Idea Development Trends: DIY

Apr 21, 2020 | Innovation

The DIY Signal has had many different names, including the Maker Movement, but what’s next for this Signal?

The Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Signal

The DIY Signal is a Consumer Preference, which is the subjective tastes of individual consumers, measured by their satisfaction with those items after they’ve purchased them. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, let’s flip to the frontier of “doing it yourself” and see what creative Innovators all over the world are doing to take care of themselves in crisis.


DIY Innovation Examples

  • DIY Masks
  • DIY Ventilator
  • DIY Diagnostic kids
  • Future: DIY Testing
  • Future: DIY Monitoring
  • Future: DIY Foot-pump hand washing stations

The Internet

We’re referring specifically to YouTube but the internet in general is responsible for the rapid acceleration of today’s DIY’s popularity. It’s because we are all “one Google away” from knowing how to do anything that we are now interested in how we can actually learn to do that one thing. What’s the last tutorial you looked up online? For us it was DIY face masks. Speaking of, here was our favorite one in case you need to make your own during these quarantine times.


DIY is an example of disintermediation, which is defined as the reduction in the use of intermediaries between producers and consumers.

Right but … let me give you an example: Ikea. By connecting consumers directly to producers, Ikea cut out the middleman, lowering costs for you, the consumer. But you “pay” for that cost savings by having to put together furniture at home yourself.

Want to brainstorm? Here’s a fun innovation exercise: what parts of your business can you “hire” your customers to do? What parts of the work can someone else handle?

Your challenge should you choose to accept it: Use the #cobaltwordoftheweek and tag us on social if you do!


Hint: Technology is a huge enabler.
Here are some examples of our favorite DIY innovations and businesses that reinvented classic products with disintermediation. Have one to add? Comment below!

The Mirror

Have you heard of the Mirror? The brilliant fitness tech bringing fitness classes exclusively in-home with interior design in mind. This is a beautifully designed smart mirror that is as aesthetically pleasing as it is good for one’s fitness


It’s hard to miss hearing about the Peloton: A choose your own adventure at-home-fitness that combines social networking and cycling. Classes like SoulCycle and Equinox nailed the “party on a bike” business model and thanks to COVID-19 they’ve had no choice but to bring the party to you.

Restaurants closed? No problem! Chibo allows you to sell tickets to live streams and in a world where social gatherings like concerts, dinners, conferences and more are at a standstill Chibo has entered the market just in time.

Trolls: The Movie

And perhaps the most unforeseen service is that of straight-to-on-demand feature films. What does this mean for movie-watching and all of the experiences that go along with it? Take the Trolls World Tour movie for example that reportedly netted over $50 million in its first week.

And this is just the beginning. As IoT and 5G become more and more available, many products and services will find a profitable future using DIY and disintermediation … and many will die. Read that line again if you are in the movie theater business.

The genesis of the DIY Signal is really around people solving their own problems. The old idiom holds true: Necessity is the mother of all invention. And that is why the DIY Signal a perfect example of a Consumer Preference. When brands don’t provide people with what they need, creative people find a way to get their needs met … and then start a business and steal marketshare from incumbents.

How might you better meet your customers’ needs? Do you know what they are? Think about future customers – what are their needs? Look at how your current customers are hacking your products – talk to the super users – what are they doing and how are they using your service and products? Want help uncovering your brand’s hidden unmet consumer preferences hiding in plain sight? Yup, we can do that! Let’s talk: 


PS: Want to launch a DIY product? Here’s a hint: the majority of consumers do not need to try-before-they-buy, making this a perfect opportunity for online stores.