Teletubbies Village for Real – Idea 53/365

This idea is one of my oldest one, and believe it or not, was on my mind long long time before we had LOTR or the Hobbit at the movies (and way before I realised I would end up in New Zealand).

What if the whole neighbourhood or even village or city was underground with only their grass-grown rooftops standing up from the landscape a bit? Think Teletubbies or Hobbits. There is a huge interest currently by people building into the environment and having their dwelling not ruining the landscape. But most of these are simply individuals living their own dreams and passions, rather than someone going out there and building a whole suburb like that.

My idea is that someone takes an area (in New Zealand?), and creates a whole underground suburb. People would have pedestrian walk paths, gardens, some windows into their dwellings and even one or two doorways at the top (as per the Hobbit), but everything else would be underground. There might be a ‘horrible’ parking structure in the basement, allowing people to drive all the way to their house.

A plus thing might be that you can keep on building down? And so each of the house would cost as much as it was taking the same amount sqm space at the top, the rest would be up to you. I would totally live there.

Complexity: 4 / 5
Viability: 4 / 5
Impact: 4 / 5
Estimated Startup Cost:  $1M+ For the first suburb 

 

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This post is part of my 365 ideas in 365 days.  Read about it here.
If you want to invest in this idea, execute this idea or some variation on this idea – email me!
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Photo Credit: Daniel Peckham – davaodude – License 

 

The Road will Warn You – Idea 52/365

I am proud of this idea, while sadly I think it comes almost too late as we are moving into the world where cars will be driving themselves. But my late mother would have liked it having who worked for two decades in the Icelandic Traffic prevention office.

What if the road told you of dangers? With a tiny link to my previous idea 49, and could even work with the idea of roads made up of solar panels, this is about sensors in around the road and lights being placed on the asphalt.

The way it would work is that tiny lights would indicate, in slide green your maximum speed allowance, possibly with green arrows and numbers. As you drive you would clearly see in the road green arrow and the numbers.

In the case of a pedestrian being on the footpath, that green light changes to yellow or orange, as sort of a warning. Same if a car is coming from the opposite direction on a road with no dividers. And if there are any obstacles (kids running into the road), all the lights become bright red and spelling STOP.

In the beginning this type of warning light system could be put in small towns (such as Prebbleton, NZ where I live) or at dangerous intersections. And this system would surely save lives and reduce injuries.

Complexity: 3 / 5
Viability: 4 / 5
Impact: 5 / 5
Estimated Startup Cost:  <$500K For pilot program 

 

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This post is part of my 365 ideas in 365 days.  Read about it here.
If you want to invest in this idea, execute this idea or some variation on this idea – email me!
365@samrag.com

If you know of similar idea that already exists as a product, let me know in the comments.



Photo Credit: Frank Hemme – franciscodelossantos – License 

 

Track your Work, Always & Everywhere – Idea 51/365

We live in a world where almost every aspects of what we are doing is being challenged. One of these is the way we work. Tracking and understanding what work we are doing, and for what project, is something that many applications have tried and semi-successfully done. My prediction is that we will be moving towards several additional factors in our requirements for tracking of work.

Number one is the length of time, with most requirements being for period of time and being recorded after the fact. That is, I spent 30 min on this particular job yesterday morning. The period is going to get shorter and more reactive. Each minute and second should be counted.

Number two is the place, with the most common definitions being home vs work. This is going to need to be better defined, as soon we will have self driving cars and some people hardly ever coming into work. You don’t want to be seen at a cafe shop, and later report that you were working at home – you want to report you were at a cafe working!

Number three is the amount of different job providers and payers there are. The format of working for a single person/company, is already changing with websites like Fiverr. Therefore the importance of tracking each of your varied jobs becomes even more important.

All of the above tells us that we need an independent application that tracks all our activity and where they are being performed. This application will monitor all our activities and group it, and with our help understand what we are doing. When I am writing into WordPress this post the app would know, based on the hyperlink, that I am working on a blog post for my personal 365 idea. It will track how long time I take to write this post, and at the end of it I will know how much time it took me, where I did it, when it was started and when it was completed (published).

And in the middle of it, when I go to my Outlook email and reply to work email, it will log that as well – based on who the email was from/to, and all while I did not need to think about it at all.

