I left off of Part One of my 2019 CES article with an image of ‘The Clapper’ and there were comments about WTF is it?!?
Click on the image above to see this device in action …….. it’s a connected device that you’re supposed to use to “reward” your employees with a round of applause when they do something good ……… because clapping your hands is too much effort to show recognition???
But it ain’t all bad – keep your eyes open and take in everything you can – and just maybe you will find something that will restore your faith in humanity and the consumer technology industry.
People often make the mistake of conflating innovation and invention but most often, innovation doesn’t include any invention, it’s simply remixing and repurposing what’s already out there and putting it together in a way that makes a real impact. My personal favourites normally fall under the #techforgood banner and this year I came across a real gem in the form of the “Solar Cow” who win my personal award for “Best in Show” when it comes to impactful innovation (oh, and they also happened to win an award from CES in recognition of their project).
The concept is simple – they use the economic value of electricity to incentivise parents in rural Africa to send their children to school instead of sending them out to work at a young age – thus having a huge impact on reducing child labour. They did this by first finding out how much it costs the parents to charge their mobile phones or to pay for fuel for lighting their homes – including the time they lose by walking to and from the nearest shop or place to recharge their phone etc. They then found out how much the children earn per day by being sent off to mines or farms for a day of gruelling labour. Their next step was to set up solar powered charging stations at schools (the frame is in the outline shape of a cow) and they provided each child that attended school with a “milk bottle” shaped high capacity USB charger that is plugged into the “cow” when they arrive at school and they take it home fully charged at the end of the school day. The economic value of the charged device is far greater to parents than the pittance the children would earn for their labour – a win all round.
I encourage you to read more about this inspirational project here.
What could you achieve if you applied your thinking differently? I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotes as food for thought:-
“Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can” – Arthur Ashe