Welcome to the autumn edition of Sparks & Kindling, in which we've got a few fine morsels of innovation inspiration. So sit back and tuck in to the the articles we've found most interesting or inspiring in these end days of summer. Warning: it gets a bit crude towards the end (in case you've never met Cartman before)

 


 Image: One Month Rails

Image: One Month Rails

We've said it before and we'll say it again, ideas sell better when you bring them to life

Bit of an oldie to kick off but with pretotyping and 404 testing outlasting flavor of the month status, the concept of minimum viable products (MVP) and their ability to help investors and consumers see the idea and therefore buy into it, is as germane now as it was three years ago. Here's 10 great examples, just be prepared to fall off your chair when you see some of the logo's and selling lines they launched with! It’s also instructional that the vast majority of the examples are still successful, something which you can’t always guarantee when using tech examples. In our view it's no coincidence.

Read the article about it here>

 


 Image: Adrian Pope/Getty Images

Image: Adrian Pope/Getty Images

Going to Mars for a song, life hacks and other things we can learn from the Indian way of working

We’re probably a bit sick of hearing about the facts relating to India: economic growth rate faster than China, home to 1.3 billion people, half of Indians being under 25, that sort of thing. But what makes them tick, or more importantly what makes them so indispensable in Silicon Valley that a virtual diaspora has occurred? This article doesn't pretend to have all the answers but maybe if we all became a bit more jugaad and adopted these five ways of working we could become much better at reducing inefficiency and getting to market quickly and competitively.   

Read the article about it here>

 


 Ford/Virginia Tech

Ford/Virginia Tech

Ford, back with a man dressed as a car seat. No really.

For the second issue in a row Ford has had us thinking. This time how non-verbal communication plays a big role in how we interact with other road users. The man as a seat was their innovative solution to researching if light signals could replace a nod, a wave or a wink and become unconsciously acceptable to other road users as driverless cars take to the road.

Read the article here>

 


 Stanford

Stanford

Is the future of robotics this viney, snakey thing?

We’ve grown up with the friendlier cousins of Pennywise entertaining us at parties with balloon ‘art’ sometimes resembling a dog sometimes a slightly out of sorts duodenum. But how many of us were inspired to develop a completely different way of thinking about movement, enabling a ‘robot’ to function in places our more stereotypical spindly legged friends can’t get to? Step forward the mechanical engineers of Stanford and their vine-bots (and yes, it does look a bit rude).

Watch the video here>

 


 South Park

South Park

and finally, something properly rude….

And as if the last item wasn't implicitly crude enough, let’s see the makers of South Park messing with Amazon Echo owners by encouraging Alexa to buy some classically Cartman shopping. On a serious note we guess it is one of the biggest concerns relating to ‘always listening’ devices and the potential they can have in our day to day life.

Watch the video here>

 



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