Twenty new business ideas for you this week, including a members club for artisanal ice cream made in Manhattan, a site that helps people follow up on chance meetings and a line of colour-changing home appliances. Our next edition is due on 30 September 2009. In the meantime, check out our daily postings on www.springwise.com, send us your tips, and please don't forget to tell your friends and colleagues about us. Much appreciated!

 

 
 

 
September 23, 2009
 

Attempting to revolutionize the traditional movie screening business, IndieScreenings lets anyone hire a film, show it and keep the cash. The venture's online booking process calculates a licence fee based on where someone plans to screen, how many people will watch and various other factors. A few days after ordering a license, a DVD is sent by post. IndieScreenings includes a profit calculator and also offers an instructional guide, including tips on how to advertise and which technical issues to be aware of.

IndieScreenings was conceived as a way for the makers of The Age of Stupid (a feature about climate change) to spread their own crowdsourced film in a legal and controlled manner. But after realizing its potential for amplifying independent voices, the system opened up to other filmmakers. Upcoming films include "The Yes Men Fix The World", "McLibel" and "Drowned Out". IndieScreenings is currently available for screeners in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, with an international rollout following soon.

Will movie studios catch on and experiment with a similar grassroots distribution method, appealing to movie-loving sellsumers who'd be more than happy to drum up new audiences for profits? One to watch!

Website: www.indiescreenings.net
Contact: hello@indiescreenings.net

Spotted by: Jamal Hamou

 

 

 


 
September 23, 2009
 

Created to help people swiftly exchange contact details without using business cards, Poken is a cute plastic creature that uses RFID to transfer data. When we featured Poken back in February, we added: "there's plenty of mileage in this idea, including bringing it to other audiences. Unless we're wrong of course, and professionals *do* want to high-five their pandas after a meeting."

Turns out that Poken ran into this issue—many business professionals weren't comfortable whipping out a plastic zombie, and the 64 contact limit on the original Poken was too constrictive. Smartly, they responded and today launched Poken Pulse, a sleek sibling to the first product line.

Poken Pulse has room for hundreds of contacts and includes an integrated 2GB USB memory stick, which explains the higher price of EUR 29.99. No software installation required, and it works with any operating system. In addition to slick black and white, Poken Pulse also comes in a few colourful versions, designed by Dutch artist Gaby Zwaan. Future features include flexible flash memory capacity, and allowing developers to create applications for Poken. Great to see a young startup rapidly responding to consumer needs it may not have anticipated!

Website: www.pokenpulse.eu
Contact: www.pokenpulse.eu/contact

 

 

 


 
September 23, 2009
 

Now that toilet seat covers, first-aid kits and vomit bags have been upgraded with a splash of style, the Ed Hardy line of designer hand sanitizer comes not a moment too soon.

The Los Angeles fashion label's Ed Hardy Habit line clearly targets style-conscious consumers with a variety of sanitizers packaged featuring themes and motifs borrowed from its popular clothing line, which was created by French designer Christian Audigier based on the designs of Don Ed Hardy, also known as "the godfather of modern tattoo." Skulls, tigers and other tattoo-like designs all figure prominently on the 9.2 oz and 2.3 oz bottles in the line, as well as on its foaming version and hand-sanitizer pens. All are alcohol-based, with vitamin E to keep hands feeling soft. All are also manufactured by Habitual Solutions without any animal-derived or animal-tested ingredients; reportedly, they feature a coconut bergamot scent. Though they're currently sold out online, Ed Hardy Habit hand sanitizers are also sold in select stores in California, Tennessee and Georgia, with prices of USD 5 for the 2.3 oz. size and USD 13 for the 9.2 oz. pump.

Is there any product too mundane to be upgraded with a modern twist of style and a premium price? Certainly not! Or at least, we're still waiting to find one. Look around and you'll surely see countless other examples of daily necessities that have yet to be given a makeover of their own. Pick one and make it new again, and you'll soon be eligible for a little upgrade yourself! ;-)

Website: www.edhardyhabit.com/habithome.html
Contact: info@edhardyhabit.com

 

 

 


 
September 23, 2009
 

With more and more aspects of daily life abandoning their physical form and appearing electronically, why should libraries be any different? That’s why Sony has partnered up with software firm OverDrive, offering bookworms an easier way to borrow e-books.

