Thursday, November 8, 2012

Crazy Concoction

Daniel's science project for this week is Crazy Concoction.  The concoction part was easy.  He was going to make slime.  But the point of the project is not jut to make a concoction, but to sell this concoction to a made-up entity called "Collaborative Calamity Science".  Which essentially is to come up with a marketing plan, complete with collateral, to present to the CCS and convince them this is the concoction will change the world.  Pretty ambitious for Grade 2!

So, why would anyone want to buy slime?  What is it good for?  It's slimey.

So the trick is to re-purpose this slime.  Slime is cool and sticks to you.  Daniel thinks that you can stick it con your forehead to cool you down.  Say, you have a fever.  Instead of sticking a wet cold cloth on your forehead, which rolls off as you move, you stick slime on your forehead.  That's a start!

The next step is to establish your target market.  Children who don't like to take yucky medicine when they have a fever are Daniel's target customers (or rather, their parents).

Now, we need a cool name.  A name that does not contain the word "slime" in it.  After trying on a few names, Daniel decided "Fever Fighter" has the right ring to his concoction.  He will brand it by making it blue.

Daniel wrote down the ingredient list and now had to choose a presentation format.  He decided to make a brochure.  The front is eye catching and clearly communicates its value proposition:  Does your child have a fever and does not want to take yucky medicine?  Then you have to try Fever Fighter!  You open the brochure, you read the instructions on the left panel (how to use), complete with caution (do not eat fever fighter) , and you have graphic demonstration of "before" and "after". Before: a nasty parent forcing a child to eat medicine.  After: sticking fever fighter on a child's forehead and everybody's smiling.  Again, the value proposition cannot be any clearer.  You open the right flap and the middle panel shows a picture of the blue fever fighter and the big words saying: Buy it from Collaborative Calamity Science.  That's a big sell job!  The right panel shows a happy child with fever fighter stuck on head with glowing testimonial.  The back panel shows another picture of fever fighter.

I don't remember doing any hands-on science projects in grade 2, let alone coming up with such imaginative presentation material.  I certainly did not make any presentation until well into grade 7.  Some of my clients are having difficulty pitching their product / business and clearly convince me to give them interest-free loan.  So I guess we start them young in the current education system. Doesn't matter what you come up with - be it blue slime or mobile app that ranks sliminess of individuals, you need to be able to clearly articulate your value proposition, appeal to your target market, and present with clarity and confidence.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Canada 3.0 Conference - Digital Media

I went to Canada 3.0 Conference for Digitial Media and met many companies and post-sencondary institutions developing interesting technologies that would make our lives easier.

OCAD University showcased their research collaboration project with Entact Robotics on haptic holography.  The result was an advancement in digital holography technology that captures holographic data and reconstructs it onto a 3D surface. Combining the two forms of technology, and the sensing technollogy of XBox 360 Kinect, could break ground in synthetic reality, as well as the ability to interact with holographic space.  Consider the application of this technology in the medical field.  A physician can use the 3D-holographic model to practice performing medical procedures (such as a spinal tab) and receives tactile feedback.

Capturing the cultural challengs of social media usage, ANTVibes have developed an Audio Name Tag  (ANT) which users can embed into their contact info.  The ANT takes the guessing game out of the pronounciation of a name.  It is a simple idea and it is simple to implement.  It is especially helpful for large multi-national entreprises to implement their policies on respect and inclusion.  Here is my Audible Name Tag (ANT).

I also met a young company that has developed an intelligent parking system.  They landed their first customer recently - the City of San Jose in Costa Rica.  Imagine you are stuck in a meeting that is going on forever.  All you need to do is to access your parking account via your smartphone and load up more time on the meter.  The next time you drive downtown you can find out in real-time, which parking lot is full before you make your way there.  Another technology making our lives easier.

True Voice Technologies is an innovator of speech enabled solutions for live interactive web solutions.  Their solution, Talk-2-Me, is an affordable web technology that converts interest to action.  Say, you are browsing for a used car and came across one to your liking.  You can click on the embedded Talk-2-Me button on the webpage, and connect to the seller of the vehicle (a dealership) via an anonymously VoIP call.  The inquirer does not need to provide any personal information while making this inquiry; while it provides an opportunity for a live person at the dealership to convert this interest into a lead (test drive, negotiation, and sale).  For individuals, consider your family member is travelling abroad where international calling can be very costly, while internet connection may be economical.  Free VoIP calls can be placed via Talk-2-Me on their family website.  Great savings!

Ever participated in online discussion forums where you feel like nothing was accomplished?  Powernoodles has developed an online group decision making tool where participants use avatars to participate in a moderated online brainstorming session.  This is intelligent virtual collaboration at work.

I am greatly encouraged by the progress and new ideas people are developing and implementing.  Hope to see more success next year!