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Innovation

  • Google introduces News Lab, a project to birth journalists on steroids

    Google has announced a new project called News Lab, designed to give journalism more power. The site is a new effort by the company to empower innovation in which technology and media work far more closely and efficiently together. The site, the company explains, will feature different tools for newsrooms, including tutorials and advice for journalists on how to use the numerous Google products in their reporting. And when Google develops new products it will continue to update these resources. “From Maps to YouTube to Fusion Tables to Earth to Search, we offer many tools that newsrooms can use...

  • Meet Bartesian, your personal robobartender

    Waking up to the sound of your coffee machine starting up and brewing you a fresh cup of coffee beans you can possibly imagine, is magical. Coming home to the sound of your cocktail machine shaking a most needed cocktail, is a game changer. Bartesian is the robot arm that uses mixes your cocktails for you. Apologies, this is something that needs pinching or repetition just to double check that it is real. Really awesome, the Bartesian uses the spirits you want and combined with a flavour capsule, the cocktail you needed all day will arrive shortly. You can even select...

  • Google’s Project Soli is an innovation from the distant future brought to the present

    Google’s ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects) department has been working on something very special. Called Project Soli, the technology could completely change how we interact with devices, from smartphones, music systems, heaters, ovens, TVs and tablets. The fitting way to describe this project is that it has taken a leap into the distant future, a future that is currently out of sight. Project Soli is an interaction sensor using radar technology that can track movement. This is similar to that which is used by security cameras. The technology behind this is quite sophisticated but it has been built into a...

  • Want to see real innovation? Stop wasting time and money on failed projects

    Innovating should be a priority for all businesses, yet too often, businesses approach innovation with a traditional mindset: they write a business plan, secure investment capital, and then spend months or years developing the idea without knowing if it will work. This approach hardly worked in the past, but in today’s fast-paced business environment, its shortcomings are laid bare more quickly and brutally than ever before, with market share being snapped up by more agile competitors. Businesses have come to realise that, if they want to be successful, they need a new approach. The Build-Measure-Learn method applies the...

  • Someone has invented the Selfie Shoe to enable people to take a Shoefie

    Earlier today we published a piece about selfies being banned on Table Mountain. Even with this move, and the other places that have banned selfie sticks, selfies continue to thrive. They are not dying down without a fight and inventors are making it possible for selfie enthusiasts to continue doing what they are good at. The latest invention to drive the triumph of selfies is the Selfie Shoe. Miz Mooz has released the Shoefie, a shoe that is designed for taking selfies. The company notes that the design is to take care of that old annoying problem of not having...

  • Smart Villages launches energy challenge to address off-grid settlements

    Smart Villages is inviting East African entrepreneurs to form teams and come up with imaginative ways of distributing and implementing new or existing energy technologies for off-grid villages. It has also said that each team should at least consist of one science and engineering student or recent graduate from an East African University. The winning applicants will earn a place in the Cambridge Development Initiative (CDI) summer 2015 entrepreneurship training course based at the University of Dar es Salaam and an opportunity to pitch its ideas for US$3 000 prize capital to help implement their idea. The competition is a...

  • 3 massive digital trends and how South Africa can use them to its advantage

    Financial markets are in flux, cyber crime is on the rise and millennials are taking over the business world. That's according to David Silverstein, the CEO of global consulting firm BMGI, who says that while these trends are not necessarily the biggest, they're certainly ones we should all take heed of and keep in our back pockets. 1. Anticipate chaos In terms of reacting to markets, companies should stop trying to prepare for the worst or the best. Instead, they should prepare for the worst, best and everything in between. "The global economy is in a state of chaos," Silverstein says. "The...

  • Robert Downey Jr. gives an ‘Iron Man’ prosthetic arm to a seven year old boy

    Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr delivered a real bionic prosthesis to a seven-year old boy named Alex, who was born with a partially developed arm. The prosthetic arm is part of a project led by Albert Manero, a Fulbright scholar currently pursuing his doctorate in aerospace engineering at the University of Central Florida, which aims to make 3D printed arms more affordable. The arm was made by Limbitless Solutions, a non-profit prosthetic maker that helps provide 3D printed prosthetics to people around the world who cannot afford them. The Hollywood star and Manero surprised Alex with a new bionic...

