Ponoko is an online marketplace for everyone to click to make real things.

It’s where creators, digital fabricators, materials suppliers and buyers meet to make (almost) anything.

Ponoko kicked off at TechCrunch40 at the end of 2007 with a vision to reinvent how goods are designed, made and distributed worldwide. The core of this vision is the trade in product designs – kinda like the trade in music (iTunes), photos (Flickr), movies (YouTube) and software apps (iPhone). Ponoko host tens of thousands of user generated product designs, ready to be customized and made into real things with the click of a mouse.

But hosting designs is only a part of the puzzle. Importantly, they also provide the world’s first digital making system that means these product designs can be priced instantly online and made locally, as close to the point of consumption as possible.

It means goods can be made in the greenest way. Making on demand reduces warehousing and wastage. Plus, making locally emphasizes digital transportation of goods instead of the traditional shipping of physical products.

Allowing consumers to have custom goods made to their own specifications is an interesting variation on the Intention Economy. As defined by Doc Searls: “The Intention Economy grows around buyers, not sellers. It leverages the simple fact that buyers are the first source of money.” While most examples of the Intention Economy have focused on consumers making their intentions known in order to get the best prices from retailers, applying the concept to a product’s conception creates a whole new world of opportunities for consumers and designers. “Consumers have grown accustomed to shopping at retail stores where mass produced items may fail to satisfy their needs,” explains David ten Have, Ponoko’s CEO. “Ponoko ID is the world’s first online service for getting unique products custom designed just for you, without the costs and hassles involved in finding a designer, manufacturer and materials.”.

Website: www.ponoko.com

INNOVATION: 99
SOCIAL/ COMMUNITY: 95
SUSTAINABILITY: 99

COOL LIST SCORE: 97%
COOL LIST RATING: 1


THE COOL LIST profile’s INNOVATIVE, SOCIAL and ENVIRONMENTAL companies.  Each week we rate out of 10 the business in each category (a little like the Good Food Guide) and rank the companies throughout the year. The COOL LIST Provides our readers with insights from global business or local innovators providing unique and amazing business concepts and objectives.

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