Yesterday, I spent the entire, wonderful day hearing the pitches from the social entrepreneurs who have spent their summers at the Unreasonable Institute’s incubator, and I can’t tell you how unbelievably inspiring it was.
A business plan from a Ugandan for turning agri-waste into eco-friendly charcoal in rural Uganda to prevent de-forestation driven by demand for cooking fuel, an engineer who has created a reusable bag and chemical that clean contaminated water and can be distributed in disaster relief areas instead of (and much more efficiently than) bottled water, and many many more. Y’all, I wish I could fund them all.
I was blown away and my heart was brimming over with excitement that the world contains such creative, smart, passionate people. Their final video pitches aren’t online yet– I’ll post them when they are– but I thought I’d share another cool innovation I recently came across in the meantime.
Featured at the Clinton Global Initiative, The sOccket (seen above) is a soccer ball invented by four girls from Harvard that creates usable energy as it is kicked. 15 minutes of play generates 3 hours of electricity. With 25% of the world lacking electricity, there’s a huge need for innovations like this (also saw some great ones yesterday!).
The ball actually has a socket on it, so a light or cell phone charger can be plugged directly in (learned yesterday that phone charging is in huge demand in areas without electricty… crazy, huh? Phones but no electricity?). Pretty cool, eh?
The video below was created for sOccket in collaboration with American Express’s Member Project.
This has got to be one of the most innovative ads I’ve ever seen. In fact, outside of the use of StickyBits, it’s the only print ad I’ve seen that utilizes and integrates iPhone technology and apps.
Here’s the scenario: Volkswagen has just introduced three new innovations that they want people to experience, because experience is really the only way to understand innovations such as these.
The usual strategy for a car company would be to get people in for test drives, which in reality only a handful of people will actually do. VW had the brilliant idea to use a medium with a much broader reach– print ads– to get more people interested, and then to let them “experience” the innovations through an iPhone app!
So the print ad provides an aerial shot of a road that the user can “test drive” using the iPhone app! The app has three modes, one for each innovation– a sensor that vibrates when you get too close to the edge of the road, another for when you get to close to a car in front of you, and a third that lets your headlights bend around curvy roads.
Check out the video to see it in action.
I’d download the app and try this just to “test drive” the ad, even though I’m not in the market! Just to see the technology in action! Brilliant!!
PS- Did you know that not a single Superbowl ad featured or encouraged connecting to their brand via social media? Isn’t that remarkable?! What a missed opportunity… all those people sitting there with their cell phones within feet. Apparently, the big ad agencies are slipping behind when it comes to creative integrations of social media! I realize this is rather unrelated to the post, but in contrast to all those Superbowl agencies, VW’s agency came up with a very creative new media ad-integration.