I love being a staff writer for 3BL Media/Justmeans on topics - Social Innovation, Social Enterprise and Social Entrepreneurs. When I am not writing for 3BL Media/Justmeans, I wear my other hat as owner of Serendipity PR. Over the years I have worked with high-profile, big, powerful brands and organisations within the public, not-for-profit and corporate sectors; and won awards from my industry....
Technology: I Give You The Glif
This is a story about innovation and technology; it tells the story of two New York friends Dan Provost and Tom Gerhardt who took their simple concept and turned it into something credible and real. They realised that Apple's iPhone 4 with its improved camera technology merited its own tripod mount and so they invented The Glif! It also doubles as a multi-directional prop for holding the iPhone at various angles during video calls and movie watching sessions. Pure, simple genius!
However, years ago The Glif prototype would have taken experts time and money to create it into a technically perfect specimen suitable for a full blown production run. Times have changed and technology means it enables evolutionary design and the Glif was designed in less than three weeks using just a laptop and a full-featured three-dimensional design software program. Today, anybody can design almost anything using free software such as Google's Sketchup.
It was very much a dream and neither Mr Provost nor Mr Gerhardt thought it would be easy. Yet, through technology they found a solution, which turned out to be incredibly attractive, giving them a bank account that ballooned to 13 times their expectations. All they did was post their project on to Kickstarter.com a website that gives new ideas a financial target and an audience to reach it. Anyone can contribute to a project, but unless the entire funding goal is met within 30 days, it evaporates into cyberspace as quickly as it arrived. Yancy Strickler, co-founder of Kickstarter.com, says the impact of a campaign can be instant. "It's a way for you to know from the beginning how much interest there is, so you can either fail quickly or succeed immediately. Either one is better off, rather than struggling for years and not knowing either way."
Mr Provost and Mr Gerhardt had a great product and also produced some very authentic video content to help sell their idea. Viewers essentially bought the product prior to production for $20 (£13) a time. It worked! Mr Gerhardt said they just sat down with a video camera and appealed to their audience in a very blunt honest way. "Within 24 hours we'd already raised about $35,000. Our goal was $10,000 to begin with, so that was a little bit crazy. After the month was over for the Kickstarter campaign we were up to $137,000." The first 500 Glifs were produced on the 3D printer. But demand quickly reached the 5,000 mark and then they decided to produce 10,000 traditional injection devices in one go.
Yet without this new generation of technology, Mr Provost and Mr Gerhardt might never have enjoyed such success.
Photo Credit: Pimento of Doom