OverDrive works with over 9,000 libraries worldwide, letting lenders use their library card to get new, free digital content. To protect the rights of authors, the digital service works as closely to a normal library as possible. Only a certain amount of digital licences are bought by the libraries, and once these are all out on loan, users must wait for a ‘return’ before they can borrow it. Of course, borrowers don't really have to return books: once borrowed for a set period of time, the e-book is no longer accessible, and the user can delete the file. No more late fees ;-)

The partnership with Sony means that both companies will cross-market OverDrive's library network and Sony's Reader, which—unlike Amazon's Kindle—is compatible with industry standard e-book formats offered by libraries.

Website: www.overdrive.com

Spotted by: Jim Stewart

 

 

 


 
September 22, 2009
 

Last month, we wrote about Heathrow Airport installing Alain de Botton as its writer in residence for a week. As tweeted by de Botton a few hours ago, the book he wrote at Heathrow was launched today, in the airport's Terminal 5.

As described on the author's website: "Working with the renowned documentary photographer Richard Baker, he explores the magical and the mundane, and the stories that inhabit this strange 'non-place' that we are usually eager to leave. Taking the reader through the departures lounge, 'airside' and the arrivals hall, de Botton shows with his usual combination of wit and wisdom that spending time in an airport can be more useful and more revealing than we might think."

Heathrow doesn't seem to have started handing out 10,000 copies as announced last month, but we expect that will happen soon. Meanwhile, it's an admirable feat of speedy writing and publishing, and of innovative brand building.

Website: www.heathrowairport.comwww.alaindebotton.com/a_week_at_the_airport.asp

Spotted by: Raymond Kollau

 

 

 


 
September 22, 2009
 

Now that the US Cash for Clunkers program has come to an end, it's a safe bet that many auto manufacturers are racking their brains for ways to sustain the sales levels they enjoyed while the program was underway. For bankruptcy-beleaguered GM, the solution is apparently a new marketing effort called May the Best Car Win, a key part of which is a 60-day money-back guarantee on many of the cars it sells.

Aiming to give budget-weary consumers the confidence to spend their hard-earned cash on a GM vehicle without fear of regrets, GM now offers its 60-day guarantee on 2009 and 2010 model year Chevys, Buicks, GMCs and Cadillacs, with the exclusion of medium duty trucks. Consumers who purchase and take delivery on such a vehicle before Nov. 30 can then simply try the vehicle out for 30 days. If they're not satisfied—and they've put fewer than 4,000 miles on the vehicle—they then have another 30 days to return it. GM will then refund the price they paid plus sales tax, but less any rebates or the cost of add-on accessories.

Bob Lutz, the company's vice chairman for marketing and communications, explains: "We know that we’ll need to work very hard to get people’s attention and encourage them to give Chevy, Buick, Cadillac and GMC a try. We think the ‘May the Best Car Win’ campaign and the satisfaction guarantee offer should help re-instill confidence in the excellence of our products. We’re putting our money down that if people buy one of our vehicles and don’t absolutely love it, we’ll take it back. We will stand behind them both in the short-term and over the long haul.”

Tryvertising can make good sense even during the best of times, but when economic conditions are rough—and when a company is seeking to restore weakened confidence in its products? Nothing short of imperative, we'd say. Other auto makers—or any hard-hit company, for that matter: how about you...? (Related: Fertility device offers money-back pregnancy guarantee.)

Website: www.gm.com/guarantee
Contact: www.gm.com/utilities/contact_us/contact.jsp?evar24=60DayGuarantee_sitelet&deep=contact

Spotted by: Katherine Noyes

 

 

 


 
September 22, 2009
 

We’ve all experienced the frustration of meeting someone we’d like to see again—romantic or otherwise—but not knowing how to find them later. Now, for all those occasions there's blinka.me, which aims to give users a second chance to reconnect.

