10/25/2016 | 2 MINUTE READ

Local Motors Launches Forth, a Co-Creation Division

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The SaaS platform gives companies access to a global network of more than 60,000 members.

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Local Motors has launched a new division, Forth by LM. Forth is a crowd-powered, software as a service (SaaS) platform and related services that enables companies to transform and digitize their product development process using co-creation and micro-manufacturing.

Local Motors has practiced co-creation over the past decade while creating and launching the products in the company’s vehicle portfolio, including the Rally Fighter co-created vehicle; the Strati 3D-printed car, and most recently Olli, a cognitive, autonomous vehicle with IBM Watson technology.

“The launch of Forth is a proud moment for me as it demonstrates to the world that co-creation and micro-manufacturing of vehicles is leading the way for rapid product development and commercialization across many other industries,” said Local Motors cofounder and CEO John B. Rogers, Jr. “The time is now for digital and industrial to come together in products that delight us and make our world better. The last century of manufacturing is not fit for the products of the next century, and Forth is showing the world that if we can change the vehicle industry to incorporate a digital future in its process and products, then we can do the same in every industry across the world.

“As more and more companies harness the power of co-creation, the movement grows, benefiting not only the community, but internal employees and customers as well. It is high time that we bring products with the latest technology to market at unprecedented speed,” Rogers said.

Forth relies on an online co-creation community with more than 60,000 active members from around the globe that confront challenges. The creative potential of this network is already being leveraged by GE and Airbus.

GE and Local Motors together created FirstBuild in 2014, and the result was a micro-factory in Louisville, Kentucky that commercialized small home appliances in record time. Those include the Prisma cold brew coffee maker and the Opal countertop nugget-ice maker. GE and Forth will launch a major new co-creation engagement later this year.

Local Motors and Airbus Group launched the Airbus Cargo Drone Challenge in April, a co-creation initiative that started with a design challenge to begin development on the next generation of commercial drones. After a first phase that included a record 425 entries, the next phase of the engagement, led by the Forth team, focuses on building the Airbus Drone Services Platform, a digital marketplace for drone-based services.

“We believe that if you ignore the world when you develop products, the world will ignore your products,” said Elle Shelley, executive vice president of Forth and Local Motors CMO. “The goal of Forth is to empower as many ideas and people as possible – inside and outside of corporate America and around the world. Together we are building a community and the tools that can unleash the power of collaborative innovation, rapid prototyping and small-batch manufacturing. The result of this is the ability to bring to market the products desired by a digital generation.”

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