Ideas for a Changing World
We are often asked, “How do you come up with ideas for new products?” Sometimes the spark of an idea is born out of an everyday problem or frustration we face. We see an existing product and say, “Why doesn’t this work better?” But sometimes we take a step back to look at macro trends and ask, “How is our world changing? How do the products we use need to adapt for the future?”
It’s a cliché to refer to a rapidly changing world, but in fact there are a number of areas where profound changes are happening faster than ever before. These areas are fertile ground for innovators and designers to come up with new products or to redesign existing products due for an overhaul.
We see the effects of climate change every day. In California, where we are headquartered, early fall is no longer referred to as “Indian Summer,” it is now “Wildfire Season.” Other parts of the country have to deal with flooding, extreme temperature shifts, and potential sea-level rise. There are opportunities for new air quality meters, outdoor smoke detectors, fire prevention products, flood safety products, generators and backup batteries. Thinking about unthinkable disasters may lead to ideas to improve particulate filtering facemasks, inflatable rafts, storage containers for automobiles, water filters, composting toilets, and sandbags – all old products that need to adapt to changing use.
Sustainability is a huge area ripe for innovation. There are many aspects of sustainable design that can give rise to new product ideas. We need to think about ways that traditional products can be redesigned to become more sustainable. That might mean new designs that use renewable materials or finding ways to redesign single-use products to allow disassembly of components so they can be repaired or easily refilled. We’ve gotten used to having anything we can think of delivered to our doorstep, but how can we make products lightweight to cut down on shipping costs or eliminate excess packaging while still protecting our purchases? One of our products in the pipeline is a device to make breaking down cardboard boxes easier. Perhaps there are new product ideas on the horizon to help us repurpose old clothes or make home composting easier.
Legalization of Cannabis
As laws and attitudes change and businesses invest in the growing cannabis market, there are opportunities for innovations in product delivery mechanisms and accessories. Product safety is an area where new products could have a huge impact. We are currently working on ideas for better child-resistant/pet-resistant packaging that is also cost effective and sustainable. The first person to design an effective and inexpensive device to mask the smell of marijuana smoke so your neighbors aren’t bothered by your backyard relaxation sessions is probably guaranteed to make millions.
What other trends do you see leading to new product ideas? What common products are ready for an update to meet today’s changing needs? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below. Maybe you’ll inspire us to create our next invaluable invention or maybe you’ll come up with a new patent of your own!