TIME Innovation

This Company Makes Shoes That Look Like Confectionery Treats

The Shoe Bakery makes shoes that appear to be covered in frosting and ice cream

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This article originally appeared on Lost at E Minor.

Those heels look shoe delicious! Orlando-based shoe company ‘The Shoe Bakery’ creates footwear that are inspired by confectionary treats like ice cream, cupcakes, donuts, and cake. “My love for shoes came with the passion for being unique,” says founder Chris Campbell. “I love shoes and sweets so why not put them together?”

As you can see, excellent craftsmanship and great attention to detail went into the making of these sweet-looking shoes. Customers can even order custom-made designs, which will cost around $200-400 and will take about 3-6 weeks to finish. With shoes that look as mouthwatering as these, I think I’d rather eat them than wear them!

You can find out more about The Shoe Bakery and purchase their products here.

Via Design Taxi

TIME Innovation

This Is What Customers Really Crave

Stephanie Alvarez Ewens

According to the co-founder of Fast Company

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This is one of a 10-article series of conversations with transformational leaders who will be storytellers at the BIF10 Collaborative Innovation Summit in Providence, RI, on Sept. 17-18

“The real promise of the technology revolution isn’t its products—it’s the new ways by which it has enabled us to express our humanity,” claims Bill Taylor, co-founder of the iconic Fast Company magazine and author of the bestseller, Practically Radical.

 

“Today, smaller and smaller teams are building bigger and bigger things, faster,” he explains. In today’s marketplace—which is streamlined by technology and defined by abundant choice— “corporate muscle mass” such as factories and storefronts have lost the clout they had 50 years prior.

 

“What customers really crave is a sense of humanity,” claims Taylor.

“Leaders of economically successful organizations are every bit as rigorous about the human side of their enterprises as they are about R&D and acquisitions,” he maintains. Taylor encourages us to recognize the influence of passion brands. “Apple, Google, HBO” he lists, all have dominated their industry sectors thanks to the might of a zealous group of consumers.

“Ultimately, your culture is what sustains your strategy.”

+++

The aspect of technological revolution that currently fascinates Bill Taylor is the power of businesses that are facilitated by technology, but driven by a human touch.

As a primer, he shares three guidelines for companies looking to embrace this new culture of work:

  1. Capitalize on what makes you unique.

Breakaway success requires a commitment to the unprecedented.

“If your customers can live without you, eventually they will,” warns Taylor. “You can’t just be the best at what you do—you have to be the only organization that does what you do.”

Taylor looks up to an early adopter of this principle: Southwest Airlines. “They were never a “low-cost” airline,” he argues, “they were a “big idea” airline.”

Taylor says, “Southwest’s purpose from day one was to ‘democratize the skies,’ to give rank-and-file families the freedom to fly. In the early 1970s when they began to operate, air travel was a luxury of business travelers and the well-to-do.”

Southwest was successful because “their strategy was completely at odds with the rest of the airline industry.”

  1. Create meaning and camaraderie at every level of the organization.

Instead of giving their employees the chance to amass power to get rich, companies must instead help them unleash freedoms from within, allowing people in their ranks to give input about the goods and services they produce.

“People want their work to be consistent with what they care about as human beings,” Taylor says. “The best leaders unearth the passion, energy, and commitment of their people by enabling them to make a real difference to their customers and one another.”

He urges companies to examine themselves. He asks them, “What does it mean—in terms of the language, the daily rituals—to be a member of your organization?”

Taylor shares a revolutionary tip: “The real use of social media is not so that we can market our product to a broader audience, but to give our people the capacity to humanize our brand.”

  1. Be kind—it’s more important than being clever.

We can’t thrive in a corporate world that sacrifices humanity for the sake of profit, Taylor maintains.

At a BIF Summit several years ago, Taylor shared a story of two automobile dealers his father encountered while shopping for a car.

The first dealer sold Cadillacs, a brand Taylor’s father had long been loyal to. Cadillac sent the man a $1,000 customer-loyalty discount in the mail, but because he wanted to buy a car 24 hours after the coupon expired, the dealer refused to honor it.

The second dealer sold Buicks. After a conversation with Taylor’s father, this dealer offered to honor the expired Cadillac discount. The same dealer let the man test-drive the car over a weekend, and, when an emergency surgery prohibited timely return of the vehicle, sent a lovely bouquet of flowers with a “hilarious note.”

“Which car do you think my father bought?” Taylor asks.

“Small gestures of kindness send big signals about who we are and why people should want to affiliate with us.” He adds, “It was the highest ROI on a bouquet of flowers in history.”

