Posts Tagged ‘green’

Pokiwa creates the buzz with insect power

March 11, 2014 1 comment

Pokiwa - The BuzzI recently participated in the selection for the ArtScience Prize Paris, an educational program in which 10 groups of students from engineering schools and schools of design work on new ideas around a given theme. On the 2013-2014 theme “Energy of the future” two groups have emerged as the winners: Pokiwa and InnerG.

InnerG developed a connected wrist band that enables the user to manage electric power for surrounding devices by simply waving at them, thereby creating a cool way to drive energy efficiency up.

Pokiwa came up with a radical idea: to harness the movement and acoustic vibrations of zillions of insects in their natural habitat to generate enough electricity to provide clean and safe lighting in deprived areas. A short animation illustrates the concept beautifully (a few words in French, but very visual and easy to understand).

Pokiwa and InnerG will develop their idea further for presentation at the international workshop in June 2014 at Le Laboratoire in Paris, and will display their prototypes at Harvard University in late 2014. I can’t wait to see them!


Transparent photovoltaic surface is a gamechanger

July 27, 2013 1 comment

20130727-093642.jpg Aix-en-Provence based Wysips® (What You See Is Photovoltaic Surface), a subsidiary of Sunpartner, is ramping up the production of a transparent photovoltaic surface. Since winning the CTIA prize for groundbreaking innovations in Orlando, Florida in 2011, Wysips has further developed the technology reaching 90% transparency and packing enough power generation in an 0.5mm layer beneath the tactile surface to offset the energy consumption of the ‘network search’ function of a mobile phone and placing emergency calls.

Read more…

Unlimited resources

20130713-142308.jpg At today’s IDDRI conference Innovative Society for the 21st Century, Paris, Development Minister Pascal Canfin concludes:

‘”Earth resources are limited. But other things are unlimited: human intelligence and human stupidity. Up to us to choose!”

Bottom-up or top-down, innovation is driven by vision and willpower

August 14, 2011 Leave a comment

For all the talk about creating an innovation culture and the elusive search for the fertile ground where innovation willmagically pop up, the juxtaposition of two articles in the Sunday economic press reminded me that innovation can happen in all fields and in all kind of ways.

The first article was about the launch of the first baguette dispenser in Paris. Baker-innovator Jean-Louis Hecht both leverages and challenges the mythical French baguette cultural cliché to create a 24/7 vending machine that can hold pre-cooked baguettes in a refrigerated compartment and do the rest of the cooking on demand, delivering a crisp and steaming finish for just 1€. Read more…

VW drives concept car through shrinking window of opportunity

At a corporate conference I attended earlier this year, a top-executive keynote speaker used the term “shrinking windows of opportunity” to describe a world where change is happening at such a fast pace on such a large scale that there is less and less time to think before you jump: if you think a minute too long, others will have already gone through the window of opportunity and closed it behind them. Read more…

Diversity is a source not only of creativity but also of resilience

January 22, 2011 1 comment

The magazine Nature features an unusual lead article about the parallels between the recent financial near catastrophic failure and  the spread of diseases in natural eco-systems. This is no joke or provocation: not only is Nature a serious scientific publication but the article is written by Andrew Haldane, executive director of financial stability at the Bank of England, and Robert May, a theoretical ecologist at Oxford University and former chief scientist of the UK government. Both the method and the conclusions offer at least two insightful lessons for the innovation practitioner. Read more…

Dikes or Halophytes: letting go is a good way to spur innovation

January 17, 2011 1 comment

Saline marshlands abound around the world. They are low-lying areas that get flooded with sea water in spring tides, making the soil saline and usually unsuitable for traditional agriculture. In a number of cases in Europe, they have been drained and reclaimed from the Middle Ages and have become prime agricultural lands protected by heavy dykes. Emblematic examples include The Fens in England, the Marais de Dol near Mont-Saint-Michel in France, and of course a large part of the Netherlands.

As the average sea level rises, more pressure will be put on the sea defenses that these areas rely on. While the historical response has been to consolidate dykes, in the future another response may be halophyte plants: plant species that grow in high salinity soil. Read more…