Yahoo might have stopped the work-from-home policy for its employees, but elsewhere, it’s still on. This liberty of working at one’s own pace is exercised a lot by people with a creative bent of mind. And there is nothing wrong with that. Because the chances of getting the idea to create a logo of a company that wants to make socks for cats can take shape better in a peaceful environment rather than next to a guy listening to news about Euro zone bailout.
Such is the thought behind IdeaDemocracy, a platform for businesses and brands to gain access to creative talent and ideas from all across the world. At the same time it’s a simple & effective way for creative talent to find new business opportunities.
IdeaDemocracy is the brainchild of Rohit Misra an ex-Rediffusion YR, ex-Ogilvy, ex-JWT employee and Chetan Mangat, a New York-based creative director and an user-experience expert. A long sought freedom from corporate shackles and a passion to pursue something that interests both, keeps them going. Rohit describes their venture as an advertising agency which has resources across the world to cater to the need of a particular client or business. Rohit has over 20 years experience in the advertising and communication business and has worked with some of the biggest and best global agencies. A large portion of those 20 odd years were spent in convincing clients that the ideas they were selling are better than they could get anywhere else. “But I’m convinced there is no escaping the cliché – great ideas can come from anywhere. It’s simply arrogant and outdated to believe that great ideas are the sole prerogative of astronomically paid, all black wearing creative types on Madison Avenue, in Soho or Lower Parel, says Rohit. Rohit believes Internet and social media today provide a way to harness talent from everywhere. These channels are equally effective in solving the design & communication challenges that businesses face, says Rohit. And with time, this is becoming even more relevant.
Rohit explains that there are 11 million SMEs in India that produce more than 8000 products, for both, domestic consumption and exports. It is these businesses that need professional design and communication skills to market their products as they seek to grow and enter new markets. This demand is simply too large to be addressed by a handful of large design and advertising agencies alone. This in turn presents a significant opportunity for individuals with design and communication skills to provide services to these businesses. The challenge however is access to such individuals and there lies the opportunity for IdeaDemocracy.
As developed economies slow down and face little to no growth, more and more people are turning mobile workers seeking to work from home and who work on multiple jobs or projects. Sharing numbers to support this assumption, Rohit says, “A massolution report of 2012 indicates that the number of crowd workers is growing in excess of 100% a year, while the crowd creativity industry witnessed a growth rate of over 75% in 2011 and over $300 million was invested in crowd creative platforms in 2011.”
On the portal, a transaction fee and a commission is charged from the buyer and the seller of the idea. As an introductory offer and for a limited time only creating a project on the site is currently free. IdeaDemocracy has been open for over five weeks now, and have completed six projects so far. A total of 500 users have signed up on the portal from across the world.
Chetan clarifies their offering a little more by saying that although there are many “online marketplaces for skills”, creative services deserve special treatment, as they shouldn’t be commoditized. Most platforms that exist today are process and transaction orientation, where it is more about the number of designs, how quickly you can get them and how little you have to pay. No one is talking about the quality of solutions. “The point is that you can’t convert every task into a contest for original ideas,” says Chetan.
While this might work for basic logo design, webpage design or banner ads it cannot extend to higher end work. Furthermore certain tasks require extensive client/creative interaction or collaborative thinking such as brand strategy work, concept development or social media work. Typical platforms in existence are unable to deliver this. What they are trying to do is to find a way to take the creative process online and provide a holistic solution designed around best meeting the task at hand rather than converting the task to fit a particular delivery mechanism. “We think this will also ensure a greater buy-in from the design & creative community,” says Chetan.
Bootstrapped venture, IdeaDemocracy seems to be addressing a critical demand supply gap. But is there really a need? Why set up a separate portal for creativity services, rather than utilize existing portals that may be generic but already have a large user-base?