The “Queen Bee and the Three” team figured it’d have an advantage in this weekend’s invention marathon.
After all, Krisi and Daxon Miller — two of the four who make up the team from Lawson, Mo., about 40 miles northeast of Kansas City — have already invented a few things on their own. That includes two products on the market, one racking up sales in Canada and an upcoming pitch to QVC.
But when they actually started the weekend Make48 competition at the Kansas City Art Institute, let’s just say it didn’t seem too easy.
“When you’re at home creating products, you realize you have a problem and come up with the solution,” said Krisi Miller, the Queen Bee of the team who even has the title written on her business cards for the family’s product development company. “But here, you need to come up with the problem and the solution.”
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Again, in just two days.
All 17 teams — which were chosen from about 100 applicants — came in blind. They didn’t get the challenge until Friday afternoon. From there, they had to scribble their ideas out and find a way to evolve them into a prototype in just 48 hours.
The goal for this fourth Make48 competition was to create a consumer product used within the home. Products that solve, for example, hassles with laundry, cooking healthy or potty-training a little boy. The top three teams receive prizes, including a crowdfunding campaign and licensing consideration.
The brainstorming and collaborating, networking and creating is what co-founders and friends Rich Brull and Curt McMillan envisioned when they created Make48 a couple of years ago.
“We feel everybody has that big idea inside of them,” said Brull. “But graveyards are full of big ideas. People take them with them.”
At Make48, they become real.
Teams hashed out ideas Friday night. Some went on walks hoping for inspiration. Or grabbed a few pizza slices and sat under a tree with notepads.
“There were just out there dreaming,” McMillan said.
By Saturday afternoon a few teams had rough prototypes in hand, working with 3-D printers and laser machines and top mentors and tool technicians in various fields. Teams got first-hand advice on what works and doesn’t. And on what they should do if something goes wrong in a presentation.
“You always want to have a couple of jokes ready in case something fails,” McMillan said.
Hopes were high for Sunday’s presentations. In the past three Make48 competitions, each team has always finished with a completed invention.
“Knock on wood,” said Brull, laughing as he tapped on a table he just made for the competition.
As for what Queen Bee and the Three came up with, we can’t give too much away. But let’s just say they invented a way to take some of the fat out of cooked meat.
Hopefully for as little as $24.99.