In the world of creativity, if you're not starting a fire, then what's the point? So, we've created a portal to celebrate the most revolutionary and thought-provoking ideas we're seeing in the world today. Some are ideas we've recognized from others and we're tipping our hats to, and others are ones we thought of (go figure). Either way you cut it, you won't find a dull moment here, and hopefully we've inspired you to start your own fire.
MAC Cosmetics, a company famed for its collaborations with celebrities (and even a few fictional characters) and its bold, striking makeup looks, announced yesterday that it would fittingly release a line of cosmetics in honor of the late Tejano pop star Selena, who was known to many as “the Latina Madonna” for her style and her domination of the Latin music scene in the ’90s.
However, the most noteworthy aspect of this collection is that not only is it inspired by one of the Mexican-American community’s biggest pop icons, but it had a grassroots origin: a Change.org petition. The petition, started by Patty Rodriguez, asked for 5,000 signatures, which it earned in less than 24 hours. After just three months, the petition had garnered over 37,000 signatures.
MAC posted an Instagram picture announcing the collaboration with the caption: “Like the legend herself, Selena Quintanilla’s fans are an inspiration to us all for their love and enthusiasm. It’s happening! We are excited to announce the M•A•C Selena Quintanilla collection, available in 2016. @SelenaQOfficial#MACSelena”
In an age where social media rules consumer communication, the brand’s decision to honor the late pop star shows that it is truly built around its consumer’s preferences. Change.org boasts hundreds of thousands of victorious petitions, ranging from local government to nationwide legislation, but the announcement was seen as a direct response from the makeup company; the success of the petition has been attributed to both Selena’s loyal fans, and the brand’s willingness to listen to its customers’ demands, a pragmatic business tactic that companies like Urban Decay have found effective in the past.
The Mac + Selena collection will debut in late 2016.
What Sparks Our Fire: A brand that stays consistent with its image and caters to its consumers
With streaming services like Netflix and Hulu Plus on the rise (such as Netflix announcing that its second-quarter revenue exceeded estimates at $1.64 billion), tech giants are competing to enhance the streaming experience, revolutionizing the way we watch TV.
It’s clear that this is a step in the right direction, according to a report from Google regarding engagement via Chromecast that revealed users transmitting media to their TVs watch 50% more video than the average mobile app user. Chromecast, along with competitors such as Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV, represents another huge push toward digital streaming over regularly scheduled programming, which could mean the end of TV as we know it now.
Earlier this year, The Artifice reported that more than 40% of American homes used a streaming service as of the fall of 2014, which shows that the demand for “on-demand” services has increased dramatically and is becoming rapidly integrated with the average consumer lifestyle.
What Sparks Our Fire: Data that shows how a consumer preference shift and new technology is changing the traditional pastime of watching television
When Amazon launched 20 years ago, online retail shopping was revolutionized. Ten years later, Amazon introduced the Prime program, offering members free two-day shipping in exchange for a yearly fee. Today, as arguably the biggest player in the retail industry, Amazon celebrated it’s 20 year Anniversary by offering all-day deals for Prime members and dubbing the day ‘Prime Day’.
In preparation for Prime Day, Amazon announced some of the top deals it’d be offering, but allowed users to anticipate the rest. And starting at 12:00 AM PT (or, 3 AM on the East Coast), the deals opened up, with new ones popping up almost every 15 minutes.
Customer reaction all day has been mixed, with some calling today a failure. Twitter users– using #PrimeDay– have voiced their frustration at being locked out of deals, the lack of transparency around the flash sales, and even the completely weird things Amazon chose to put on sale in the first place (check out Mashable’s list here).
Despite all of the jokes at their expense, Amazon is aware of the long-term benefits of Prime Day. Before the deals began, Amazon promoted their 30-day trial accounts for new Prime users on their front page. Since deals were only open to Prime members, trial users were also able to take advantage of the deals. By giving trial users the opportunity to experience Prime during Prime Day (and thus offering them double the savings), Amazon has surely proven the value of the program to many new users who will convert to paying members after their trial ends.
What Sparks Our Fire: Celebrating a retail giant for it’s long-term thinking
Dubai is known for continually being on the forefront of modern technology. This summer, it has one more surprise for its residents—massive, 20-foot-high “palm trees” made of metal that harness the power of solar energy to provide Wi-Fi and power.
“Smart Palm” boasts Wi-Fi hotspots, phone-charging stations, informational touchscreens, and even security cameras and an emergency button for safety. They’re completely self-sustained and green, thanks to giant solar panels that serve as the fronds.
While there are only two standing for now, the company plans on introducing another 103 across Dubai, and potentially switching to a 3-D printing manufacturing process. Viktor Nelepa, the company’s founder, wrote in a press release that his goal was “to provide data, connectivity, energy [all] in a sustainable manner,” while still maintaining the cultural significance of the date palm.
What Sparks Our Fire: Making technology greener and more accessible to the modern user.
Sometimes the best inventions are those that don’t actually invent anything new, but instead improve upon existing problems. A wheelchair may not be as sexy or portable as a smartphone, but its reinvention could have a major impact for people with disabilities that find normal wheelchairs cumbersome or inhibiting.
Meet Scalevo, the wheelchair designed by a team of nine university students at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology that can walk up and down stairs. The electric wheelchair operates normally when navigating flat ground with “Segway-like” technology, balancing on two wheels. However, with the push of a button, the chair will align itself with a set of stairs and use two rubber tracks on the bottom to propel itself, while adjusting the angle of the chair in order to stay balanced.
The fully-working prototype was developed over the course of a year, with plans to make a commercial version available. The team also states on its website that its design will compete in the Cybathlon Championship, a racing competition for individuals with disabilities, assisted by robotic technologies.
Watch the video demonstrating its amazing capabilities here.
What Sparks Our Fire: Students solving old problems using cutting-edge technology and brilliant design