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More cards promoting random acts of kindness

Add / Remove We’ve featured several concepts that promote acts of kindness, including KIND Snacks’ series of KINDED cards. For those not yet convinced, comes yet another spotting: California-based Boom Boom! Cards. Named for the karmic notion that every good deed comes back to its performer, boomerang-style, Boom Boom! Cards exist to inspire altruism. Available […]

Eco-friendlier charcoal bag uses paper chimney instead of lighter fluid

Add / Remove Charcoal lighter fluid is responsible for the release of some 14,500 tons of volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere in the US each year, according to the EPA, which is one of the reasons there’s growing interest in charcoal alternatives like Sologear’s uGO FlameDisk. For those too attached to that authentic charcoal […]

Gourmet wines designed for cooking

Add / Remove Opportunity awaits those who can make consumers’ lives easier, as countless innovations prove every day. Take choosing a wine. We’ve already seen several efforts to simplify the process of finding a good one for drinking—including, among many other approaches, a classification system that uses colours and numbers—and now California-based Académie Culinary Wines […]

Body Shop brings back old customer favourites

Add / Remove In this era of mass-customisation, consumers increasingly expect to be able to get exactly what they want, when they want it. Since discontinued products sometimes fall on that list, we’re starting to see manufacturers make such goods available once again. Lush was one example we wrote about back in 2008, and now […]

Edible decals turn cakes into works of art

Add / Remove Professionally made desserts are all very well, but for true bake-it-yourself types, there’s nothing like a homemade confection. Much the way Sprinkles Cupcakes mixes aim to give baking enthusiasts a way to emulate professional results in their own kitchens, so Ticings allow them to add a dash of photographic-quality art. Ticings are […]

Low-cost bicycles for (not only) the rural poor

Add / Remove We’ve written about a few different efforts to help disadvantaged people in Africa by providing refurbished second-hand bikes from the developed world. Unlike such initiatives from Baisikeli and Bikes for Africa, however, Worldbike designs and distributes brand-new bicycles that are inexpensive and built specifically to withstand harsh rural conditions. California-based Worldbike’s bicycles […]

Retailer recycles customers’ old sex toys

Add / Remove Convincing consumers to recycle their old electronics is challenging enough in its own right, but when it comes to sex toys, the potential embarrassment could be virtually prohibitive. Aiming to keep the devices it sells out of landfills, UK retailer LoveHoney encourages customers to send them back for recycling at the end […]

Service helps product designers find sustainable new materials

Add / Remove With so many innovative new materials being launched every year — take Ecovative’s sustainable styrofoam substitute, for example—it would be difficult for any product designer or manufacturer to be aware of them all as they create their own new products. That’s where Material Short Stories comes in. The company offers a service-cum-publication […]

More consumer-directed community giving

Add / Remove The crowdsourced, corporate-sponsored community improvement projects are coming fast and furious. Last month we wrote about the USD 20 million Pepsi Refresh Project—which itself is reminiscent of Google’s Project 10 to the 100th—when one of our spotters alerted us to a like-minded effort from insurance provider Aviva Canada. The Aviva Community Fund […]

Swathes of customization: fabric printed on demand

Add / Remove Customization continues to gain ground as a business model, as witnessed by another design-your-own fabric venture. Fabric on Demand is a digital textile printing company that allows consumers to create personalized fabrics online. Buyers can upload their design, choose from 8 different fabrics to print on and specify the amount of fabric […]

Board game stimulates sustainable (re)thinking

Add / Remove Games have long been used as an educational tool, and not just for kids. Canadian Akoha, for example, encourages players to be more kind. Now, along similar lines, Play Rethink invites users to redesign everyday objects to make them more sustainable. Play Rethink (“The Eco-Design Game”) is an effort from London-based Rethink […]

Transparency comes to real estate agents

Add / Remove When companies search for a new salesperson, you know they scrutinize each candidate’s track record before making an offer. When consumers hire a real estate agent to sell their home, however—probably the biggest asset they own—the choice is often made by chance. Enter Homethinking, a site that aims to bring transparency to […]

Design your own jeans, custom-made for $145

Add / Remove We’ve covered numerous design-your-own clothing opportunities over the years, but it seems fair to say that jeans are perhaps the category where such capabilities are needed most. After all, “most of us wear jeans every day, yet finding jeans that actually fit and flatter is still a struggle,” as indiDenim puts it. […]

Auto-snapping camera documents its wearer’s life

Add / Remove It’s been a while since we’ve reported on the life caching trend, but a new innovation recently caught our eye: a wearable digital camera that automatically takes photos throughout the day as a way of recording the wearer’s life. Based on Microsoft Research SenseCam technology, Vicon Revue was originally intended as a […]

Monthly mail service turns kids into globe-trotters

Add / Remove Remember the excitement you felt receiving mail as a child? That’s the inspiration behind San Francisco-based Little Passports, a new educational subscription service that aims to turn 5-to-10-year-olds into world travellers, one country at a time. Little Passports delivers monthly travel packages designed to provide a fun, hands-on way for kids to […]