Thursday, September 23, 2010

Simply Great Idea: A Better Pizza Box

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ideas to Give Away: Watch Batteries Made Easy

I really hate changing my watch battery.

I used to take my watches to a kiosk at the mall. Not only was it inconvenient, but the very last time I went they broke the crystal and replaced it with glue everywhere. I made them fix that, but afterward my watch face fell apart inside. So now I do it myself. It's not complicated, just tiny.

So I would love it if someone could invent a watch battery that could be recharged without removal. Like my iPod or computer. Before bed, you just attach a tiny plug to the watch and the other end to the wall and in the morning it's all charged up. Maybe they have and it's just so out of my price range that I don't know it exists. In that case, make it affordable.

Better yet, if a battery could be invented that could be charged through the watch body then you could use it on any watch, not just special ones with plugs.

If you're up to the challenge and decide to do this, please consider me as a tester. I'd love to help.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ideas to Give Away: Motel Art Cooperative

Since I've been inspired by my previous post, I'm going to start telling you about ideas that I have. They're available to anyone who wants to pursue them. I'll keep the ones for me to myself.

Idea: Motel Art Cooperative
Every now and then I see one those motels where there's a house/office in the middle surrounded or backed by small room units that's kind of run down and lonely. I can't help but think that it could make a great art cooperative.

Imagine this: The house/office becomes a retail gallery space. The rooms become studio space. Every one of them has running water and a bathroom and the room is often large enough for the average artist looking for space.

Those who rent the studios can show their work in the retail gallery and help to run it just like a regular art cooperative. If there is space on the grounds, a garden to house larger sculptures could be created, giving the whole space an inviting feel to passers by.

It's also an ideal situation for a studio walk since you could visit 15-40 artists very easily, moving from room to room. Most motels are grouped in the same area, making other businesses within that cluster likely to succeed with the touristy crowd.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bureau of Idea Approval

I love this blog post on Monetize Yourself. Pardon the pun, but it's a good idea. We should all work together to make our world a more idea-friendly place. I have experienced how idea-unfriendly our culture can be.

"Wait a minute," you say. "I see a lot of people making their ideas happen. The United States is built on the concept of entrepreneurship."

My response to that is, "Then why aren't you acting on your good ideas?"

What you've probably discovered is that if you tell someone about a good idea you have, especially if it's your spouse or someone close to you, you were probably humored if not immediately discouraged. When I say "humored" I mean that they don't believe you can do it but they don't want to say it out loud.

Those who turn their ideas into reality aren't the only ones with good ideas. They were either well supported and encouraged by those close to them, had to convince their loved ones that it's worth encouraging and supporting them, or they simply chose to go against the grain and do it anyway.

So, are you one of those people with a great idea? GO FOR IT. DO WHATEVER IT TAKES IF YOU REALLY BELIEVE IN IT!

Have you been discouraged by those close to you who don't believe in you or that you can do it? That's a hard one.

Your road is going to be much harder. If those holding you back are friends or other people you're not married or related to, get them out of your life. You don't need them. If you are related or married to them, you then have to figure out how to develop a healthier relationship so that they can learn to encourage you in your dreams.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Poverty

This is a quote from "Nine Hills to Nambonkaha" by Sarah Erdman. She was a Peace Corp worker in Ivory Coast and this book is her story about her experiences there.

"Poverty no longer means rags to me. It doesn't mean mud huts and no beds, because that's how most live here. It doesn't mean starving kids, because most of those round bellies are just swollen with worms; serious malnutrition seems more of an accident than an obstacle. Poverty is something I nearly forget in the village, because it's so well disguised in the good sense of community and the homogeneity of life. The villagers are too proud to let it show. It takes shape in the things you can't notice just passing by. Maybe you can see it if you look closely at the dinner bowls: Is the starch slowly edging out the sauce? Is there macaroni in the sauce instead of fish? The villagers seem so smiling and carefree, seem so happy, make me sure I could be glad to have nothing too. But how much do they suffer quietly? How much hunger do they swallow with a smile?" (pages 157-158)

It brings to mind what so many of us in the wealthy West suffer from. She says that poverty isn't the symptoms that are so easy for us to see. It's deeper than that and in order to eradicate it we must bring ourselves to them, humbly, as a community, with dignity. They do the best with what they have and us coming in to fix the symptoms won't work. We must love them first, and work along side them to see where the poverty really lies. Both in ourselves and in them. Then we can work together to eradicate each other's poverty.

Perhaps our gift really is to help them fill their bowls with meat and to discover how to prevent their children from getting sick so often. Even how to be able to hope for the future.

Perhaps their gift is to us is contentment with what God has given us, faith that he will always take care of us, and the ability to be generous appropriately.

What is needed all depends on the truth that is found in a relationship of trust.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Inventions That Make a Difference: Learning Landscape

Invention doesn't just mean objects. It might mean interactive landscapes as described in Design Revolution: 1001 Products That Empower People by Emily Pilloton.

Project H Design came up with a Learning Landscape for teaching math. They installed one at an orphanage in Uganda and it's designed to be sturdy, fun, and educational. They designed 10 math based games to be played within a square grid with tires placed on end and buried half way up in the ground.

The games are designed to teach all the basic math concepts as well as spatial and logical reasoning.

Learn more about it and how to get one here.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Inventions That Make a Difference: FreeRice

We all like games and FreeRice is a fun, educational, and helpful one featured in Design Revolution: 1001 Products That Empower People by Emily Pilloton.

It's fun because it's a game. It's educational because it teaches you vocabulary. It's  helpful because while you're playing and learning, you're feeding people.

For every correct answer you get 10 grains of rice in your rice bowl. When you win 10 grains of rice, 10 grains of rice are donated to United Nations Word Food Program initiatives. The more you play, the more rice you win and the more people you feed.

For those who don't enjoy vocabulary, there are other versions which include chemistry, geography, and languages.

So go play!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Inventions That Make a Difference: Foldschool

A really fun idea in Design Revolution: 1001 Products That Empower People by Emily Pilloton that might make you want to be a kid again is Foldschool DIY cardboard furniture.

If you go to the Foldschool web site you'll find free plans to download and make fun furniture for kids out of corrugated cardboard.

If you try some of this, let me know. I'd love to hear about it.