+++

Bill Taylor says he “always looks forward” to the Collaborative Innovation Summit, hosted by the nonprofit Business Innovation Factory (BIF) in Providence, RI. Taylor has joined the lineup of radical business thinkers at BIF Summit more than once.

“I’m proud to say I crashed the first BIF Summit in 2004,” he says, “because I’ve been back every year since. It is one of the most exciting and authentic learning laboratories I’ve ever encountered.”

“Community is an overused word, but BIF truly is a community. We come together once a year, and learn from and support each other all the rest of the year.”

“I live for months off the energy that I get from the BIF Summit,” he professes. “It’s a poetry slam for innovators. What a refreshing break from standard operating procedure.”

The BIF Collaborative Innovation Summit combines 30 brilliant storytellers with more than 400 innovation junkies in a two-day storytelling jam, featuring tales of personal discovery and transformation that spark real connection and “random collisions of unusual suspects.”

Saul Kaplan is the author of The Business Model Innovation Factory. He is the founder and chief catalyst of the Business Innovation Factory (BIF) in Providence and blogs regularly at It’s Saul Connected. Follow him on Twitter at @skap5. Nicha Ratana is a senior pursuing a degree in English Nonfiction Writing at Brown University and an intern at The Business Innovation Factory. Follow her on Twitter at @nicharatana.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: September 15

1. Relief organizations today are dangerously politicized and risk irrelevancy. To survive, they must evolve into decentralized networks for sharing knowledge, aid, and true humanity.

By Paul Currion in Aeon

2. There is more to measuring economic strength than jobs. For manufacturing, America is one of the most cost-competitive countries in the industrial world.

By Harold L. Sirkin, Michael Zinser, and Justin Rose in BCG Perspectives

3. Could a secret online marketplace for illegal drugs provide a safer alternative to our modern drug war?

By Colin Moore in Substance

4. Marketing to so-called “influencers” is a waste of advertising dollars.

By Greg Satell in Harvard Business Review

5. Technology vs. Tradition: Menstrupedia tackles taboos in India to improve women’s health and lives.

By Priti Salian in TakePart

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Innovation

6 Ideas From Science Fiction That Should Become Reality

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Coneyl Jay—Getty Images

Zocalo Public Square is a not-for-profit Ideas Exchange that blends live events and humanities journalism.

Let’s violate the laws of physics

Science fiction writers can be eerily prescient. Consider what John Brunner got right about our world in 2010, as described in his 1968 novel Stand on Zanzibar: a world shaken up by terrorist attacks and school shootings, the near-abandonment of Detroit, a zeal for upgrading everything, including our bodies. When Isaac Asimov envisioned in 1964 what 2014 would be like, he described what we’ve come to know as satellite phones, Skype calls, and driverless cars. Of course, with all hits, there have been some misses: we don’t have Brunner’s single super computer that powers the world, but the rhizome of the Internet with servers all over the globe; we don’t have the moon colonies that Asimov assumed we’d already have. Still, the power of science fiction comes from the license to dream – and in many case to have nightmares. In advance of the Zócalo/ASU Center for Science and the Imagination Event “Can Science Fiction Revolutionize Science?”, we asked experts: What idea from science fiction would you most like to see become reality?

1. Instant messaging – across galaxies

By Seth Shostak

There are many concepts in science fiction that would be truly revolutionary if they were to change from fantasy to fact. Strong artificial intelligence, for example, would demote us as the rulers of the planet. Our species might take on a new status – as pets.

Building orbiting space colonies is another staple of sci-fi that would have major effect. Getting some of the population away from Earth and mining natural resources from asteroids or other bodies would permanently relieve many of the environmental pressures on our world.

These are examples of developments that would shift Homo sapiens into another gear. But they’re not truly spectacular because, frankly, they’re too plausible. They’re almost certain to happen, and perhaps quite soon. They don’t violate physics.

However, here’s something that’s in a different camp altogether: instantaneous communication. It does violate physics, at least the physics that we know. We’re not talking warp drive, but warp communication: the ability to exchange bits of information between any two locations, no matter how great the separation, without delay.

Consider what happened when the alien planet Alderaan is destroyed in the Star Wars film A New Hope. Millions of people are killed, but thanks to the instant messaging capability of The Force (whatever that is) Obi-Wan Kenobi feels their pain immediately.

That capability would change everything, and forever. Face it, there can never be a galactic empire in which biological beings cooperate or compete as long the delivery time for messages (“Help, Klingon attack!” or “Join the Vulcan book club”) is tens of thousands of years.

Searching for extraterrestrial intelligence would become trivial and gratifying. All that’s necessary is to systematically ping every star system in the galaxy, and – without delay – check for a response.

Instant communication would put everyone everywhere on-line. It would unite the cosmos intellectually and culturally. Goodbye isolation; hello socialization.

