Make48 Invent-a-thon is Coming to TV

posted may 22, 2017

At Make48, 17 teams of two to four people are given a theme (such as Eco-Friendly Household Product or barbeque), and they have 48 hours to invent a product, build a prototype, and develop marketing materials to sell that product in the consumer market. During the 48-hour competition, the teams can consult with Tool Techs — professional inventors/fabricators who offer insight and advice — along with industry A-listers such as our own Bobby and Judy Edwards (part of Squatty Potty’s founding team), who also roam the competition floor to offer additional guidance and support.

At the end of 48 hours, the teams pitch their idea to a panel of judges, who choose the top three products. Winners are awarded prizes, including an Indiegogo-advised crowdfunding campaign and licensing consideration. While shows like Shark Tank focus solely on the concept being presented to judges, Make48 traces the innovative process from napkin sketch to product pitch.

As you can see from the video embedded above, in the fall of 2017, Make48 is coming to TV with an eight-episode series that enables you to witness the innovative process from home. Totally unscripted, the series will show viewers what it’s like to produce and market a viable product under the pressure of both time and competition.

The Squatty Potty Connection

Make48 launched in 2015 with two competitions at Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri — one in April and another in October.  When the organizers made plans for their third competition — which took place at The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC — Squatty Potty was there to help. Although Squatty Potty wasn’t conceived or created at Make48, one of our co-founders, Judy Edwards, mentored the teams in DC, answered their questions, provided feedback on design concepts, marketing plans, and more.

And in 2016, when Make48 returned to Kansas City and the Kansas City Art Institute for its fourth competition, Squatty Potty’s street cred, born on Shark Tank and enhanced through our creative marketing efforts and phenomenal sales, once again made us instant and highly sought-after experts. There, Judy was joined by Squatty Potty co-founder and CEO Bobby Edwards, along with our Director of Marketing and Retail Relations, Jason Burrows.

Support from Industry Heavyweights

Other recognizable brands, including Stanley, Black & Decker, QVC, Amazon Launchpad, Ace Hardware, Indiegogo, Pivot International, Handy Camel, and Wet & Forget are all supporting this leading educational competition. Make48 also brings in experts in design, manufacturing, and crowdfunding for the documentary series to educate the viewing public in their respective areas of expertise. Having supportive brands behind the concept is a testament to the Make48 movement, and Squatty Potty is proud to be one of the competition’s Platinum sponsors.

Tune in

You can tune in to the Make48 series starting in September 2017 through your local public television station. Make48 has partnered with American Public Television (APT), Kansas PBS (KTWU), and Outpost Worldwide, to broadcast the eight-part series on over 200 public television stations covering over 70 percent of the United States. As the presenting station partner, KTWU believes the show “will spark the inventive and creative spirit in audiences of all ages, genders, and backgrounds across the nation.”

Here’s a sneak peek at the first eight episodes:

  • Episodes 1-4, the competition: The first four episodes document the innovative process from conception to prototype. At the 24-hour mark, competitors go before a focus group of industry experts — including Bobby, Judy, and Jason from Squatty Potty — to pitch their initial ideas and receive feedback.
  • Episode 5, the presentations: The prototype judging begins, and viewers find out which top three inventions will continue on the path to enhanced design and manufacturing, marketing, and possible retail launch. The winners get paired with national caliber design and marketing teams to continue the journey to market.
  • Episode 6, redesign: Product prototypes are fine-tuned, tested, and re-engineered by national design firms in concert with the winning teams.
  • Episode 7, marketing: The three winning teams are paired with creative marketing firms to deeply engage in marketing, creative approach, product video production, and brand positioning.
  • Episode 8, launch prep: Finally, after months of extensive refinement of their products by designers, marketers, and industry experts, the products are on the verge of launch into the consumer marketplace.

Whether you’re a budding innovator or a curious consumer, we encourage you to watch the show. According to Make48 CEO Tom Gray, “Many people with an idea have minimal knowledge of what it really takes to get innovation from idea to retail shelves, and we are excited to show such a process. The viewers watching are naturally purchasers of consumer products on a regular basis and may have a new appreciation of how the product got into their hands.”

In addition, Make48 is currently accepting applications for teams for its next competition, scheduled for September 28-30, 2017, at the Kansas City Art Institute.

To learn more or apply to participate, visit Application deadline is July 1, 2017!

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