The Big Idea: Greenhouse Guild

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From the April 12, 2012 edition

Left to his own devices, the Launch Farm’s Christian Deuber knows how to promote a great idea. Match him with a fleet of other creative minds, and you tap into something entirely more powerful.

That’s why Deuber joined forces with a group of engineers, strategists, web developers and other creative types to form the Greenhouse Guild, a network of independent services working together to develop new products on multiple fronts.

“On a farm, you have a greenhouse,” Deuber said. “The greenhouse’s mission is to bring in seeds, test fertilizers, test different crop strains, and whatever starts to blossom and grow, eventually you take it out of the greenhouse.”

So it goes with the Greenhouse Guild. On the side from their day jobs, a team of about 15 professionals gathers to brainstorm and take new product ideas from the embryonic stage to the marketplace.

“Each of the stages of the product can be purchased a la carte,” said Christopher Brown, a design strategist with Trident Design. “Ideally we’re here for new ideas that need every part of the process.”

One element that sets Greenhouse Guild apart from the growing fleet of micro-scale incubation programs: Each contractor in the Guild gets an ownership share of the business they help develop, so they have more incentive to get a project done fast and done right.

Though core members like Deuber and Resource Interactive’s Brian Schmitt are a constant, Guild members come and go. Some participants, such as Ohio State business student David Sherry, see the partnership as a chance to get real-life experience en route to future employment.

“We’re not just launching products,” Deuber said, “but launching people.”

3 cool projects underway at Greenhouse Guild

prch

Why spend big bucks on designer sunglasses only to leave them sprawled across your dresser or cubicle? That’s the concept behind prch, a sunglasses holder invented by Brian Schmitt. The stand, still under development, is intended as both an organizational tool and a trophy.

Hempstrong

This company, now based in the Short North, creates hemp-based spa and beauty products such as lip balm, soap and lotion. The founders are heavily involved in legislation to save Kentucky farmland and foster the growth of sustainable hemp-based products.

The bike stand of the future

Greenhouse designers are brainstorming a prototype for a multifunctional bicycle stand that looks “sexy” around the house even without a bike. The design would lay flat on the floor or attach to the wall.

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