Currently in beta, New Zealand-based blinka.me offers a way to find those we've met just fleetingly at a bar, airport, conference or event, even if we don't know their phone number, email or name. Working on the basis of what it calls "moments"—specific times and places in which a meeting took place—blinka.me uses patent-pending technology to match up the people who met. Users begin by entering the details of their moment, including what happened and something about them and the person they'd like to reconnect with—"you tried to buy me a drink," for example. It's up to them whether to make the moment private or share it with other users, friends and followers to help get a match. Either way, if the other person involved enters the moment as well, both parties get an email notification. The two can then have a safe, private chat through blinka.me and decide if they want to pursue it further, including sharing profiles and personal contact information.

The site's founders explain: "We can see a language and culture developing around this—for instance, you see an old colleague at the airport but are rushing to get to your gate so you say, 'hey, blinka me and we can connect and catch up.' It works because you’ve run out of cards and you don’t remember his name! At a bar you see the girl of your dreams but you're too nervous ask for her number so instead you just say, 'hey, blinka me and maybe we can catch up later'."

blinka.me's challenge, of course, will be creating enough awareness of the site to make it likely that both parties in an encounter will enter the moment. Toward that end, the site's five-person team is currently seeking others interested in working on the project. One to get involved in early...? (Related: Electronic business card forges online connectionsHigh-five the panda to connect onlineDating cards fuse physical & virtual connections.)

Website: www.blinka.me
Contact: duncan@blinka.me

Spotted by: Amanda Browne

 

 

 


 
September 22, 2009
 

Springwise is all about spreading smart new business ideas, so we're always thrilled to hear from readers who have launched a concept that was inspired by something they spotted here. Like Flashchenfotos—which is German for bottle photos and was recently launched in Munich.

Similar to We Shoot Bottles, Flaschenfotos takes pictures of bottles for beverage manufacturers and retailers: high resolution images of bottles against a white background, retouched so that they're ready for use online and in print. Exactly the type of product image that works well for online retail, and that most bloggers and journalists hope to find on a company's website. (Just a gentle hint ;-) Flaschenfotos operates a simple pricing scheme, with an automatic 10% discount for organic and fair trade products. The venture was created by Moritz Wurfbaum and Catharina van Delden of open innovation consultancy innosabi and photographer Veronika Wurfbaum.

While We Shoot Bottles—which is based in the UK—works for international clients, it makes sense to set up services like this locally. It reduces shipping costs, and communication is easier if all parties are in the same time zone and speak the same language. So, keep spreading those good ideas! Just be sure to respect patents and other types of intellectual property.

Website: www.flaschenfotos.de
Contact: info@flaschenfotos.de

 

 

 


 
September 21, 2009
 

Regular Springwise readers may remember Ponoko, the company that turns consumers' creative ideas into real-world, manufactured goods. Some 30,000 products have been made a reality using Ponoko since its launch back in 2007, and now the company has kicked off yet another initiative: 100kGarages, a site that connects creative consumers with small-scale, local garages that can do the manufacturing for them.

Soft-launched in May through a partnership between New Zealand-based Ponoko and North Carolina-based ShopBot Tools, 100kGarages is a community of workshops distributed around the world that are equipped with the digital fabrication tools needed to precisely cut, machine, drill or sculpt the components of virtually any creative project. "Makers"—or those with ideas—can post jobs on the site for items they'd like to get manufactured, including their ideal purchase price and delivery deadline along with sketches and details about colours, materials, measurements and so on. The site is powered by Ponoko's online "click to make" system, and makers can search for a workshop by location as well. "Fabbers"—the small-scale workshops with the necessary tools—can then bid on those jobs with their offer to do the manufacturing. Makers negotiate directly with fabbers on the details of the transaction; once the maker sends payment, the fabber produces and delivers the product. After the work is done, makers can rate and review the fabber in question.

Enabling anyone with an Internet connection to get almost anything custom-made and delivered from thousands of local digital manufacturers, 100kGarages aims to use "grassroots enterprise and ingenuity" to help "modernize school buildings and infrastructure, develop energy-saving alternatives, or simply produce great new products for our homes and businesses." One to put to work for *your* next big idea...?

