A beta way to a betacup

In May 2009 Toby (@tobyd)  talked to us about his idea for a new, better coffee cup. After he presented the idea, we immediately joined in with ideas of our own.

And after a little back and forth it occurred to us that we might be solving the wrong problem.


1. lots of people are familiar with the problem – 65% of people in the US drink coffee, so tens of millions deal with this problem every day

2. its a shared problem – this problem doesn’t just belong to your favorite beverage brewing brand, we as customers, are complicit

W think lots of people are motivated to solve this problem. Which means there are probably already people with some great ideas.

So we decided we’d come up with a a beta process to get to a betacup.

The simple version of the process looks like this:


Of course, anyone can draw a process. But there are some important details:

1. who participates?

2. who decides?

3. who owns what?

4. what happens afterwards?

We wanted to share our thinking on each of these topics and see what you think.

Who participates?

Like we said, we think lots of people have thought about this. Just look at how many people weigh in at mystarbucksidea. And many of the ideas are pretty good – good enough that Starbucks is acting on them.

So we want anyone to participate in adding ideas, rating them or commenting on them.

We’d like to get to a prototype, so text and sketches wont get you all the way to the end, but we’ll be inviting people who can prototype and we’ll encourage them to team up with folks who have promising ideas, but cant build prototypes.

Who decides?

We would like anyone who participates to be able to decide on winners.

We’ll also have a jury, because there are some stakeholders who will be under-represented. For example, manufacturers might love the winning ideas, but if they cant make them, well, we’re less excited about them. So we want these types of people to weigh in and we’ll ask them to explain if they differ from our popular choices.

Who owns what?

If you submit an idea or a prototype, you still own it. It’s that simple.

Once the awards are done, we’ll do what we can to get the prototypes through manufacturing to market. So we’ll be having discussions with the owners of the most promising designs. We expect a range of outcomes – some people might want to license their designs, other might want to set up companies to commercialize them.

We’ll encourage everything and do what we can to help if we think it will help get the ideas from concepts into the hands of coffee drinks.

Oh yes, the content on this site and the research wiki are licensed under creative commons.

What happens afterwards?

Like we said, our main aim is to take the best idea/s and make sure they get to market. So we’ll start with licensing discussions but then its off to the manufacturers and retailers. Its hard to know what to expect – some approaches will likely be sold to coffee shops and restaurants, while others might be sold directly to customers. We’ll know more once we have a sense of the winning approaches.

For details on the plan and the process, take a look at the betacup wiki.

What do you think? Does this seem fair? Where do you want more details?

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  1. […] all working on BetaCup to create a more sustainable coffee drinking […]

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Creative Commons License
the betacup by the betacup is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at www.thebetacup.com.