Browsing Posts in Innovation Examples

AquaNotes Picture

Great product for capturing ideas

I love to feature examples of innovative products.  The product I discuss in this article is a particularly good example because it is an innovative product that helps innovators!  I recently purchased this product, Aqua Notes, which is a notepad that can be used when wet.  This is perfect for a shower, boat, camping trip or a walk in the rain.  I tried the notepad myself, and it works great.  The picture to the left was taken after writing a note while the notepad and pencil were wet.  After the note dried, it was perfectly readable and the paper remained flat – not wrinkled and no curled-up edges.

In previous posts, I have discussed the many different locations where people develop creative ideas.  Over the years, I have talked with many innovators and creative thinkers who often find inspiration while taking a shower.  I’ve lost count of the number of times people have said something like, “someone needs to invent a way to take notes in the shower.”  This product is the answer to that request.  If you are a “creative shower thinker”, this might be the perfect tool for capturing those valuable ideas.

This example illustrates an innovative product that fills a market need.  I was so impressed with the Aqua Notes that I purchased several notepads to give to friends and clients who are creative thinkers.  What can you do in your own business to fill a gap in the marketplace?  Are you talking to customers (or potential customers) and following trends in your industry to identify these gaps?  Filling a gap may not require a new product or service.  Some gaps can be filled by adding a new feature to an existing product or adapting the existing product for sale in a different market segment.

The next time you hear someone in your market say “I wish someone would create a …..”, listen closely – this is valuable information that gives your business an opportunity to fill a marketplace gap.

Many new fitness products are released into the marketplace every year.  A couple months ago I received an innovative new fitness device as a gift.  I love this little gadget and I’m amazed at the innovative features offered by this fitness tracker.  Since I’m always watching for innovative products and services, I was excited to try out this new fitness tracker.

Fitbit Ultra The device, called a fitbit, is a 21st century pedometer (see picture on the left – click the picture to visit the company’s web site).  The old-fashioned pedometers measured the number of steps a person walked each day.  I had one of those old devices many years ago – I used it for a while, but the novelty wore off quickly.  I often had to adjust the device to be sure it was properly registering my steps.  Counting my steps each day was useful, but the device had no other features.  Also, I had to record my steps each day and then reset the pedometer each morning.

But, my new fitbit is a completely different story.  Yes, it counts my steps – but that’s just the beginning.  This device counts the number of stairs climbed each day, the number of calories burned, sleep patterns, and more.  The fitbit wirelessly communicates with my laptop, which automatically stores my daily steps, stairs climbed, and other data.  Also, an app for my smartphone displays this data and lets me enter other information, such as the glasses of water I drink, the food I eat, and more.  I recharge the device about once a week by connecting it to a docking device that connects to my computer.

The small size allows me to easily carry the fitbit in my pocket or clip it on a shirt sleeve or belt.  I find myself looking at the device many times each day and it helps motivate me to go for a quick walk or climb an extra flight of stairs to meet my daily goals.  And, you can “compete” with your friends that also have a fitbit to see who climbs the most stairs in a day, etc.  This social aspect of fitness provides new motivation to be active every day – and lets me participate with friends all over the world.

I love innovative products like this – taking an existing product (pedometer) and putting a new “twist” on the design that completely changes the functionality and usefulness of the product.  Think about the products/services in your own business.  Can you “update” those products/services to create a whole new user experience?  And, if you have a fitbit, let me know so we can have a friendly fitness competition.

I created the following video using You Tube’s Search Story.

What do you think?  You can create your own Search Story (free) at http://www.youtube.com/searchstories

My family and I are enjoying a relaxing holiday weekend (Memorial Day in the United States).

I’m often surprised how many people develop creative ideas when they are relaxing or doing something that is not focused on creative thinking.  Often, ideas “pop” into people’s minds at the most unexpected (and unplanned) times.

This happened to me last week.  I had been working all morning on various business projects.  I took a break to go play with our dogs in the back yard.  While I was throwing toys for the dogs, I was not thinking about my business projects.  But, while playing I came up with a fantastic idea for a new project that can help small business owners.  When I finished playing with the dogs, I quickly took action on the idea and shared it with a business partner that can help me implement the idea.  She was excited too and said “You should play with your dogs more often!”

I’m off to do some more “relaxing” with my family – I can’t wait to see what ideas come to me this afternoon.

Please share your own creative experiences by leaving a comment below.

Can a soccer shoe be innovative?  Absolutely!

Shoe manufacturer Adidas has developed an innovative soccer shoe that weighs only 5.8 ounces.  The manufacturer says these are the lightest soccer shoes on the market – the average soccer shoe weighs about 10 ounces.

Adidas applied several innovations in developing this new shoe – including a new approach to manufacturing the sole of the shoe as well as a new material used in the upper portion of the shoe.  To see all the details about this new soccer shoe, click here to read the article in Fast Company magazine.

Tell us about your favorite innovation by leaving a comment below.

Here’s an example of a situation where someone found a solution to a problem.  However, they forgot to consider the new problems caused by their solution!

Many cities are installing new traffic signals (or modifying existing signals) to use low-energy light bulbs, which results in savings on energy costs.  However, in cold climates these energy-efficient light bulbs have a problem.  Some cities like Green Bay, Chicago and Minneapolis are having difficulties when continue reading…

Many innovations solve problems or simply make life easier.  Here’s a wonderful example of using innovation to solve a current problem.

Problem:  Kids with Diabetes need to monitor their blood sugar level throughout the day.  This involves an uncomfortable finger prick each time their blood sugar level is tested.  Kids may attempt to avoid this daily testing, which may jeopardize their health.

Solution:  Combine the blood sugar testing procedure with something kids enjoy … continue reading…

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