Website: www.100kgarages.com
Contact: info@100kgarages.com

 

 

 


 
September 21, 2009
 

Manhattan Milk Company reacquainted downtown New Yorkers with doorstep deliveries of bottled milk. Now, another local startup is hoping to, um, milk the same market. Soon to officially launch, Milk Made is offering New Yorkers the chance to have a pint of freshly-made ice cream delivered to their doorstep every month. The service will be by subscription only, and will give members the chance to submit flavour ideas and see how their ice cream is made, as well as attend Milk Made ice cream parties. Pricing for the service is still being finalised, and Milk Made expects to be able to accommodate about 50 members.

So what kind of ice cream are we talking here? You've guessed it: local and organic. The ingredients are sourced from local farmers' markets, so flavours vary with the seasons. There will generally be five to choose from per month, to be detailed on a menu sent to all members. Examples of flavours on offer include Maple Pancake, Berry-Berry Cobbler and Peanut Butter Brown Sugar, all handmade by the company's founders in their East Village flat. Which is about as (still) made here as it gets. (Related: Used cooking oil for ultra-local candlemaking in TokyoHandmade greeting cards by monthly subscription.)

Website: www.milkmadeicecream.com
Contact: info@milkmadeicecream.com

Spotted by: Cecilia Biemann

 

 

 


 
September 21, 2009
 

Thanks to the economic downturn, domestic tourism in the UK has been booming. The UK Caravan Club reported a 40% rise in bookings this year over 2008 figures, while according to the National Office of Statistics, the amount of Brits travelling overseas fell by over 7 million compared with last year. To capitalise on this, camping and caravanning site directory Pitchup.com is making it easier than ever for UK "staycationers" to settle on the right destination.

Launched at the beginning of this holiday season, the website lists over 5,000 camping and caravanning sites around the UK and Ireland. Users can easily narrow down the selection using a whopping 79 different criteria, including whether the site has wifi or disabled facilities, and whether campfires are allowed. Some campsites are grouped by themes, such as "Gastronomic delight" and "Tipis, yurts and wigwams". Users can also search by proximity to attractions such as beaches, battlefields or national parks. And if holiday memories of struggling with maps on the dashboard are putting anyone off, an "Add to TomTom" button next to every listing makes it easy to load directions onto a GPS navigator.

Campsites can be rated by users, creating a listing is free, and no sites are given priority in the search results. So what's the revenue model? The site is currently affiliate driven—listed next to every campsite are, for instance, tickets for upcoming events in the area. But Pitchup's founder, Dan Yates, says there are plans to add an online booking functionality within six months.

One to bring to campers in your neck of the woods? The bigger picture here: online directories for campgrounds are hardly new. But most were built back in the 1990s, and haven't been updated much since. And the same goes for directories in many other categories. Find a few that need to be brought into the 21st century—preferably in related fields—and you could have the makings of your own directory empire. Just be sure to keep innovating ;-)

Website: www.pitchup.com
Contact: www.pitchup.com/about

 

 

 


 
September 21, 2009
 

“Sorry to pull you away from checking out your ex’s photo gallery, but Vitaminwater needs your help.” Offering an alternative use for Facebook, the beverage company is inviting users to create new flavours and vitamin content.

After adding the FlavorCreator app from Vitaminwater’s Facebook page, users can help influence the flavour, functional benefits and design of the new water. First, they are invited to choose their favourite of ten flavours, picked from the ten most mentioned flavours elsewhere on the web according to the app’s ‘buzz meter’. (Which means the crowds are indirectly and unwittingly contributing, too.) The second step lets users play games and answer quiz questions, helping Vitaminwater understand the most desired nutritional benefits, and which functional ingredients to add to the drinks. The last step lets users name the flavour, and decide the aesthetic and copy to be used on the bottle. Rapper 50 Cent and American Idol winner Carrie Underwood will help decide the winning submission, which comes complete with a USD 5,000 prize. The winner will be announced in December, with the flavour available from March 2010.

