In a move to help smaller hardware manufacturers fulfill on their crowdfunding campaigns, Kickstarter parterned with Avnet and Dragon Innovation in 2017 to make the Hardware Studio initiative. Now, they’re taking things up a notch to help improve transparency and motivation.
This comes in the form of four new badges that will appear on some of the Hardware Studio projects in the near future. The idea behind this update is that having easily recognizable and easy to explain markers on funded projects makes it easier for backers to see how the product they put money into is coming along in development.
These badges will hopefully be rolled out for all campaigns in the Hardware Studio program, though priority is currently being given to those in the Connection program, a subset of Hardware Studio with more rigorous and competitive standards but greater access to planning tools and other perks. So far, there are four badges that can be put onto a project.
The first is the Engaged badge, which tells backers that the campaign they’ve backed has been accepted to the Connection program and that pre-planning and a working proof-of-concept prototype for the product is complete.
The second is the Ready Level 1, indicating that the prototype has advanced to a degree that it could be sold as a legitimate product, though more user testing will be required before this would happen. It would hopefully indicate that the projected cost of production is accurate, as well.
Third is the Ready Level 2, which certifies that production plans have been finalized and that all the units promised can be produced, and that testing and feedback have gone into improving the original design. Funding would typically be used for materials, tools, and finding certification.
Finally, there is the Ready Level 3 badge, which claims that the product is ready for manufacturing. Funding at this level would go exclusively to manufacturing costs.
While these badges in no way guarantee that a product will be made and shipped out, when used honestly, they could be a major help in keeping backers up to date and helping campaign managers organize and run their production.