When you're making a new product, you have to get your market data. No matter how cool or groundbreaking the invention, your product wont sell if you aren't in touch with what the customer wants.
Traditionally, this is dealt with by beta testing, polls, trust in an inventor's vision, or iterating through different versions of a product to see what works best. Today, customers can choose exactly what they want - from features, to design, and even price point-- through crowdsourcing.
Crowdsourcing is the practice of utilizing an engaged audience for labor, media, and without compensation. It's a way that if your audience wants a particular product, they can make it happen.