Product development contests aren't new, of course. But Vitaminwater stresses that this isn't just another marketing program: like Coca-Cola’s new Freestyle machine, the app enables the company to get feedback on the tastes du jour, producing products that are more likely to become best-sellers. R&D, product promotion and branding building: not a bad result from customers frittering away time on their lunch breaks ;-)

Website: www.vitaminwater.comwww.facebook.com/vitaminwater

Spotted by: Judy McRae

 

 

 


 
September 18, 2009
 

From mens' pants to muesli, we've featured dozens of companies that encourage shoppers to design or tweak before they buy. Helping consumers find their way through the customisation maze, Milk or Sugar has started aggregating what's on offer.

The site lists products in a wide variety of categories, outlining pricing, delivery area and payment types to give visitors an idea of the possibilities. Orders aren’t made through Milk or Sugar: if users like what they see, they click through and order directly from the retailer or manufacturer. Launched in August 2009 by Dutch design agency ILUMY, the site’s reviews are written by the Milk or Sugar team. Users’ suggestions are welcomed, and functionality will soon be added to let them rate sites on factors such as creativity and service, along with uploading pictures of the products they've had customised. Categories will also continue to expand—customised fire extinguisher, anyone?

Given the length of the internet's long tail, there are definitely opportunities for consolidating categories and offering an at-a-glance understanding of how they work. There are so many product and service niches crying out to be streamlined using a portal of this type—time to make overwhelmed web users forever indebted to you?

Website: www.milkorsugar.com
Contact: www.milkorsugar.com/have_a_cup_with_us

 

 

 


 
September 18, 2009
 

Expiration dates are commonly found on most food products, but there is currently no law requiring similar labelling on cosmetics. Aiming to protect consumers from the potential hazards of out-of-date makeup and other like goods, Seattle-based Beauty Alert has developed a line of stickers to remind consumers when they're likely to go bad.

All cosmetics have a shelf life—essentially, how long they can stay good while unopened—as well as a home use life span, or how long they remain safe once opened. When either of those periods ends, spoilage can begin, Beauty Alert says, reducing a product's effectiveness and allowing bacterial growth that can cause irritations or infections. Targeting the home use life span is the company's new line of stickers, which come in versions specific to cosmetics that expire in three, six, 12 or 18 months after opening. Consumers simply write on the appropriate type of sticker the date on which they opened the product and affix the sticker directly to it. Then, they'll be reminded to replace the item once that time period has passed. Packages of 24 stickers—six for each type of home use life span—are available online for USD 8.50 each.

Innovation is all about scratching consumers' itches, so to speak; find an unmet need of your own, and your back will likely get scratched in return! ;-)

Website: www.beautyalert.biz
Contact: stacya@beautyalert.biz

Spotted by: Sarah Harlett

 

 

 


 
September 18, 2009
 

Technology has already created myriad new ways for parents to interact with their children, whether by narrating their own storybook videos or by playing an iPhone game on a shared walk through the park. A new option is Story Something, a site that generates personalized e-stories in which the kids listening are the heroes.

Now in private beta, Story Something targets busy parents of kids aged three through eight with a collection of original stories that can be personalized and accessed online or via email. The company has commissioned a team of professional authors to write its stories, which currently number around 50 or so. Parents begin by choosing a theme, browsing by topic or age through choices such as dragons, pets or superheroes, according to a report in TechCrunch. Along with making their selection, they also enter their child's name and age. Story Something then generates a personalized story that can be viewed online or emailed to parents, enabling them to read it from their iPhone or Kindle. Parents can build a virtual bookshelf of their favourites, TechCrunch reported, and they can even get a new story emailed to them every day. Using the site will be free for occasional use or USD 3 per month otherwise, it said.

Currently a TechCrunch50 finalist, San Francisco-based Story Something is reportedly planning to include stories submitted by parents alongside those written by its contributing authors. We'd hope there will be some kind of a reward system for that, allowing contributing parents to share in any earnings their stories bring in, as well as community features that enable rating and sharing. And how about adding the ability to turn the best-loved stories into printed and bound books through a partnership with Blurb—or an option for grandparents, say, to narrate and record them? With fresh content that can't be found elsewhere, the opportunities abound! (Related: iPhone app narrates stories for young kids.)

