The internet is changing product design by reducing the risk that a product might fail. Scott Wilson is a designer based in Chicago that has worked for Nike, Motorola, IDEO and now runs his own design firm called MNML. Scott and his team designed a watch band for the new iPod Nano so it could be used as a watch. Before actually manufacturing it they posted their design on Kickstarter to try to get enough backers to fund the product. They needed $15,000 in pre-orders to make the product and with 27 days left they already have $155,097 in pre-orders. Check out their pitch video to learn more about the product.
This success starts to put some pressure on established consumer products companies that outsource their product design. It starts to put control in the designers hands. If they can go direct to consumers with sites like Kickstarter, do they even need the clients anymore? Fee for service relationships might not make as much sense. A designers true vision can be presented to a customer rather than a watered down version that has gone through the corporate gauntlet.