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 43 to 55 below:


ECO-BOUNTY

Last year, our Trend Briefing on ECO-BOUNTY featured plenty of eco-cool innovations; it won't come as a surprise that this trend continues to give:

43. [US] In-car coach helps Ford drivers save fuel

Automotive | Ford has developed technology that helps “coach” drivers on the road to optimize their miles per gallon. MyFord Touch enables drivers to monitor and track their vehicle's real-time fuel economy performance and mile-per-gallon averages for the past five, 10 and 30 minutes. MyFord Touch's map-based navigation system, meanwhile, offers an EcoRoute option that quickly calculates the most fuel efficient route a driver can take to get from point A to point B. The feature will be available globally on the 2012 Ford Focus. More »


44. [UK] Thermoelectric wellies charge festival-goers’ phones

Mobile & Telecoms | Orange Power Wellies use the heat in festival-goers' feet to charge their mobile phones. Created by Orange in collaboration with GotWind, Orange Power Wellies target Glastonbury Festival attendees with a power-generating sole that converts heat from the wearer's feet into an electrical current that can be used to charge a mobile phone. More »


45. [Dutch] Window collects solar energy

Solar Energy | Smart Energy Glass is an innovation from Dutch Peer+ that turns windows into solar energy collectors with a customizable appearance. The windows are available in several colors and can switch between three modes: dark, bright and privacy, which scatters the light passing through. The glass also serves to collect solar energy, which can then be used directly or fed back to the grid. More »


46. [US] Boxes made of cardboard laden with seeds

Shipping | The Life Box offers a replacement for the traditional cardboard box that is impregnated with seeds. Within the corrugations of the box are hundreds of tree seeds and thousands of spores of beneficial mycorrhizal fungi. The box can be planted after use and in about two months, tree seedlings will emerge, nurtured by the mycorrhizal fungi. In about two years, the young trees can be planted in the ground where they'll ultimately reside. Those who planted them, meanwhile, can visit the Life Box site and enter their GPS coordinates, making it possible to see the emerging trees and track carbon credits or offsets for generations to come. More »


47. [Finnish] Furniture surface charges mobile devices wirelessly

Furniture | Finnish Powerkiss has developed an approach that imbues everyday furniture with wireless charging capabilities. Powerkiss's technology consists of two parts: a charging transmitter that gets integrated into furniture, and a charging receiver that gets plugged into the electronic device. To charge a phone, users simply attach the small receiver stick to their phone and place it on the surface of the enabled object. More »


TRYVERTISING

We covered TRYVERTISING ages ago, yet with rampant TRANSPARENCY further affecting purchasing decisions, the value of getting products into consumers’ hands and letting them try them out in a relevant setting, at a relevant moment, is more acute than ever:

48. [Brazilian] A tryvertising store for São Paulo

Marketing & Advertising | Clube Amostra Grátis offers consumers in São Paulo an assortment of new products to take home and try before they become available on the shelves. Consumers register online and pay a yearly fee of BRL 50, which entitles them to visit the store and take home up to five different products each month. Members fill out online surveys about the products they choose. More »


STATUS STORIES

More on status and innovation: STATUS STORIES are now well established as a means for consumers to find their status fix, so the need for true innovation is greater than ever. Some recent spottings:
 

49. [German] High-end clothing brand only sells on tour dates

Fashion | Describing itself as being 'on tour', Munich-based Clemens en August's only offline sales are through temporary outlets, twice a year. Each season, Clemens en August travels to an assortment of fashion-minded cities to sell its current collections in contemporary art galleries for only three days at a time. While it also sells through its online store, Clemens en August maintains a sense of scarcity: the ‘third floor’ of its webshop is reserved for customers who've visited the most recent tour. More »


50. [German] Gardens for rent by the season, with vegetables pre-planted

Home & Garden | Meine Ernte —German for My Harvest—rents out vegetable gardens for a season, and takes care of soil preparation and planting. Once the plants start growing, members come in and spend 1-2 hours a week caring for their plants and harvesting their crops. In advance, Meine Ernte sows and plants over 20 varieties of vegetables, while a section of each plot is left open for gardeners to add varieties of their own choosing and a professional is available onsite once a week to answer any questions the amateur gardeners may have. More »


51. [US] Niche travel tours for late sleepers

Travel & Transport | California-based Executive Tours offers a series of what it calls Crack of Noon Tours, designed “for those who don't consider themselves 'morning people'.” Rather, in its guided excursions to Italy and France, the company ensures that it never schedules any activities before noon. Executive Tours explains: “We firmly believe that travel is enjoyed much more when one is rested and relaxed — not herded and rushed. With Crack of Noon Tours, you will never hear the phrase, 'bags out by six AM'.” More »


52. Laotian kudzu bags with a mission and a story

Bags | Nature Bags aim to benefit the ancient Khmu culture on Laos's steep mountainsides by using wild-growing JungleVine, also known as tropical kudzu, to produce reusable and sustainable organic bags that are compact, lightweight, minimalistic and highly durable. Eight variations on the Nature Bag are available, varying in both style and size—prices begin at USD 15 for a small bag in the Pahk style. Iowa-based Hawkflight has purchased some 10,000 Nature Bags from Khmu families, and is running the operation with the help of a 22 year-old Laotian student. More »


SELLSUMERS

It’s easier than ever for consumers to earn rather than spend, and SELLSUMERS are being aided by a host of innovative new concepts:

53. [UK] British retailer issues bonds with returns paid in chocolate

Food & Beverage | British high-end chocolate maker and retailer Hotel Chocolat, which currently operates over 40 stores in the UK, the Middle East and the US, is inviting customers to buy bonds that will pay chocolate returns. Two values of Chocolate Bond will be issued: both with the return paid in monthly Tasting Boxes. Holders of a GBP 2,000 Chocolate Bond will receive six free tasting boxes a year worth GBP 107.70 per year, and those holding a GBP 4,000 bond will receive thirteen boxes, worth GBP 233.35 per year. After an initial term of three years, and on every anniversary thereafter, bond holders can redeem their bond for a full return of their investment. More »


54. [Israeli] Online marketplace for USD 5 tasks

E-commerce | Israel-based Fiverr lets anyone sell a service of virtually any type for USD 5. Categories on the site include “Fun & Bizarre” and “Silly Stuff” along with classics such as “Graphics” and “Social Marketing.” For each task sold, the seller receives $4; Fiverr keeps the rest. Both buyers and sellers remain anonymous, while a feedback system enables participant ratings. More »


55. [US] iPhone app lets users earn cash for small tasks

E-commerce | Field Agent is a free iPhone app that gives users the chance to search for jobs in their geographical area, complete them and get paid. Most listed jobs are in everyday locations where agents live; examples include collecting retail pricing and display information, event images, photos of items for sale and consumer surveys that can be completed anywhere an iPhone can be used. Payments can range from USD 3 to USD 8, depending on the job’s degree of difficulty. More »