Website: www.storysomething.com
Contact: info@storysomething.com

 

 

 


 
September 18, 2009
 

Among all the many greeting cards out there for birthdays, weddings, funerals and other occasions, few are appropriate for someone who's behind bars. With that in mind, Three Squares Greetings has developed a complete line of cards specifically focused on prisoners.

Los Angeles-based Three Squares Greetings, which was launched about two years ago, sells a wide variety of cards designed for inmates to both send and receive. Some are centered around traditional occasions such as birthdays and Christmas, while others are prison-specific, such as "getting out" and "tough love." Even cards for the traditional occasions, however, are targeted specifically at those in jail. One birthday card for incarcerated recipients, for example, reads, "Birthdays come and birthdays go. But you're still not here. I miss you." Some even use humour, such as the Christmas card that begins, "You had the choice to be 'naughty or nice.' And you chose..." In Three Squares' "Inside/Out" category, meanwhile, are cards designed for prisoners to send to those outside, such as an "I'm Sorry" card that reads, "I’ve disappointed you too many times. For that, I apologize. I’m trying to get myself together in here."

Company founder and CEO attorney Terrye L. Cheathem explains: “We know there are few words to express thoughts and feelings when a family member, close friend, or the child of a close friend is arrested. Our mission at Three Squares Greetings is to make it easier for you to communicate with those loved ones. Three Squares Greetings does not ignore the reality of those facing the criminal justice system. We recognize that when our loved ones are locked away, we still love them, miss them, and think about them."

Three Squares' cards are available online for USD 3.99 as well as in select California stores. Retailers: There are some 2.3 million prisoners in the US alone—one to add to your own offerings? Alternatively, localize the concept with translations for other parts of the world? (Related: Hot sauce made and marketed by prisoners.)

Website: www.threesquaresgreetings.com
Contact: hmj@threesquaresgreetings.com

Spotted by: Susanna Haynie

 

 

 


 
September 17, 2009
 

Air quality is a matter of urgent concern to residents of most large cities, and Paris is no exception. There are currently only 10 public sensors monitoring that important variable in the City of Lights, however, so a new initiative now aims to equip everyday citizens with a special device that can measure and report air-quality data regularly for collective use.

The Green Watch, or Montre Verte, is a specially equipped device worn on the wrist that includes not just a time piece but also a GPS chip, a Bluetooth chip, and ozone and noise sensors. At scheduled times—or on request of the wearer—the watch measures and saves air-quality and noise data, describing them in qualitative terms such as "good" or "bad." Those values are then returned to the user via the screen of his or her mobile phone in the image of an eye, where the colour of the eye's pupil indicates air quality while that of the iris represents noise. Finally, via the mobile phone, the watch sends the data to an open platform called Citypulse, either in real time via the mobile carrier or by synchronization when the user hooks the watch up to his or her computer. All measures are time-stamped, geolocated and saved; from there, they become available to anyone who wants to use them—and who has committed to an ethical charter. Potential uses include public matters such as mapping and citizen warnings, as well as business applications, such as services for people who suffer from asthma.

The Green Watch program is part of the Cities 2.0 program developed by FING, or the Fondation Internet Nouvelle Génération, as a way to increase the number of environmental sensors in Paris while also motivating citizens to take steps toward sustainability. Data from beta tests performed in May, with sponsorship from the Région Île-de-France and the Futur en Seine event, are currently available on the project's website. One to emulate—or sponsor—in a less-than-entirely-sustainable city near you...?

Website: www.lamontreverte.org
Contact: lamontreverte@fing.org

Spotted by: PICNIC Amsterdam (The Green Watch will be demo'd at this week's PICNIC conference: 23 — 25 September.)

 

 

 


 
September 17, 2009
 

In a bid to coax consumers into spending more at the store this Christmas, retail giant Sears is encouraging them to save first, using their Christmas Club card. Instead of functioning like a credit card (as many store cards do) the Sears card allows users to add value beforehand—just like paying money into a bank account. Providing they do this before November 14, members of the scheme who join before October 31 will be entitled to a handsome reward of 3% extra to spend in Sears, Kmart and associated stores. Compare that with current interest rates on checking and savings accounts and the attraction is obvious.