Complexity: 2 / 5
Viability: 4 / 5
Impact: 2 / 5
Estimated Startup Cost:  <$500K For working prototype 

 

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This post is part of my 365 ideas in 365 days.  Read about it here.
If you want to invest in this idea, execute this idea or some variation on this idea – email me!
365@samrag.com

If you know of similar idea that already exists as a product, let me know in the comments.



Photo Credit: Jay – tvoe – License 

 

Get Paid for being Healthy – Idea 50/365

I am sure many have had this idea before me, though I do not believe that I have heard it before. Almost all governments struggle with their healthcare system in one way or another. Even in countries like Iceland that are outwardly believed to have one of the best healthcare in the world, there are signs of troubles and maybe even crumbling health system.

What if you got paid for being healthy? There should be a system in place that rewarded people for living healthy and as a result (hopefully) being healthy.  As you get older the income for being healthy might even increase and also if your whole family is healthy there is higher income.

Of course “being healthy” would only include diseases that can be traced to your way of living. And surely that can often be a grey area. But if you are overweight, or unfit, or not taking care of yourself in some other ways you will not receive any payment from the government for being healthy.

In conjunction with this a more preventative approach would be taken to reduce the risks of serious illnesses. For example, to qualify for the health-payment you would have to go for a yearly check-up, take your flu-shots and vitamins etc.

NB: Of course this idea is going by the assumption that large amounts of the burden on health care systems are the preventable illnesses.

Complexity: 4 / 5
Viability: 2 / 5
Impact: 3 / 5
Estimated Startup Cost:  <$100K For supporting research 

 

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This post is part of my 365 ideas in 365 days.  Read about it here.
If you want to invest in this idea, execute this idea or some variation on this idea – email me!
365@samrag.com

If you know of similar idea that already exists as a product, let me know in the comments.



Photo Credit: Dr. Abdullah Naser – abraj – License 

 

Light Sensors Everywhere – Idea 49/365

Light pollution is a strange term but a pretty serious one. Besides the wasted amount of resources, such as electricity and light bulbs, it ruins our night sky and apparently has adverse affects on nature. We are all guilty of this at home, in offices and mostly with street lighting.

What if all lights had to be on sensors? This seems like such an easy regulation and with today’s cheap technology, a simple thing to achieve. If all street lights, office buildings and homes were required to have their lights on sensors it might reduce some of the light pollution.

When I go out walking in the evenings in the small village where I live there is no one around. However, every street is illuminated and, even if not excessively, it is not really required. It seems such an easy solution to just have sensors that will turn the lights on if there is any movement around. It could be like a movement turns on 300m and stays on for 15min, or it could even be gradual on and off, so as you walk through a street it will always be brightest where you are. That would also make sure that the whole city isn’t like a blinking Christmas tree.

Clearly there are some complications, like what if it is windy, does that mean the whole city will all of a sudden be lit up as tree branches in the wind will be turning on all of the street lights?   And are there some safety issues? Still surprised though that this hasn’t already been implemented across the world.

Complexity: 4 / 5
Viability: 4 / 5
Impact: 4 / 5
Estimated Startup Cost:  <$250K For viable prototypes 

 

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This post is part of my 365 ideas in 365 days.  Read about it here.
If you want to invest in this idea, execute this idea or some variation on this idea – email me!
365@samrag.com

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Photo Credit: Lip Jin Lee – levoodoo – License 

 

Learn to Learn – Idea 48/365

We are all at a loss on how to educate our young people today. While some great steps have been taking for early childhood, with endless papers and discussion on how to motivate and encourage preschoolers to grow, many of which have been widely implemented, the school system itself seems to have changed very little. Education is still about learning a specific subject, mostly in a silo, for a short period a few times a week with the end goal being a test to mark how well you have retained the facts of the subject.

Of course there are some deviations to this, but in general that is how it is. In recent years there has been a big movement in the startup space, where instead of creating courses for people to sit through to learn how to do startups, you simply attend a weekend where you create a little startup. All the teachers (mentors) are at your disposal, with a recommended framework such as Lean Canvas being offered as well.

What if education in schools and all the way up through universities was more about doing? The issue is that in todays world we need to learn how to get to the required information, how to apply what we learn and how to constantly be learning, instead of learning specifics. I suggest that at least 50% of all education should be free-form execution of tasks, where students get challenges that they have to solve.

