Is this the new business model for cheap concept work?

Here’s another one:
Is this the new prevailing business model for getting cheap concept work done? Just make it a contest and watch the ideas come rolling in from the out of work designers.
I get the point of competitions but some like this where they want full user boards and the whole line/matching collection just seems way too much like an actual product brief as opposed to a real contest for nationwide exposure, etc…
I don’t know, it just seems very suspect, especially since they’re popping up all over the place all of a sudden and especially for types of simple products where it’s easier to just run with it from a rendering.
If Motorola did a contest for re-thinking the future of telecommunications, that can be a contest. Anything moving forward from that will require a lot of work on their end. But a “contest” for coming up with the next door stop which has to be able to be sold for under $2, feasible to release in a year, and you must include target market and packaging ideas along with control drawings seems like a tactic for getting a lot of ideas in for less than the cost of hiring a consultancy.

well, it’s the free market, if people want to participate then they can. If they can actually get good results from this kind of thing, more power to them.

It annoys metoo, maybe it shouldn’t but…
I also hate the slightly patronizing tone, “the results will be announced on{…}, so get your creative juices flowing”, it does get them flowing but not in a good way.

Its mostly annoying to practicing/working/freelance/unemployed industrial designers.

Say your Aunt Tilda always wanted to ‘play’ designer and wow - here’s some company that may actually give her money for her idea, which she can brag about at the next craft fair. Or a student with nothing to show in their portfolio, wanting some exposure.

I agree it sounds like way too much work for a little contest like this, but yeah, companies can do whatever they want. At least they don’t charge $500 to enter, and then another $500 if you are selected as a “finalist”, and then hump your leg for further entries and money.

Yeah, this sounds like a call for cheap freelance work then it does a “contest”. Speaking as an unemployed industrial designer I’m really torn as to whether I should be compromising myself this much for a thinly veiled ploy to get cheap work out of someone, of if it’s worth it if I can contact them and confirm whether or not the submissions I make would be MY intellectual property if it’s not used. I’ve done mostly furniture design so it would be a good portfolio addition if my work IS still considered mine. Basically I’d consider it a low paying freelance project. Making $1,200 for designing a line of hardware wouldn’t be terrible, making $300, or having them swindle me by rejecting my work now but using it later down the road if they are that sketchy wouldn’t be worth it.

That’s where I see the problem. If you want freelance work, hire the freelancers who should get paid for their time seeing as how they’re providing a service. The risk is on the company (but also the profits if they make the products). But with these “contests”, the risk is going to the designer who will be working for free and only gets paid if they “win the contest”.
I would say that if you do something like this, keep these contests limited specifically to students, as an extra. You may get good ideas but they most likely won’t have the level of skills or refinement that you would get from a professional freelancer (that you would have to pay for). It’s too tempting for an underworked pro designer to grab something like this, then the companies start to expect to get pro work this way (free, or minimally compensated if used).
I think this is how the current restaurant/tipping model started. After seeing servers making extra money in tips, the bosses see that as a sign that they can lower the base price. Everyone accepts it then you’re gradually pushed into a working for tips/bonus/commission only type of atmosphere. Or for us, like a royalties only system but not as potentially lucrative. You just don’t want to start going down a certain path because then people become used to it and it becomes impossible to get out of. So I guess it’s up to the designers to hold on to their own self worth and not enter these things no matter how tough the economic climate is, keep these contests for the students, housewives, and tinkerers.

I know what we should do. We should design and make the same kind of stuff they are asking for under our own brand and compete with those cheapskates in the marketplace. Put those guys out of business caue they can’t compete with an army of designers getting into their industry. Thanks for the tip suckas, we now know where to focus our attention.

I can go down to the park and watch guys play basketball for free, but that isnt keeping the Boston Garden from selling out.
My point is that these free competitions should not be viewed as a threat. Maybe it is a good thing. these companies are starting to realize the importance of design. its only a matter of time before they realize the importance of good design.

Right out of college i wasnt able to find a design job, but competitions like the ones mentioned gave me a chance to work on my skills and get better. With out competing in those free competitions i might never have developed to the point of a paid designer.