Julie Tucker
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How crowdfunding helped create the Fidget Cube

The vinyl desk toy, the Fidget Cube, is an unusual, high-quality toy that you can use at work, in the classroom, or at home. The invention was funded by Kickstarter, the crowdfunding website – receiving $6.4 million in public donations, easily surpassing its initial $15,000 goal.

Designed to help users focus, the Fidget Cube provides a convenient and simple way to occupy your hands and other senses. Described as a desk toy for anyone who has a tendency to fidget, it’s also marketed as a toy that can be soothing for children.

What is a Fidget Cube?
It’s a six-sided cube and every side has something different that you can play with. There are sensory tools on all sides, including a switch, a rolling metal ball and cogs, a spinning disk, a small plastic joystick, a “worry stone” and five buttons.

First designed in 2012, it was developed over a four-year period by brothers Mark and Matthew Mclachlan, who co-founded their design studio, Antsy Labs, in Colorado. It comes in 10 different colours – dice, midnight, graphite, aqua, berry, sunset, fresh, retro and the special Kickstarter and Backer Designed editions.

The functions of each face are as follows:

• Spin – a rotating disc with a small indentation helps spin a dial while making a subtle clicking sound.
• Click – one side has five buttons, one at each corner and one in the middle. Two of them make a loud clicking sound, two are silent and the button in the middle makes a quieter clicking sound.
• Roll – a metallic ball and three ridged cogs can each be rotated. If you press down on the ball, it makes a clicking sound.
• Glide – fiddle with a joystick that moves in a similar way to those on gaming pads.
• Flip – one side has a coloured rocker switch that can be moved quickly to make a sound or moved slowly so that it remains silent.
• Breathe – an oval-shaped indentation that’s around 3mm deep can be used in a similar way to a worry stone.

How was the Fidget Cube funded?
Kickstarter helped create and build the Fidget Cube brand. It is the crowdfunding site’s 10th most successful fundraiser, with 154,926 backers pledging $6.4 million to help bring the product to life.

The global crowdfunding platform supports new innovations, enabling inventors to create and market their products. It is an alternative to the traditional means of investment and collects money from the public, who wish to invest in the inventions.

The Brooklyn-based funding platform was launched in April 2009 by Charles Adler, Yancey Strickler and Perry Chen and has helped businesses and individuals to raise millions of pounds for their product and enhance their brand’s image.

Does the Fidget Cube work?
When the Fidget Cube was first launched in 2016, some critics claimed fidgeting was a negative and unprofessional behaviour, so it shouldn’t be actively encouraged. However, the founders beg to differ, pointing to research that shows that far from being “anti-intellectual” behaviour, it can actually help people to focus.

Most people tend to fidget with inanimate objects, such as stress balls, paper clips, clicking pens, rubber bands and other things. We may fidget while we think about a project, work through a problem, or sit through a lecture.

According to research carried out by New York University, people who fidget say it helps them to work more efficiently. The researchers say that if something we’re engaged in isn’t 100% interesting to us, then it won’t sustain our focus.

Fidgeting with something creates extra sensory-motor input that will stimulate us, allowing our brain to engage fully and helping us to focus better on the main activity that we’re carrying out. The idea is that fidgeting will distract the part of our brain that has become bored, enabling the other parts of the brain to pay better attention to what we’re listening to or reading.

How successful is the invention?
The Fidget Cube has more than surpassed its funding goal by more than $6 million. The creators are focused on excellent customer service and are active on social media, always answering questions promptly, as they continue to develop the product.

The product is shipped worldwide. The creators say that while their invention is inspired by research that shows fidgeting may be useful, they don’t claim that it can cure any medical conditions.

As testament to the value of their product, they have tried it out themselves and say it helps them to focus on the topic in hand when sitting in meetings. They are continually asking fans who have a creative idea for the product to let them know so that they become part of the creative process.

If you work in the creative, tech or media sectors, Headspace Group and our co-working environments can help your business get off to a flying start. For further details, please give us a call on 020 3691 7500.

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