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Startups sharing their product

Nowadays tech startups are being launched at crowdfunding initiatives. Sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are great platforms to gather feedback and raise money from potential customers. The audience -potential buyers and investors- can be asked for input on product development improvements before anything gets launched on the market. Also, in exchange for funding extra product features can be offered. As customers have a say on the final product, co-creation happens quite often. As it is online however, everything is intangible. Due to this it is not an optimal platform to stimulate co-creation. In many instances potential customers prefer to touch and experience produces themselves, in an offline environment.
There is where Permanent Future Lab comes into play. A movement that shares the newest technological innovations at physical spaces. Every location serves as a co-creation space where anybody can experience, test and discover innovative hardware based upon reciprocity.

Startups sharing their product

Why should you share your prototype?

As a starter and producer in general it is increasingly more complex to stand out in the crowd and to make a difference with a great innovative idea. One of the reasons for this? There is a growing number of IT & Internet related products on the market. Look around on crowdfunding platforms and you will see many starters offering wearables, Internet of Things products, robots, drones and Virtual Reality devices. Another reason is the unknown customer’s demand: companies should learn what the end-user really values. Inventive and successful companies understand this and follow specific processes in order to keep on growing, while staying innovative.
One of those companies having such a process embedded is Google. Susan Wojcicki a former Google's Senior Vice President of Advertising clearly explains this as follows: "Watching users ‘in the wild’ as they use our products is the best way to find out what works, then we can act on that feedback. It’s much better to learn these things early and be able to respond than to go too far down the wrong path". Interesting to add here is that this way of working is lean based.

Watch users in the wild

Permanent Future Labs prefer to share anything open source: open hardware, -software and -data. Because open source means mixing and matching hardware with software and data, with endless possibilities of tweaking, users can get really wild with it!
The Internet of Things, for example (the name given to the interconnection of everyday devices from appliances in your home to automobiles with built in sensors), offers ample of opportunity to discover new opportunities. Recently such a internet connected device was being shared at one of the labs: MisterBrightLight, a smart office desk equipped with the latest gadgets and techniques. Visitors gave brilliant feedback for further improvement and additional features the manufacturers themselves didn’t think of.

Where to go?

Permanent Future Lab recently opened its doors, in October 2014. It is located in the heart of the Netherlands, at one of the 80 worldwide locations of meeting space Seats2Meet. In the midst of 400 available seats, the lab is situated. As such co-workers with different backgrounds are able to join, test and co-create with hardware producers. They and other visitors can also look around to see and play with multiple robots, soldering irons and workbenches. A Google Hangout Studio is available where one can connect with others and broadcast video-chats with findings discovered in the lab.

Although the lab is just there for a few months, the makers society and producers from different locations worldwide have shown interest to open up other labs and share products. For example, the American Dash & Dot robots from are available at the lab.
On Fridays Permanent Future Lab can be also found at the Seats2Meet PopUp in Utrecht Central Station, where 2 million people pass by on a monthly basis (quite an impressive amount of people in Dutch perspective).
As a starter in Hong Kong this can be an interesting concept too. Your prototype and business can be further developed. There is a strict selection though! As space is limited and there is a strict philosophy being followed only the most exclusive, disruptive innovation is being shared!

Startups sharing their product

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