Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Looking for trouble

At the end of this month, entries close for the Saatchi & Saatchi 2007 Award for World Changing Ideas. An award of US$100,000 in cash and consultancy is waiting for a fantastic idea. The title of the Award tells you exactly what inspired it and an early winner sums up its spirit. David Levy told us, “I go looking for trouble”. The truth is, there can be no progress without ideas and great ideas often make trouble as they challenge, change, and transform us. Take the winner of the award in 2005, the Light Up The World Foundation. How could a Light Emitting Diode change the world? Well, if like millions of people your life virtually comes to a stop when the sun goes down, it could change your world easily. Using LEDs that don’t need articulated electricity, the Light Up The World Foundation has lit up more than 14,000 homes in 42 different countries throughout the developing world from Afghanistan to Zambia. Parents get to read to their kids at bedtime, study, and the family’s social life at home can stretch past sunset. Other winners have included a sonar system that lets blind people ‘see’ with their ears, a tornado warning system and self adjusting spectacles (another life changing innovation for the developing nations).

Shortlisted ideas are judged by a panel and over the years we have called on some great innovators. Danny Hillis, Philip Glass, Buzz Aldrin, David Byrne, Edward de Bono, William Gibson and Lou Reed, to name a few trouble makers in the best sense. I’ll keep you up to date on this fantastic award. Innovation changing lives for the better.

Entries close 28 September 2007. For more information check out www.saatchi.com/innovation or email Norma Clarke at norma.clarke@saatchi.co.uk


Susan Plunkett said...

Another great, socially responsible and encouraging project. I wish my ideas could go beyond my brain cells! :)

Are you submitting your Wellington umbrella? :)

Thumbs up to David Byrne being on the panel.

By the way, I heard a phrase last night I think you will enjoy Kevin and that I will add to my own blog soon. It came from Peter Gabriel who referred to music as an "emotional toolkit". I LOVE that.

Kempton said...

Hi Kevin, I have never met Prof. Amy Smith (and she doesn't know me) but if I could nominate someone for the Saatchi & Saatchi 2007 Award for World Changing Ideas, I would definitely nominate her ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy_Smith ) and the great work that she is doing to help save millions of children under five around the world.

I got to know a little bit about Prof. Smith and her passionate work from her deeply insightful speech at TED

Quoting her TED bio,
"Amy Smith designs cheap, practical fixes for tough problems in developing countries. Among her many accomplishments, the MIT engineer received a MacArthur "genius" grant in 2004 and was the first woman to win the Lemelson-MIT Prize for turning her ideas into inventions."

P.S. I hope Prof. Smith will forgive me for suggesting her for the award here.

Susan Plunkett said...

Kempton, I suggest you contact Prof Smith and urge her to apply. Now, she may not be interested per se in the consultancy, however she may have someone on her team she would like to put forward.

Susan Plunkett said...

I was just thinking about Bob's "Here's an Idea" site that I have mentioned before (on KRConnect).


I did see one idea there that I think would be worth submitting if concepts alone CAN be submitted. I wasn't sure about that in looking through the documentation so I have emailed Norma and will provide response here for those interested. However, it may be useful to also flag the awards on Bob's site given people go there to submit ideas.

The one proposal that struck me was the "lifestraw" that could be used in countries where water is dirty or polluted and enable people to drink using a ready made filter. The straw would be light, easily distributable and so on.

Piotr Jakubowski said...

"There can be no progress without ideas and great ideas often make trouble as they challenge, change, and transform us."

I wonder how we would've evolved if people didn't take risks. If nobody decided to sail the Atlantic. If nobody decided to get on a plane...

That being said, I'd agree with the lifestraw idea, and would love for it to become a mainstream part of non-profits. As we sit around with our plastic bottles of water "untouched by man", there are many people who don't have access to safe drinking water.

I personally loved the innovation in the South African bank's outdoor campaign at Cannes this year. If we think about it, if developing countries created more billboards like this, access to renewable energy will become available to more people.

Susan Plunkett said...

Piotr.. For those of us not there..care to tell something about their campaign?

missmimi said...

Amy Smith is amazing...so much so that she's been recognised as a MacArthur award winner. Well deserved, indeed. She is one of a handful of people that I hope to have the pleasure of working with in the future.

The lifestraw, or something similar to it, does exist! It, along with a number of other designs for 90% is on display at the Cooper Hewitt (I believe I mentioned in previously...). The same exhibit also displays inventions of Amy Smith.

Here is the link, along with a visual of usage:


Piotr Jakubowski said...

Here's the link:


My apologies!

Susan Plunkett said...

Well, indeed mimi, I had to toggle through the site a bit but yes, "lifestraw" as a term is there and of course the item itself. I would not automatically consider the poster on 'heresanidea' copied the notion. It's quite easy to arrive at an idea that someone else has done - indeed this is one of the interesting issues for the judging panel - however, I have a thing about not crediting other people with their phrases and ideas so if it was known then poor form.

Minor issues aside, it is a fabulous concept and device and I'm glad I know more about it.

Susan Plunkett said...

Piotr, Thank you for that! I so enjoyed watching the movie. There were a couple of risk points in it and risk points always open the door to potential strong critique that can draw the mindeye away from the intended core message. I congratulate the team for that risk and moving through that with apparent success.

I could feel my emotion rise in watching the film - good outcome.

I examine works for Uni of Johannesburg so I appreciated the association on that level also. I have been amazed at some of the elements I have learned about SA e.g. at one point there was more fibre optic cable being made there than Germany was producing. Also what the end of apartheid really meant for business. It's quite incredible when you read these issues from a business rather than cultural orientation.