Here are five innovative businesses ideas that may have slipped under your radar
Business innovations often become legendary and the same innovations are often brought up in conversational situations as disparate as business key note speeches and family barbecues. Who hasn’t heard of the impact of the iPhone and the genius mind behind it in tens of different places?
Business leaders and entrepreneurs can learn much from tales of innovation, but if we were all to follow the same examples and stories where would be? Perhaps in a situation where business models and competitors converge, and where points of differentiation become smaller and smaller – sound familiar?
So, here are five amazing recent innovations that you may not have heard of, but you really ought to know about.
1) The Odon Device
Q: How do you get a wine bottle cork out of an empty bottle when the cork has been pushed inside?
A: You get a plastic bag, push it inside, blow into the bag until it envelops the cork, and gently pull it out.
Q: Really? How clever, but what possible practical application could a clever parlour trick have?
A: It’s possible to use the same principle to remove a baby from it’s mother without the use of forceps.
In one of the most extreme and ingenious cases of an inventor taking ideas across boundaries, car mechanic, Jorge Odón came up with the idea after watching You Tube videos of the parlour trick. The idea came in a bolt from the blue as he lay in bed.
The Odon Device is currently under going trials and it looks set to save many lives across the world, especially in the poorest countries. The possible impact is staggering – 18 million difficult b
irths happen every year, and 800 women die from preventable causes during child birth PER DAY!
“The Odon device, developed by WHO and now undergoing clinical trials, offers a low-cost simplified way to deliver babies, and protect mothers, when labour is prolonged. It promises to transfer life-saving capacity to rural health posts, which almost never have the facilities and staff to perform a C-section. If approved, the Odon device will be the first simple new tool for assisted delivery since forceps and vacuum extractors were introduced centuries ago.”
Dr Margaret Chan
Another medical innovation that again has the potential to save an enormous amount of pain death and suffering in poor countries is Sproxil, which is used to combat counterfeit pharmaceuticals that are currently swamping many countries. This is a huge problem which hampers health organisations in their missions to save lives.
- 64% of the anti-malaria drugs in Nigeria are fake.
- $200 Billion – the estimated size on the fake and or substandard medication market.
- Counterfeit drugs from steroids to cancer treatments with no active ingredients are in use in the USA.
- As usual the poorest people are at the most risk .
- WHO reports 100,000 people in Africa die every year due to fake medication.
Sproxil SMS is a service marketed to pharmaceutical companies that attached a label with a scratch card. The purchaser can scratch the card and then SMS the code that is revealed to a company number, and quickly receive an answering SMS that tells them if the medication is genuine or fake. There is also a smart phone verification app available. Sproxil is used in over ten different industries including pharmaceuticals, agribusiness, car parts and beauty & personal care supplies.
3) Diet Sensor
Diet sensor is a hand held device that can scan your food for nutrients, and is the worlds first instant nutrition coach. It uses a molecular sensor called SCiO which reads the chemical make-up of materials including food & drink. The device uses Near Infra-Red Spectroscopy to identify the molecular composition of anything you point it at. The device then trasmits to an internet server the data you’ve recorded, which gets added to a rapidly growing data base of matter, before finally sending the composition data analysis to your smart phone.
The science geek in me is getting excited already and I admit I have great personal interest in this device as both me and my daughter have food sensitivity issue that mean we have to carefully scan every label, and even then the only way to be sure is to eat it. This makes untested food a nightrmare, as food labels cannot be trusted, and some food manufacturers use loop holes to get preservatives and other nasties into our food while maintaining a “clean label”. This device may give the public the power back over their food, and allow us all to take greater control over what we eat. The potential knock on effects could be huge as we’ve all seen the power that informed customers bring to bear.
4) Senz Windproof Umbrella
My first reaction was mild disbelief and an image of an umbrella made out of solid steel rods, but this innovative company have instead used knowledge and research into aerodynamics to design an umbrella that is completely practical, looks good and doesn’t turn inside out in a storm, or gusts of wind. Instead of fighting the wind this brolly floats on it, leaving the operative fluster-free as all those around him turn inside out. This extends the possible usage envelope for an umbrella significantly since rain and wind are not exactly strangers to each other.
Senz Windproof Umbrella also include innovations like eye saving clips on the end of each spoke. I’m 6’3 and I can tell you the site of a a crowd of umbrellas approaching with hundreds of eye level stick poking out is enough to dread storm season in the city!
They come in many colours, but I’m holding out for a snow camo one!
Another of those inventions that seems that useful, obviously and simple you wonder why we haven’t been using them for ages – it’s been on the market for a couple of years now.
Tile is a small widget – as small plastic tile with a hole in the corner, and an associated app. The idea is simple – attach the tile to something you value, like your wallet, handbag, briefcase, child or dog, and when the troublesome items gets itself lost you track it’s exact location with the smart phone app.
The possible application are pretty much endless, but I can’t keep thinking of ways I can get it attached to the kids so the next time they are hilariously hiding amongst clothing racks in department stores I can track them down with a better means than just following the giggling! I can see these things becoming mainstream pretty fast as word spreads. The company will probably benefit from success stories greatly, and they already have some interesting ones on their website.