Imagine if you were 10 years old and along with your classmates you were thrown into a room with the objective that you had to knit a jumper (yourself) before the end of term, and that you would have to write up instructions as to how to do it. Additionally, you had to find someone that wanted a jumper and they would have to tell you what kind of jumper they wanted. In this room there would be a computer, and nothing more. Students would be able to request a budget (might even be fake in-house money/store) for any supplies they needed.

Even if they would take shortcut after shortcut – they would have to knit that jumper on their own, in that room (and there would be a ‘teacher’ present). But how to do it they would have to find online, or from friends, family (grandma?) and so on. Next term they might have to do similar work, but improve on it, or learn a new technique.

If this process of learning by themselves, and applying that learning, is throughout their education, each student will be totally prepared to tackle life and will not limit themselves to their education. It will not be the case of “I studied to be a hairdresser, so I can’t do accounting”, but instead “I need to do some accounting, let’s go and read up on that and see what needs to be done”.

Complexity: 2 / 5
Viability: 4 / 5
Impact: 4 / 5
Estimated Startup Cost:  <$500K 

 

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This post is part of my 365 ideas in 365 days.  Read about it here.
If you want to invest in this idea, execute this idea or some variation on this idea – email me!
365@samrag.com

If you know of similar idea that already exists as a product, let me know in the comments.



Photo Credit: Kim Cofino – superkimbo – License 

 

New Packaging for Everything – Idea 47/365

The amount of packaging in the world is just amazing me lately. I have already mentioned this for food items, see idea 28, though that was mostly about encouraging recycling. This time around I am thinking more about all the other stuff; toys, small furniture, small machines, computers, cups, dishes, pots and pans. Each and everyone has different box of a different size and material. Many do get recycled and if all is well, end up as boxes again.

What if we simply had re-usable boxes for everything?  One of the magic things about the shipping industry is the standard container sizes. Can you imagine how difficult it would be to ship, if everyone was providing their own type of containers! Why aren’t we doing the same for consumer goods? These could be lego-like boxes that come in maybe 5-25 sizes, but all can fit together.

The outside would be sturdy and light, with a clear folder/slot for the supplier logo and marketing material on one side, or even just a screen!  Each of them would be trackable and key locked for the consumer to open it on receipt of the item. These boxes could be folded together and their collection would either be by dollar refund at the store or even by the local trash collectors. A dedicated company would take on distributing these back to manufacturers and collecting them in each country. The manufacturer would only pay a rental fee for each box which would reduce the amount in packaging and labelling greatly. They might still have to design the inside of the box with throw away (recyclable) cardboard and foam-like packaging material.

This would also simplify shipping and stocking, and even reduce damaged goods from transit. Most of all it should save the environment.

BTW: This idea is going by the assumption that it is better for the environment to create millions of reusable boxes, such as we already do with food containers, rather than making cardboard boxes, but that might not be true!

Complexity: 2 / 5
Viability: 1 / 5
Impact: 4 / 5
Estimated Startup Cost:  <$500K For viable prototypes and introductions 

 

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This post is part of my 365 ideas in 365 days.  Read about it here.
If you want to invest in this idea, execute this idea or some variation on this idea – email me!
365@samrag.com

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Photo Credit: Edward Baker – edwbaker – License 

 

Trading Politicians – Idea 46/365

We live in an ever smaller and more connected world. One day we will surely get away from bickering about country borders and connecting nationalities with religion. For my part I dream of one world where we understand our strength and weaknesses from our environment and DNA, rather than our history or our governments. But as with so many other things, change takes time and it is likely to happen gradually. Today’s idea is one of the steps that might help us get there. It is a policy, government, governance type of an idea, rather than my more often commercial related ideas.

What if countries traded politicians every year?  Each participating country would create a new ministry, or what is equals to that level of government in that country, named something like “Ministry of Globalism”. But that ministry would never be manned by the home country. For example, New Zealand would create such a ministry, and so would Iceland. Iceland would send their elected Minister of Globalism over to New Zealand, while New Zealand would send their elected Minister of Globalism over to Iceland.

This would not be an Ambassador type of position, but a fully functional ministerial role, and come with any voting or influential positions that other ministries might have. Each placement would be for a year, and the next year, a different swap would be arranged. This time for example between New Zealand & Denmark, and Iceland & Japan. The Minister of Globalism can only hold this position for 50% of the time as minister. This means that the rotation is happening within the government as well. For example, a politician might take on the Ministry of Globalism for 2 years, and then Ministry of Education for the next two years (if the party in that country stays in power for four years).

