November 27, 2009

Ad agencies developing their own product concepts

Flying back from Buenos Aires this week I read an interesting article in Time Magazine (Nov.30, 2009) called "Marketing - Having It Both Ways" by Thomas K. Grose on how ad agencies are developing and testing their own product concepts. I wonder if this is a trend that will hit the Brazilian market anytime soon.

In a marketplace of constant change, it's clear to me that ad agencies have a huge opportunity to re-think and re-invent their business models. One thing is for sure, making inroads in the entrepreneurial world will certainly provide agencies with a better understanding of what clients go through on the operating side. New times require new thinking.

Click below to read article...

November 23, 2009

Move over coffee... it's Tea Time in São Paulo

Yesterday, I took my Family to have lunch at Ping Pong, the London-based restuarant group, which just opened its first international operation here in São Paulo. Wonderful dim sums, friendly staff, cub-perfect lounge music and an urban cool project by Swiss Architect David Marquardt from MACH Architektur.

One of the highlights is a great array of teas offered at Ping Pong. In fact, in a country where coffee has cult status, it's amazing to see how teas are becoming the thing. I guess it all started with Carla Sauressig's Loja do Chá carrying over 250 types of tea - a franchisee of Germany's Tee Gschwendner - with two stores in São Paulo and one in Brasília. Now, some of the food emporiums have sections dedicated to teas from around the world.

Ping Pong, which is also serving the famous flowering teas, will certainly cater to a growing tribe of tea-lovers in a city dominated by café culture.

November 20, 2009

Inflatable Seat Belts

It's fascinating to see how some new ideas are actually a combination of things that have been around for a while - in this case seat belts and airbag technology - and nobody had actually put them together. Ford's recent announcement of the first-ever back-seat inflatable seat belt is a great example of this.

This is a wonderful innovation that makes you wonder what other opportunties exist in our own categories of combining different ideas to create an entirely new consumer experience...

November 18, 2009

Radiolab's Moments by William Hoffman

I just received this beautiful video from my friend Alexandre Peralta. In case you haven't seen it yet....

Buffer it up and enjoy 4' 17" of powerful storytelling and a wonderful reminder that life is but a collection of moments.

How can we make these moments become more meaningful for ourselves and for those we love?

November 8, 2009

Turbocharging the home phone

The other day I was talking to Alessandro Germano, an innovation director at Telefonica Brazil, about how I thought the home phone needed some serious re-thinking incorporating a lot of the cool features found in the mobile world. That's when he told me about Orby.

Orby is a product that is being developed by Telefonica to become the ultimate home digital smartphone. The idea is to turbocharging the home phone with a hi-speed connection, the convenience of touch screen and cool design. The concept comes with unique features like the ability for the user to choose his phone number online. The phone screen can be used to access YouTube, online radios, use as a slideshow for family photos or to check your stock portfolio.

It seems like the type of innovation that has the potential of becoming the centerpiece of home automation (control lighting, turn on air conditioning, lock/unlock doors or activate security cameras). Telefonica is making Orby open source allowing anyone to develop aditional applications, similar to what happens today with IPhones or Android.

Launch is expected to happen later this month. Perfect time for me to update our old home phones.  Can't wait to try it out.

Folding bikes and the art of innovation

I love bikes and I would like to be able to take my two daughters biking beyond our Sao Paulo neighborhood.  Unfortunately, our three bikes don't fit in our family bike (let alone in my Mini Cooper).  

For the past week I've been doing some online research on folding bikes, from very simple concepts to high-end folding mountain bikes. Some really fascinating projects.  

One video I found on YouTube, part of the Open University series, is absolutely fantastic because it has UK Industrial Desginer Mark Sanders  explain step-by-step the entire process he went through in creating his revolutionary Strida folding bike.  The video shows how he started off with a very specific brief inspired by baby strollers.  It goes on to show his rigourous approach to developing hypotheses, creating as many designs as possible, validating, screening, prototyping and testing, testing, testing.  I particularly enjoyed how, after launching the first commercial version, he incorporated consumer feedback to evolve and refine each aspect of his project.  At the end, he mentions a few ideas he has to take his project to the next level, confirming how great design and product development should be a continuous process.  

For those who love design and the innovation process, this is a truly inspirational video.

November 1, 2009

Fiat's collaboration project

This time its Fiat launching a collaboration project called FiatMio.  I just went to their co-creation website and posted my idea (it's always fun to provide ideas to someone else's project).  Fiat is saying they want to select the best ideas, build a concept car and showcase it in Sao Paulo's 2010 auto show.  

Another very cool collaboration project.