The scheme—inspired by old-fashioned Christmas clubs at banks and credit unions—could provide an incentive to save (and shop) for now credit-shy Americans, as they begin to emerge from the worst of the financial crisis. For the retailer, the Christmas Club system will guarantee them a share of the Christmas market in advance. (Related: Layaway is back.)

Website: www.sears.com/shc/s/dap_10153_12605_DAP_Christmas+Club
Contact: www.sears.com/shc/s/nb_10153_12608_NB_CSeMail?adCell=IWF

Spotted by: Judy McRae

 

 

 


 
September 17, 2009
 

High-end appliance manufacturer Gorenje is showing ovens and fridges in a different light through their recent collaboration with New York-based designer Karim Rashid. Appliances in Gorenje's new line feature colour-adjustable LED strips, making the Slovenian company the first home appliance manufacturer to offer a solution that allows the users to change the colour of their oven or refrigerator. Gorenje is no stranger to pushing the boundaries of home appliance design. Back in 2006, we featured their Swarovski crystal-encrusted fridges; since then there have been collaborations with top designers Pininfarina and Ora-Ïto.

But this latest line of products is perhaps conceptually their most interesting. Rashid builds on a trend that started in a London hotel: St. Martin's Lane enabled guests to sculpt the lightscape of their rooms back in the '90s. The concept then moved into homes with Philips Living Colours lighting range, which allows people to change a room's colour to suit their mood or to create a different ambience. Applying the concept to large appliances like fridges and ovens is a logical next step. “Today we are dealing with a society based on experience, so objects need to blur experience with form", explains Rashid, reflecting the theme of trendwatching.com's 2006 briefing on insperiences. (Related: White goods morph into whiteboards.)

Website: www.gorenje.com
Email: info@gorenje.si

 

 

 


 
September 17, 2009
 

It couldn't have been long after the invention of the cell phone that parents discovered how useful the devices can be for distracting and entertaining young children. Aiming to provide a more enriching experience than simply playing with the buttons or watching movies, iStoryTime is a new iPhone application that's designed to bring stories to life.

Parents with an iPhone 3G, iPhone or iPod touch can now turn their handset into educational entertainment for kids aged two to seven while they're on the go. Six original narrated stories with illustrations are currently available for USD 1.99 each on the iPhone App Store, with many more in the works, including versions for Android. "Binky the Pink Elephant," for example, tells the story of a little elephant's discovery that being different can be good. iStoryTime's self-navigating and self-narrating book application is designed for use even by two-year-olds, flipping the pages automatically while the child follows along. Kids can choose between two narrators—an adult or a child's voice—or read the book on their own. In addition, the words to the story are included onscreen so beginning readers can make associations between what they hear and the words they see.

Graham Farrar, founder of California-based iStoryTime and parent company FrogDogMedia, explains: “iStoryTime provides mind-enriching entertainment for the kids while making life a little easier for mom or dad. Instead of having to resort to movies or video games to occupy your child when you need a few minutes to finish the grocery shopping, are out at a restaurant, or stuck in traffic, you can give them a story they'll will want to hear and see again and again."

Launched in April, iStoryTime's e-books are available globally, but only in English. One to partner with for regional translations...?

Website: www.istorytimeapp.com
Contact: info@frogdogmedia.com

Spotted by: Susanna Haynie

 

 

 



Just in case you missed it, we've included our previous edition below.

And don't forget—you can access everything we've published in our idea database, which is
conveniently organized by industry.


solepowertile Solar panels shaped like clay roof tiles
Eco & sustainability / Homes & housing

The Sole Power Tile is a roof tile designed to sustainably convert
sunlight into electricity without compromising aesthetics. It's a solar
panel disguised as a clay roof tile.


duofertility Fertility device offers money-back guarantee
Lifestyle & leisure

A UK firm has developed a temperature-measuring device with
accuracy levels so high that it offers a money-back guarantee if
pregnancy is not achieved within 12 months.