Why do this, you might ask? I think this would increase the cooperation and understanding between countries like nothing else before it (at a government level). Beside the connections becoming very tight between the two countries, as they are now almost sharing internal political agenda, the knowledge of where the countries are similar and where they are different will be very clear. Opportunities to trade, educate, learn, share and grow should come up in every other meeting.

This idea has similarities to idea 4 – but is at the political level.

Complexity: 4 / 5
Viability: 2 / 5
Impact: 5 / 5
Estimated Startup Cost:  <$250K for policy document and research paper 

 

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This post is part of my 365 ideas in 365 days.  Read about it here.
If you want to invest in this idea, execute this idea or some variation on this idea – email me!
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Photo Credit: (Mine – The Icelandic Parliament Building) Sam Ragnarsson – samrag – License 

 

Crawling Magnetic Robot Window Cleaner – Idea 45/365

If you live in a large house or high-rise you will surely have come across the irritating task of trying to clean your windows on the outside. My house has over 80 windows, all of which require cleaning at least twice a year. And I live in NZ. A few years ago I lived in a high-rise building in China, and those window needed cleaning once a month. Of course we couldn’t do that as we couldn’t get to them.

What if there was a robot that did it for you? I wonder if any of you have owned a fish tank? As a kid I used to have a small one, and to clean the glass on the inside you had two small boxes with a magnet. You placed one on the inside of the tank, and one on the outside. The stuck together, and there was sponge type of material on the flat surface touching the glass on the inside. Then you simply dragged the box down with your hand, and the inside box got dragged along due to the magnet and cleaned the inside at the same time.

The idea here would be that you operate it similarly but that it is automatic/robotic. So you put it up with one piece on the inside and one one the outside, held together by a magnet. Then it works itself over the window, maybe even taking a long time to do so, returning to the position it started from when finished. Like a cross between the fish tank cleaner and a round automatic vacuum cleaner.

There are some challenges, like will you always need two people to place it – as you have one piece on the inside and one outside? And how small can it be to be effective? Maybe there is a way not to use a magnet, but simply have something on the outside that uses suction to hold on to the window?

But clearly something we need! Hey, this might be pretty good for a Kickstarter Project…

Complexity: 2 / 5
Viability: 3 / 5
Impact: 3 / 5
Estimated Startup Cost:  <$500K for true concept 

 

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This post is part of my 365 ideas in 365 days.  Read about it here.
If you want to invest in this idea, execute this idea or some variation on this idea – email me!
365@samrag.com

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Photo Credit: Asparukh Akanayev – aakanayev – License 

 

Passing on the Gadgets – Idea 44/365

The amount of gear we all go through is massive and only increasing. Many people have a great system for renewing their computers, phones, TVs and so on, with my good friend Emmett being a good example. He never owns any gadgets for more than about 8 months and than sells them, often for a profit and upgrades to a newer version. On the other hand there are dodos like me, who never sell their stuff and end up with drawers full of old phones and stacks of old laptops and printers.

What if you could take these and donate them to be used again in developing countries? Now, I realise that this relates to idea 7 regarding the container ship of hope. But while the idea is similar, i.e. taking used goods and giving them to the ones who need them, the giving of electronics will require few additional pieces.

I see this as a volunteer and sponsored shop, where phones, laptops and pads (to begin with) are collected. Premade boxes with the organisation’s logo are there (about three sizes). And each one is prepped and if needed power plugs changed to work in the receiving country.

Then they are shipped and sold for $5 -$20 dollars. This should take care of the cost of the shipping, packaging and even the power plugs/converters.

My hope is that an idea like this could both be good for the environment, but at that same time support efforts by Google and Facebook to provide access to the internet to ‘all’. Hey, maybe a large corporation could even cover the 5-20 dollar fee?

Complexity: 3 / 5
Viability: 4 / 5
Impact: 4 / 5
Estimated Startup Cost:  <$250K for single city + destination test run 

 

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This post is part of my 365 ideas in 365 days.  Read about it here.
If you want to invest in this idea, execute this idea or some variation on this idea – email me!
365@samrag.com

If you know of similar idea that already exists as a product, let me know in the comments.



Photo Credit: Irita Kirsbluma – 91026431@N05 – License