Threadless (in Strategy Highlight 5.2) is an example of a firm building on its customer base to use new products and also to participate in the design and vetting of popular designs. In the spring of 2013, Disney and Pixar Animation announced an expansion of its partnership with Threadless. Previous successes have been shirts for Disney villains, Toy Story, and the Muppets, made from designs based on winning submissions of an art contest. The current launch is for T-shirts designed to coincide with the summer 2013 sequel of Monsters University by Disney and Pixar Animation. The designs were chosen from 487 submissions by artists around the world. With Disney’s long history of expertise in designing clothing to coincide with movie launches, why do you think the company has decided to partner with Threadless? How does this help Disney build competitive advantage? What other firms use this crowdsourcing technique? Where else might this type of business model show up in the future?
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