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Million Dollar Zazzle Open Innovation Challenge

Drumroll please… the moment has arrived to announce the Finalists of the Zazzle Million Dollar Open Innovation Challenge. The competition was fierce – with nearly 1,000 entrants – but these five amazing competitors rose to the top. They are, as we see it, the most innovative of the bunch. Please check out their mission statements and videos, and join with us in congratulating them for making it to the next level!

Many thanks to all who entered the Challenge. You have inspired us with your creativity and passion. We wish each of you good luck on the journey toward making your ideas and dreams come true.

In another month we will be announcing which of these five Finalists wins the Zazzle Million Dollar Open Innovation Challenge, so stay tuned!

-- The Zazzle Team

Honorable Mentions

Mission: Create a design and production platform (online app) for consumers to design fashion, buy their unique pieces and open their own virtual stores.

Modify Industries, Inc.
Mission: Modify offers high-design, co-created items. We are unique in that every product will have interchangeable pieces allowing our fans to show their own style

Spek, personal eyewear
Mission: The mission is to enable consumers to customize their own eyewear. Eyewear is a very personal and aesthetic product used by many people and in many situations. We will bring customization through 3D printing. This technology enables a far more richer customized object since it allows besides personalization, also customization of fit and shape. Our goal is to make customization easy for everyone. The proposed toolkit enables you to customize in 3D, with the product on your own face. We believe the toolkit is for a great part the key to success of customizing eyewear.

Happy Toy Machine
Mission: Our mission is to enable kids and the young at heart to create their own cool, cute, and crazy custom plush toys online.

Easy DIY Nail (Yuan Lu)
Mission: The mission of “Easy DIY Nail” is to help people show their personalities from their fingernails.

Fabric on Demand
Mission: We’re on a mission to make creative expression accessible to anyone. Fabric on Demand wants to become the platinum standard for custom printed fabric printing; making it possible and affordable for anyone to bring his or her designs, photos, or images to life on fabric.

Waggers Pet Products Inc.
Mission: RedMoon wants to be the number one super premium custom pet food online.

The 5 Finalists!

Republic Bike

Mission: "At Republic Bike, we decided to shake up familiar aesthetic conceits and expectations of what a bike should look like. In fact, we decided to leave it up to you. The only tools we offer are those to let your creativity go for a ride. You pick, choose, swap and decide, and we'll build it, box it, and ship it out. It's a bike we design and build together. It's built by us & you."


Mission: Open the world of custom fashion shoes for women with a modern approach of (custom) shoe manufacturing.


Mission: To provide the perfect nutrition bar for each individual customer.


Mission: TO PROTECT FROM EXTINCTION. To create an extended line of products that protect, preserve and honor beauty, art, craft and purpose. To join the art of traditional artisan work with a modern function. To help build local communities by supporting artisan manufacturing. Our first product, DODOcase, is a handmade iPad case that combines traditional bookbinding techniques with a modern application. DODOcase resembles a hardbound book and incorporates a modern multifunctional design that secures and cradles the iPad and includes in the design a stand case for typing or watching videos.


Mission: 1) To offer beautiful, unique accessories and home goods to people who want to engage in the design of what they wear, use, or decorate their homes with, and to establish a genuine connection between people and product through personalized and place-based design. 2) To use sustainable materials when possible and to produce all items in a way that cuts down on waste and expense, making unique, customizable products affordable. 3) To apply a modern design sensibility inspired by the natural and urban forms around us to a variety of customizable accessories and home goods that people will love.


Bing Gordon, Investment Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
Jeff Beaver, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, Zazzle
Professor Frank Piller, Co-Director of MIT's Smart Customization Group
Professor Henry Chesbrough, Faculty Director of the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation
Professor Solomon Darwin, Associate Director of UC Berkeley's Center for Open Innovation
Elizabeth Litten Miller, Head of Creative, Global Licensing and Publishing, Hasbro


  • 11/17/2011 – Challenge launch announcement
  • 11/18/2011-02/17/12 – Challenge entry period
  • 02/23/2012 – Finalists announced (5 total)
  • 02/23/2012-03/21/12 – Finalists mentoring and refinement period
  • 03/22/2012 – Winner announced by Dean Richard Lyons at the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley


  • Launch a new product or product line within 6-12 months.
  • Design product.
  • Develop supply chain.
  • Build brand and positioning.


  • Zazzle will develop online design tools & production visualization to be used on the Zazzle platform.
  • Zazzle will work with the winners to develop a launch and marketing campaign.
  • Zazzle will distribute the product to its world-wide audience. Zazzle will work with its content partners to enable micro-licensing of third-party graphics.
  • Zazzle will make introductions to potential investors.

*Complete rules are available here: The awarding of the Open Innovation Challenge prize will be subject to the execution of a mutually agreeable distribution agreement between Zazzle and the potential winner.

Presented by Zazzle at
2011 World Conference on Mass Customization,
Personalization, and Co-Creation
November 17, 2011 / San Francisco

In association with
Professor Frank Piller
Founding faculty member and Co-Director of MIT's Smart Customization Group
Professor Henry Chesbrough
Faculty Director of the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation
Professor Solomon Darwin
Associate Director of UC Berkeley's Center for Open Innovation