INNOVATION INSANITY

Need some hands-on inspiration? This briefing covers 67 promising 'on trend' innovations, as spotted by our sister company Springwise. Check out innovations number 29 to 42 below:


INFOLUST

Consumers crave (relevant, timely) information, and it’s never been easier to satisfy this INFOLUST (with a heavy dose of NOWISM thrown in, too):

29. [Romanian] Smartphone app serves as video ‘black box’ for cars

Travel & Transport | DailyRoads Voyager is a free application for Android-powered mobile phones that enables continuous video recording from moving vehicles. DailyRoads Voyager is intended to serve as what's essentially a video black box for cars, recording everything but allowing users to keep only what they're really interested in. Whether it's an encounter with unusual wildlife in the road or the sequence of events leading to an accident, the application works in the background to timestamp, geotag and save all videos on the SD card. More »


30. [US] Attachable tablet adds digital data to cemetery headstones

Funerals | RosettaStone is a palm-sized stone tablet with an embedded microchip and up to six engraved symbols that can be selected to represent key milestones or affiliations in the deceased's life. The RosettaStone can be preinstalled in a new gravestone or added to an existing one to create a technologically enhanced memorial that will allow future site visitors to read the deceased's story from a mobile device. More »


31. [Australian] Restaurant lists carbon footprint for each menu item

Bars & Restaurants | With two restaurants in New York and London, Australia-based Otarian bills itself as “the first ever low-carbon restaurant chain, using a cradle-to-grave analysis in the carbon footprinting of every menu item.” Almost everything in Otarian's restaurants—from the floor to the tables and chairs—is made from recycled materials. Its “Eco2tarian Labelling” shows the difference in greenhouse gas emissions between its veggie meals and similar dishes containing meat, fish or egg. More »


32. [Guatemalan] Mapmaker with a local touch and a global plan

Navigation | Guatemala-based mapmaking company Where To Go Maps is working towards creating a globalised mapping system that would see their free artistic city maps available to travellers for all major tourist destinations worldwide. The maps present tourists with the best hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, attractions and sightseeing highlights that each city has to offer, as well as illustrating the specific locations of local businesses who advertise on the maps. More »


33. [US] App lets users attach digital content to any barcode

Social Media | Stickybits lets anyone scan any product barcode and append their own music, text, photos or video content. Users first download the free Stickybits app, then scan a barcode and attach content. When the geo-tagged barcode is scanned again by someone else, they'll see whatever was attached to it along with who else has scanned it along the way. Also available from Stickybits, meanwhile, are downloadable, printable barcodes that can be glued, ironed, printed, tattooed or otherwise stuck onto anything in the real world. Thanks to a partnership with Zazzle, Stickybits also offers birthday cards, business cards, mugs and shirts with unique, content-enabled barcodes printed on them. More »


CROWD-EXPRESS

The ‘crowds’ continue to join forces with increasing potency to create, influence, fund, predict and decide. A few examples of what is now a crowded field:

34. [German] Volkswagen crowdsources apps for in-car info & entertainment

Automotive | Volkswagen’s App My Ride contest invited designers, programmers, developers and interested users to help develop applications for future in-car infotainment systems. Participants could submit as many apps and ideas as they wanted by the contest's June 30 deadline. In August, the most innovative application will be chosen by the App My Ride community and a jury consisting of Volkswagen managers and external experts. More »


35. [Dutch] Designer takes preorders to crowdfund new lamp

Furniture | Dutch designer Daniel Schipper's 100x100 lamp features a pendant shade made from white or transparent recyclable plastic; other colors are available on demand. Photos of the design are available on Schipper's site, but production won't begin until 100 orders have been received. Then, 100 numbered lamps will be produced and sold for EUR 100 each. More »


36. [Dutch] Dutch city launches iPhone app for lodging civic complaints

Government | Launched in April 2010, the BuitenBeter app allows citizens of Eindhoven to report local issues by iPhone. After spotting something that needs to be fixed, residents can use the app to take a picture, select an appropriate category and send their complaint directly through to the city council. A combination of GPS and maps lets users pinpoint the exact location of the problem, providing city workers with all the information they need to identify and resolve the problem. More »


37. [US] Tech store brings innovation to developing nations

Not for profit & social cause | Kopernik is a grassroots platform designed to help bring breakthrough technologies to developing nations. Kopernik begins the process by showcasing products from inventors and technology providers. Next, vetted organizations in developing countries submit short proposals explaining how they'd use those products. Finally, 'the crowds' browse proposals and donate funds to those they'd most like to see realized. Once enough money has been raised, Kopernik transfers the funds to the technology provider, who then ships directly to the receiving organization. Updates are posted on Kopernik's website so that contributors can track the effect of their donations. More »


38. [Dutch] Crowdsourcing site helps publishers find new authors

Publishing | Dutch website TenPages has teamed up with three book publishers on a crowdsourced effort to choose material to be published. Aspiring writers can post the first 10 pages or more of their book, which are viewable to the site's prospective shareholders. They can then buy up to 200 shares in any book for EUR 5 each, and the books that sell 2,000 shares over four months get put into production at one of TenPages' partner publishers. Authors get paid EUR 1,000 from the initial funds raised, and are given eight months to write the finished book with the help of a professional editor. More »


39. [US] Broker creates local groups for collective solar purchasing

Solar Energy | San Francisco-based One Block Off the Grid, or 1BOG, facilitates the group purchase of residential solar installations. 1BOG launches campaigns in various cities, each lasting a few months, during which they negotiate group discounts with carefully selected solar installers and offer local consumers access to the discounted rates via the 1BOG website. Homeowners can enter their address online to view detailed information on costs, leasing options, local rebates and how long the panels will take to pay for themselves. More »


40. [UK] Furniture shopping with the crowds

Furniture | London-based Made.com aims to bring original design to the masses by removing middlemen from the process and connecting consumers with furniture makers directly, cutting prices by 50 to 80 percent. Consumers begin by browsing through the items online, with consumer votes determining which items from the site's “Labs” section are put up for sale; when that happens, a timer indicates when orders should be placed. All furniture is made to order in about four weeks and then shipped back to the UK. More »


41. [Italian] Online retailers install widget to enable group buying

E-commerce | SyncFu is a free widget that any ecommerce website can install to let deal-seeking consumers team up for volume discounts. Online retailers begin by adding SyncFu to their site and then setting the quantity-price ratio for their relevant products. To join a group buying offer, customers need only click on the “Join Group Buy” or similar button on the seller's website. At the end of the deadline for participation, all participants pay the most recently listed price. Since the deal is done directly in the seller's web shop, there are no intermediaries and the sellers keep all the profits. More »


42. [US] Outfit advice, with help from the crowds

Fashion | Based in New York, GoTryItOn lets users upload digital snapshots of themselves in various outfits in order to source advice from fellow users. They can decide whether to share the look with the site's whole community or keep it private and share only with friends. Either way, those allowed to see the outfit can then vote for or against it and leave comments for the person in the outfit. More »