dreamheels High-heeled shoes, designed by the crowds
Fashion & beauty

If consumers can design their own fabrics, dresses, handbags and
sneakers, it stands to reason that they should be able to create their
own high-heeled shoes too.


swissdnabank DNA and memories stored in Swiss nuclear shelter
Life hacks

Swiss DNA Bank offers ultra-secure storage that meets Swiss
banking regulations. For a one-time fee of USD 399, customers
can store both self-swabbed DNA and up to 1 GB of data, forever.


onepure Halal cosmetics for Muslim women
Fashion & beauty

It's estimated that 70% of Muslims worldwide live by the code of halal.
That's a big market for producers of halal food, but one that has largely
been ignored by the casually carnivorous cosmetics industry.


mariahcarey Sponsorship covers costs of Mariah Carey's latest CD
Entertainment / Marketing & advertising

Sponsorship comes in the form of a small booklet that accompanies
the album, filled with glossy advertisements that promote a Mariah
Carey-esque lifestyle.


worksnug iPhone app helps road warriors find a place to work
Telecom & mobile / Life hacks

WorkSnug uses augmented reality to show users which workspaces
are nearby along with reviews of their offerings: wifi access, power
supply, noise levels, community feel and, yes, even the coffee.


greenweaver Recycled plastic bottles into graduation gowns
Eco & sustainability / Education

The bottles are turned into molten plastic pellets, which are then spun
into a soft, breathable polyester fabric. An average of 23 bottles goes
into each gown.


vittana P2P student loans for the developing world
Non-profit / Social cause / Education

Entrepreneurs in the developing world have already benefited from
peer-to-peer lending programs. Aiming to bring similar benefits to
students is Vittana, which focuses on educational loans.


kyjen Brain-building toys for dogs
Lifestyle & leisure

If pets now have their own airline and their own social network, it
seems only fitting that canines should have more sophisticated
entertainment than the simple bones their forebears chewed on.


genero Music fans paid to create videos for fave bands
Entertainment

Currently on the verge of kicking off its first contest, startup Genero.tv
has signed on a number of artists interested in getting fans to create
the official videos for their music.


sneakerlisting Niche classifieds for sneakerheads
Fashion & beauty

Equal parts community and classifieds site, SneakerListing is a
new destination for sneaker aficionados to buy and sell limited
edition footwear.


joebikeCash for (two-wheeled) clunkers
Transportation / Retail

Portland bike vendor Joe Bike has launched its own Cash for
Clunkers program whereby consumers can donate an old car
or bike in exchange for discounts on a new utility bike.


getagreatboss Jobs site focuses on reviewing 'great bosses'
Life hacks

Operating under the principle that "people join companies, but they
leave bosses," GetaGreatBoss facilitates reviews of managers by
those best qualified to do so: the people who work for them.


looklet Virtual studio lets anyone be a fashion editor
Fashion & beauty / Media & publishing

Stockholm-based Looklet offers a selection of seven models,
38 backdrops and almost 2,000 items of clothing and accessories
that can be combined to try out new looks and combinations.

 


 

 

 

Bloggers, journalists, editors:

Springwise and its global network of 8,000 spotters scan the globe for smart new business ideas, delivering instant inspiration to entrepreneurial minds from San Francisco to Singapore. Time to start the Next Big Thing!

 

Bloggers, journalists, editors:

Feel free to publish part or all of these trends at your convenience. As long as you properly name, credit and link the source, www.springwise.com, we're happy. If you're a journalist working on a new business idea-related article, check out our press pages or request a quote: we'll do our best to make your deadline-dominated life easier.

 

Change your email address or unsubscribe

Has your email address changed? Please update your details here: springwise.com/newsletter/change
Want to unsubscribe? Please go to: springwise.com/newsletter/unsubscribe

 

Disclaimer

The author reserves the right not to be responsible for the topicality, correctness, completeness or quality of the information provided. Liability claims regarding damage caused by the use of any information provided, including any kind of information which is incomplete or incorrect, will therefore be rejected.

 

Disclaimer
Springwise BV, a 53rd Floor BV company.
Address: Laurierstraat 71, 1016 PJ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Web address: www.springwise.com
Contact email address: liesbeth@springwise.com