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.
Algae may not be the sexiest organism, but it may be one of the most useful ones. While it is already being used as artful home decor, a company called Bloom Foam may have found another use for it: the flexible foam used to make yoga mats, sneakers, and even bath toys.
The product was conceived by Algix, an algae biomass harvesting company, and Effekt, a product and material design and development firm. Algix collects algae from fish farms, lakes, and wastewater facilities and processes it into foam
The advantages of using algae-based foam are numerous. They lower the carbon footprint by using natural ingredients, and also make use of algae found in waste streams, which can be bad for wildlife.
Additionally, because of its anti-microbial properties, algae has the potential to replace silver compounds (which can often harm human and environmental health) in anti-odor products, which could be useful in yoga mats and sneakers.
What Sparks Our Fire: Finding sustainable ways to breathe new life into old products.
Developing countries have a problem: roughly 20% of the world’s population lacks access to electricity, and kerosene lamps are both dangerous to the environment and hazardous to health.
GravityLight, whose motto is “Doing more with less,” has come up with a clever new way to bring light to poverty-stricken rural areas–without electricity. The lamp operates on gravity, by using the falling motion of a weight to one side to generate light. It began as a project on IndieGogo, and launched in 26 different countries. Now, after crowdfunding almost $400,000 (that’s 727% of its original goal funded), the company is releasing a redesign, which includes a sturdier, less breakable shell, a lighter weight, and a new pulley system.
Best of all, the lamp only costs $20, but will provide free lighting to families all over the world. This proves valuable in places that are generally without electricity, or “off the grid,” or too poor to pay for it. Not to mention that it conserves natural resources, which is always a plus.
What Sparks Our Fire: Creative design that helps move the world forward.
Forsman & Bodenfors wants to make sure drivers “drive 25 to keep kids alive,” and they’ve found an ingenious way to do it. Talking GPS are standard features in modern vehicles, but the agency has conceptualized an app that will switch the voice on the GPS to a child’s when within range of a school, daycare, or other area populated by children.
It’s currently available in Sweden, Finland, and Norway, and comes pre-loaded with all schools and daycare centers in the Nordic region.
The agency hopes that this will serve as an audio reminder to drive carefully and watch for children, reducing the number of accidents in school zones and other kid-friendly areas.
What Sparks Our Fire:Using innovation and unconventional problem-solving to draw attention to an often-ignored safety hazard
In keeping with their new direction, last week Google unveiled an updated logo, a much more simplified and modern-looking incarnation than its predecessors. After hearing what graphic designers had to say about it, we asked our CEO, Marc Sampogna, about his thoughts on the redesign.
By no means am I a graphic designer, but one thing I do know is branding. The latest redesign of Google’s brand identity seems to be a small step for a company that’s introduced innovation after innovation to the world. Its simplicity and approachability elicits memories of how Pepsi transitioned from their bold, bubble lettered logo into their current, more contemporary “brand stamp”. I also think this falls coincidentally on the heels of Apples recent software update — OS X Yosemite, where they moved from a beveled, dimensional treatment to flat. If anything, this new logo actually feels more playful and childlike, but no matter what they’ve done, it surely won’t impact how people interact or use the search engine powerhouse. It’s Google, for s*#ts sake. They change their logo daily to reflect a relevant theme that’s taking place in our culture. So…I have one word to say about the new logo, and that is “whatever”.
Fast food restaurants like Popeye’s and Chik-Fil-A have encountered an ongoing struggle to stay current and “in-touch” with millennials, facing adversaries like the increasing appeal of “clean eating” culture and “fast-casual” dining like Chipotle that allows customers to customize their meals. But now, they’ve found an unlikely answer: the sauce.
As it turns out, millennials like to have options when dining out, and providing a variety of sauce can appeal to even the most particular eaters. Earlier this year, KFC introduced its new Finger Lickin’ Good sauce, made with the same herbs and spices in its secret-recipe chicken, and as a result, sales are up by 15% since its release.
Similarly, chains like Pizza Hut and Buffalo Wild Wings have also planned to launch new sauces to complement their food, with the belief that “food shouldn’t be bland” in mind. Not only is it cost-effective (it’s less-expensive than creating new food items), but it also doesn’t slow down prep time or kitchen work.
What Sparks Our Fire: Food brands finding creative new ways to spice up their menus