  • These ground-breaking drones want to prevent rhino poaching in SA

    Are drones, 3D printers, crowdfunding and supercomputers enough to prevent wildlife poaching? This ambitious initiative believes they just might be. It sounds like an excerpt out of a Buzzword Weekly: Ground operators are equipped with 3D printers to have spare parts on-demand, while the drones fly around in SA's skies following routes based on algorithms, which are churned by supercomputers back in the States. Importantly, however, these methods seem to pay-off. The initiative is called Air Shepherd (not to be confused with the eco-extremist the Sea Shepherd of Whale Wars) and backed by the 35-year-old NPO, the Lindbergh Foundation. According to the...

  • 5 things you’re getting wrong about innovation: a business analyst’s perspective

    Companies are finding it increasingly difficult to be innovative as they struggle to keep up with the ever-changing needs and demands of today’s consumer. This is especially true of larger, process-driven companies. Unsurprisingly, smaller companies who unencumbered by large scales of operation are able to be more innovative, taking their solutions to the market in a more timely fashion. When it comes to innovation, the simple definition is that it is the act of introducing something new. In my opinion, this is too simple. It fails to encompass the crux of what innovation is. If I implement a new...

  • Sebastian Thrun: Is education poised to breed the next major moonshot? #AccentureIC2015

    From self-driving cars and Google Glass to online universities, Stanford professor and former head of Google X Sebastian Thrun has made quite a name for himself as a leading innovator, especially when it comes to Google's moonshot projects. At The Accenture Innovation Conference held in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Google Glass-clad Stanford professor talked about the importance of moonshots and how organisations can make these out-of-this-world ambitions work to achieve fruitful innovations. "When I was a child there was a piece of innovation that was always thought impossible: putting a man on the moon. It took the nation and the support...

  • From Steve Jobs to Eskom: how a former Disney exec solves challenges creatively

    South Africans can learn to live more easily without power. On visiting Cape Town and Johannesburg this week, Greg Brandeau was surprised to find how we've come to accept the way power cuts are communicated. But the former Pixar and Disney executive wasn't visiting as an Eskom consultant, rather Brandeau came to speak at Accenture's inaugural Innovation Conference and just happened to have some suggestions on our electricity crisis during an interview with Memeburn. Brandeau is an MIT-trained engineer who has had the opportunity to take talented companies to its next level, a skill that has taken him to the corners of...

  • First World Trader, Angel Shack, Blue Strata named SA’s top innovators #AccentureIC2015

    With a vision of promoting and recognising some of the country's top game-changers, The Accenture Innovation Conference has revealed South Africa's top innovators in Johannesburg. Within their respective categories, First World Trader, Angel Shack and Blue Strata were named the top innovators in the country. Explaining the initiative's goals, CEO of Accenture South Africa William Mzimba says that innovation is critical for business to operate, especially South Africa which faces a lot of economic and social issues. He said in a statement: Produced in parallel with the Accenture Innovation Conference, our world-first Accenture Innovation Index (firs published in 2013) measures and...

  • 3 massive trends banks will have to stay ahead of if they want to remain innovative

    Doing digital banking better is key, according to various banking trend predictions for 2015. But being fine-tuned to customer needs and behaviour, and consequently marrying human centricity with technology, could be the catalyst for true differentiation. Banking products and services have always been perceived as quite generic and it was inevitable that banks would catch up with each other in the digital banking space. Although launching innovative digital banking products and services that change the way we bank will continue to be rolled out, customer centricity should be at the heart of each rationale, and the execution thereof has never...

  • BBC World Service announce selected teams from its hackathon in Kenya

    Two teams have been selected to help the BBC expand its reach through Africa following its hackathon held earlier in Kenya. The BBC World Service, Connected Studio and its digital innovations team joined forces to hold a hackathon at the iHub and Nairobi Garage in Nairobi. At the time of announcing the hackathon, Dmitry Shishkin, BBC World Service Group Digital Development Editor, said that the reasons for holding the hackathon in Kenya is that “the BBC wants to tap into the unique expertise of, and partner with, the Kenyan tech community to develop new innovative ways to grow the BBC's audience...