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Startup Aims to Leverage Crowdsourcing in Product Development C.J. Kettler's online crowdsourcing venture, Genius Crowds, aims to move product ideas from the "light bulb" stage onto store shelves.

By Kara Ohngren Prior

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

C.J. Kettler knows what it's like to run a successful startup. In 2005, she founded Lime, a popular healthy-living media company funded by Revolution, AOL co-founder Steve Case's investment company. Last year, Kettler set out with a new venture: Genius Crowds, which fishes brilliant product ideas out of people's heads and gets them into stores.

Genius Crowds harnesses the power of online crowdsourcing. "There's a new movement happening, thanks to social media and the democratization of the web," Kettler says. "Consumers have a voice, a powerful voice. We give that voice a platform in product development and innovation."

Ideas are submitted to the site for free; the community critiques them and chooses "crowd favorites." A panel of retailers, manufacturers and Genius Crowd staffers then researches the idea for marketability and selects those that hold promise.

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