Brilliant Idea. Mobile Foundry

This is brilliant. It’s a mobile foundry that can be built from components readily available in the developing world which allows waste aluminum cans to be recycled into useful objects. Other than fire (which is fueled by scrap wood and paper and recycled cooking oil), the only energy requirement is for a hairdryer to boost the heat of the furnace. This innovation offers an opportunity for the street collectors to ‘create’ value by up-cycling the waste into new products rather than simply sell the collected aluminum cans to the large recycling plants for a pittance.

Really worth a watch, but the whole story is available here,!/13754/can-city-the-mobile-foundry/


Brilliant Idea. Crowd-based testing

Another brilliant idea I wish I had thought of.


Brilliantly simple. You describe the action that you want to test. Rainforest QA then have a ‘crowd’ of people – real humans rather than scripts, who do the action that you requested and tell you (or show you in terms of screen shots) what happened.

Within 5 minutes I got 5 results. 3 out of five got the result that I expected, but crucially 2 of them gave me a different result proving that the way we assumed our Users would act was different to how they actually acted.

You can pay for 100 ‘actions’ per month for £65 / $100. Why wouldn’t anyone include this in their development and testing strategy? Brilliant. .

Will this innovation make the conventional camera obsolete?

We’ve long been aware that the mobile phone has been an enormously disruptive force on the digital camera market. Could this new innovation be the final nail in the camera’s coffin?

Although the smart phone in our pocket has become a pretty decent camera, it doesn’t do what a conventional camera does because it only has a digital zoom and we know that when we zoom in we loose image quality.

This innovation from Sony may change that. It’s a conventional lens that fits onto the phone.


Another idea I wish I had thought of!

More information here.

Brilliant Idea. Link to information without improving the page rank

do not link

There’s so much that is brilliant about the web, but among the many drawbacks is that the way search engines like Google rank information it can easily promote ‘popular’ but misleading information over dry but accurate resouces. I’ve come across no better example of this than when the average parent ‘researches’ the link between vaccines and autism on Google.

I don’t wish to be too judgmental to those parents who have done this and convinced themselves that there is a link and therefore have not vaccinated their children because they are simply trying to do the right thing, however.. the mental thing which really ‘gets my goat’ is that they completely misunderstand how Google ranks information and that it’s practically impossible for the layman to ‘research’ the subject.

In other words, if a thousand people link to a YouTube video (for arguments sake) full of psuedo science and bulls**t saying this is brilliant and a thousand people link to it saying this is bulls**t and not to be trusted and then provides a link to a peer reviewed scientific paper with a recommendation that they look at the facts, Google will rank the bulls**t video first because it has twice as many links (there is of course more to the ranking algorithm, but I am simplifying it massively to make a point). It doesn’t and can’t factor in efficacy, simply links.

This simple, but brilliant service allows you to create a link that Google and other search engines can’t rank.

Brilliant Idea.

flattrThis is a brilliant idea.

It allows you to reward the people that create brilliant content on the web.

You choose how much you would like to pay a month then click the Flattr button on participating sites. At the end of the month Flattr take that money and share it equally amongst the people that you have Flattr’d. Click here to see their explanation.

Equally if you are a content creator, you place the Flattr button on your site and when Falttr-ers click the button you get some money to support the effort you put into the creating the content.

Brilliant. The challenge for the Flattr team will be to  motivate people to a) pay for something that they have only ever got for free and b) don’t need to do. It’ will be fascinating to see how this develops.

Brilliant Idea. The Anticafé

anti cafe

I’m fascinated by disruptive innovations and here is an exciting example from Paris, France.

If you’ve visited Paris you will appreciate that you are unlikely to go short if you need a cafe. It’s probably the capital city of cafe culture so clearly they were looking for a competitive advantage and they did this by re-thinking their business model.

Coffee chains like Starbucks and Costa have become ubiquitous (certainly on British high streets) by recognising that as well as providing excellent coffee they also need to provide a relaxing, comfortable functional environment for people to meet, relax and work.

We pay for the environment with the cost of a coffee.

The anti-cafe in Paris turns this on its head. You pay for the environment – somewhere to work and meet which costs 4EUROS per hour (£3.50 or $5.50) and you get everything else for free – food, drink, wine (they are French) but also Wifi and printers.