A children’s book that teaches young girls how to code. An apartment complex that gives residents a free bike. Gym classes that cost less the more frequently you attend. These are just some of the amazing ideas from around the world that get compiled and disseminated daily by the folks at Springwise, a company dedicated to scanning the globe for inspiring new business ideas. I mentioned this company yesterday when writing about a database of ideas that I’d like to create as they are one of the only places that I know of to maintain a database of their own.
To find out more about this amazing company and their desire to make the world a better place I exchanged emails with Chris Kreinczes, Springwise’s Managing Director. With over ten years of experience as a writer, public speaker, and trend watcher Chris has a wealth of knowledge about innovation. Here’s what he had to say:
Q: I believe that the work that you are doing over at Springwise.com is very important as you are helping to spread great ideas and promote a culture of innovation. Would you agree with that sentiment? What is it that you hope to accomplish through Springwise?
A: The primary aim of Springwise — be it online or through our presentations — is to inspire. We believe that there is room for innovation across all industries, and collaborations and genuinely creative and uninhibited thinking are the key to unlocking this. One of the advantages of a platform such as Springwise is that we cover innovations from a broad variety of sectors, enabling readers to draw inspiration from perhaps unexpected sources.
Q: You’ve been described as an innovation expert. In your opinion what kind of innovations can we expect to see over the next decade? What’s going to be the next big thing? Will it be 3-D printing? A new material like Graphene? Something else?
A: Certainly wearable technology is the next major frontier for digital. All of the big players are moving with pace into this area, and startups will be pushing the possibilities at the same time. 3D printing has been around for a while now, but as materials become cheaper and printers become more capable, it could soon have it’s day in the mainstream. The exciting thing here is that it’s a technology which will have ramifications everywhere, from supply chains, to retail environments, to clothing.
Q: Everyday, you and your team have to come up with three new inspirational business ideas. Is it ever a struggle to live up to that standard?
A: We have a team of 17,000 Spotters globally who send in roughly one hundred innovations a day, sourced from around the world. With that many ideas to analyse we usually have the opposite problem, whereby it’s hard to limit ourselves to 15 a week.
Q: What separates a great idea from the pack? Are there certain things that you look for when evaluating a product or company?
A: Our main criteria is that the innovation must be in some way genuinely innovative. Another company offering a “Buy One Give One Model” won’t cut it, unless it’s a genuinely remarkable and unexpected application. We’re looking for the model or central premise itself to be innovative. Secondly, the company must have just come to market, or be on the brink of coming to market — we steer clear of concepts that may never materialise. Lastly, we’re always interested in a range of ideas from across the globe, as well as a strong mix of digital and physical innovations.
Q: Thanks to shows like Shark Tank it seems that entrepreneurism is at an all time high. Do you think interest in startups and new business ideas is just a passing fad or do you think the trend will continue?
A: I think with the rise of factors such as 3D printing and home code academies, we’ll see a continued rise in home grown innovative solutions for the foreseeable future. Especially combined with the fact that there is continued media hype over the large figures many startups are now being sold for to the major players…
Q: Your focus is more on the entrepreneurial side of things as you cover already existing products and companies. On the other hand I tend to write more about loose ideas, concepts, new technologies, etc. that aren’t necessarily consumer facing at the moment. Things like nanotechnology, synthetic biology, augmented reality, etc. Are you interested in those things as well? If so, is there anything in particular that stands out to you?
A: While concepts and scientific/technological breakthroughs are always an area of interest, we have a strong focus on ideas which either have already — or we feel definitely will — come to market. Of course it’s necessary for us to keep tabs on what’s going on a level down from here, but there are plenty of other sites which focus specifically on that level. We focus on the tangible, in order to avoid speculation and a drift into the realm of science fiction.
Q: One of the things that I’d like to do is create an ideas database so that someone can quickly and easily access information about concepts for inventions and new technologies the way they can use the Springwise database to retrieve information about the products and companies that you’ve covered. Do you think there would be interest in such a database?
A: Very possibly. The issues here would be sourcing the infromation effectively and, where necessary, incoporating the neccessary patent information etc.
Q: Springwise covers a variety of topics ranging from health & wellbeing to entertainment. Which of those sections interests you the most and why?
A: We try to be unbiased in our coverage in order to ensure we cover a genuinely broad range of industries. However, on a personal level, I take particular interest in those innovations which seek to use business as a source of good for the world — be it through sustainability initiatives or social causes.
Q: What’s your favorite idea that Springwise covered recently? In my opinion it has got to be the edible water blob!
A: I like to go walking, so for me it would have to be the Life Tech Jacket created for the Korean brand Colon Sport. It incorporated a built-in first aid kit, straps for carrying another body in the event of a rescue, as well as a wind generator which powered a built in heating system for when temperatures dropped. A little excessive for my needs but interesting nonetheless!
Thanks to Chris Kreinczes and his team at Springwise great ideas get spread worldwide everyday.