lot of people cannot afford to have a car themselves. SnappCar’s mission for 2018 is to have 1% less cars in Europe, which will lead to a reduction in CO2-emision as a result of the production of cars. SnappCar thinks they can make this impact by letting car owners earn money by renting their car to others for shorter periods of time.

They idea is very simple, you have something that costs a lot of money and you only use it for a small amount of time, so why not rent this product to others, to earn some money back? Besides the money you earn, you also help others by providing them your car for a lower price then the traditional car rental agency. As stated on Snappcar’s website “You will live a more conscious life and you meet friendly people in your neighborhood.” SnappCar provides all-risk insurance, 24/7 road assistance, contracts, payments and a trustworthy community, as to ensure that participants do not have to worry paperwork and other negative side effects.

SnappCar is a user-friendly platform as it provides all the information you need when renting a car. As you can see below on the images, it has information about the car owner, the average rating, the price per day, some images of the car itself and the specifications of the car. It is also possible to read some reviews or post a review yourself after borrowing a car. These reviews and ratings help other users make their decision to rent a car more easily. In the United States, SnappCar just received as one of the first Dutch companies a B Corporation certification. B Lab awards this label to companies that achieve solving social and environmental goals.


A major negative effect of the car sharing platforms is that traditional companies such as car manufacturers, car dealers, but most of all car rental agencies will face a potentially huge decline in sales. This counts for other sharing platforms such as Airbnb as well, but in the end the big winners of the sharing economy are the consumer as they can easily get cheaper products and services. But in order to achieve this result renting the products should be as easy as owning the product!