Caterham and Splitwheel are teaming up to develop a new sports car designed online with user input. The project will engage Caterham’s enthusiast owners and fan base or anyone else who wants to logon. Similar to efforts in other industries, the Caterham project attempts to design a car by leveraging a vast network of automotive engineering and design enthusiasts and professionals. This topic of distributed network product development can happen internally but also externally to a company like in Caterham’s small company case. In some ways, this model is very close to Prahalad’s R=G priniciple for innovation or Professor Eric von Hippel’s Lead User innovation. That is, use the power of the internet to solicit input from a global network of knowledge. Cars however are pretty traditional objects with limited room for revolutionary innovation so it will be interesting to see if anything significant comes of this… At the very least, it’s a worthy attempt to open up the product development process of an automobile – one of the world’s more purposeful automobiles.