DIY fun through the centuries…. Mike | July 28th, 2008

User innovation is a hot topic online and we pay close attention to it. We have always thought that the cS model was an incarnation of this type of open innovation and are proud to number ourselves among the open-source, mashup, DIY, and UGC crowds.

People innovate. We can’t help ourselves – it is in the DNA of human-kind and has been a deep-seated part of what makes us human beings. This is not unique to the internet age – there are great examples going back through history. For instance, we know that early peoples learned from one another’s inventions, tinkered around with them, bettered them over time, and shared the knowledge openly for the benefit of all. Just take a look at how spear points evolved and you get a good idea about the flow of knowledge in a broad “community.” This graphic shows the evolution of Paleoindian points over 2,500 years.

Almost a hundred years ago we saw another great burst of creativity, this one centered around the Ford Model T. I am not talking about Henry Ford’s creativity. We all know the story of how he “invented” the production assembly line after visiting a slaughterhouse and witnessing how beef was processed. I am talking about what normal people (“users” in internet-speak) did to their cars once they let their imaginations take over. One of the beauties of the Model T was its simplicity. Just about anyone could repair one and just about anyone could change one. The body of the Model T was designed such that by removing a few bolts the entire body could be removed or replaced. This modular design allowed owners to let their ideas and their creativity take over. So cool….

A power plant

A stationary power plant

A police wagon

A police paddy wagon

a mobile chapel

A mobile chapel

An ad for a tractor kit

A tractor “kit”

A fire truck

A fire truck

An army ambulance

An army ambulance

An omnibus

An omnibus

A sporty roadster

A sporty roadster

A farm turck

A farm truck

A snowmobile

An early snowmobile

A tow truck

A tow truck

A grain mill

A grain mill

From many minds, the perfect design. Post your project today and let the crowd wow you!

  • shubho_roy

    Great article, Mike! This reminds me of some strange “user innovations” that occur everyday especially in developing countries. Once it was reported that washing machines are a huge hit among Punjabi roadside restaurants (we call them Dhabas here in India). A brief investigation revealed that those dhaba-owners have found out the best way of making lassi (a traditional Punjabi drink made by blending yogurt with water and spices) in large quantities: using washing machines as giant blenders! You just never know…

Join the crowd that's raving about the crowdSPRING Blog

Get our weekly digest of can't-miss content on how to take your brand to the next level.

Creative needs?

We have 200,000 creative professionals ready to help you with custom logo design, web design, or a new company name. Take your project to the crowd!

Click to get started on

Free eBooks

interviews with graphic and web designers

12 Question Interviews with cS designers.
Get it »

contracts for graphic designers

Contracts for designers who hate contracts.
Get it »

contracts for software and website developers

Contracts for software developers who hate contracts. Get it »

Latest tweets

crowdSPRING @crowdspring
Small Business Spotlight of the Week: Orazure Hand Roasted Coffee
crowdSPRING @crowdspring
Google Rolls Out New Penguin Update to Core Algorithm

About crowdSPRING

Tens of thousands of the world's best and most successful entrepreneurs, businesses, agencies and nonprofits rely on crowdSPRING for affordable and risk-free custom logo design, web design, a new company name or other writing and design services. More than 200,000 designers and writers work on crowdSPRING. We create designs and names people love. 100% guaranteed.

Learn more »
Read previous post:
The Design Process

Many people would agree that the idea/concept is the most important part of the design process. After all, the final...