Seth Shostak is the senior astronomer and director of the Center for SETI Research at the SETI Institute, a Mountain View, California-based organization that aims to explore, understand, and explain the origin and nature of life in the universe. Shostak is also the author of the book, Confessions of an Alien Hunter and host of the radio show, Big Picture Science.

2. Pushing past culture clashes

By Bobak Ferdowsi

I’d pick the thing I recognized when I first started watching reruns of Star Trek and reading the works of Arthur C. Clarke – international cooperation.

I grew up in a multicultural family where, since my birth, there has been animosity between the nations my parents come from – Iran and the United States. The idea that one day humanity would push past the clashes between nations and cultures to pursue the human endeavor of exploration is immensely appealing. Even more wonderful in this science-fiction universe, cultures are not lost, but instead preserved and appreciated. Even today, we face so many challenges on our own planet that stem from cultural misunderstandings and perceived differences in interests.

If I’m forced to suggest a single technical fantasy to become reality, I suppose it would be the replicators from the later generations of Star Trek. The ability to readily convert energy into matter opens up the possibility of providing supplies to remote and underserved locations. While our present has yet to solve the issue of clean, renewable energy, I feel that is within our ability in the next generations. Ultimately I’d like to believe this technology would minimize many of the conflicts over supplies, which I think could be worsened by climate change, growing populations, and shrinking resources.

I’m optimistic about our future – in large part because so many of the engineers and inventors of today are ­inspired by science fiction. Flip-phones and tablets are a reality. Xprize has a competition to build a medical tricorder, and already our cell phones are being leveraged as platforms for new growth. It may not happen at once, but the good news is we’re making progress – and have the imagination of science fiction chroniclers to help us.

Bobak Ferdowsi is a systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He is a member of the Europa Clipper study team, and previously worked on the Mars Curiosity rover and Cassini Saturn orbiter. He plays softball at JPL and often rides his bike to work.

3. My own personal spacecraft

By Leroy Chiao

I want more than just the flying car that we were promised when I was young. I want a personal spacecraft! The personal spacecraft would not launch on rockets, or need parachutes or a runway to land. It would not be a vehicle that just propels you into orbit around a body (like Earth), but would instead be capable of travel far beyond.

Inspired by a combination of the flying cars in Blade Runner and the fighter spacecraft in Star Wars that can land on and depart from planets easily, my vehicle would take off and land vertically. The versions of those kinds of jump jets in existence (like the military’s Harrier) are VERY loud, but mine would not make a lot of noise. And mine would fly both through the atmosphere, as well as into space. It would not need any refurbishment to fly again. It would be practical for everyday use, just like your car today.

Would this ever be possible? Yes, but several things need to be invented and solved first:

  1. A nearly infinite, compact, lightweight power source. This would be absolutely necessary to power the engines and run the systems (including active shielding from radiation that could fry the pilot and passengers once they left the Earth’s protective magnetic force field).
  2. Quiet, small, lightweight, powerful, and clean engines. These would run off of the power supply described above. They would have to be quiet, otherwise the roar from everyone operating these vehicles would be deafening. They would have to be clean. Otherwise, if everyone had one, the environment would quickly become polluted or contaminated.
  3. Automated collision avoidance and navigation. This is easier than you might think. With transponders and sensors that are just a bit more advanced than those today, coupled with high-speed connection to data and computing power in the cloud, this could actually become a reality sooner rather than later.
  4. Oh, and all of this stuff would have to be inexpensive.

Why not go directly to teleportation? Call me old-fashioned, but I am squeamish about the idea of having my molecules disassembled and reassembled at another location. Would I still be me, even if it all worked physically? Consciousness and the idea of a soul are still pretty darned intangible.

Leroy Chiao served as a NASA astronaut from 1990-2005. During his 15-year career, he flew four missions into space, three times on Space Shuttles and once as the co-pilot of a Russian Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station. On that flight, he served as the commander of Expedition 10, a six-and-a-half month mission. Among other positions, he serves as a Special Advisor to the Space Foundation, and also to the Houston Association for Space and Science Education.

  1. Beyond the big things, an improvement in nail polish

By Amy Mainzer

Obviously I’d love a transporter for every time I’m stuck in traffic, or the unlimited clean energy derived from banana peels by the Mr. Fusion generator from Back to the Future. But forgetting about civilization-changing technologies for a second, one idea that I have always really liked is a much, much smaller one: the futuristic manicure from Total Recall.

In the movie, someone figured out how to make nail polish that changes colors with the touch of some kind of pen. It’s just a short moment, but this small detail helps to establish a world that truly is futuristic. It also struck me as something that someone might actually invent one day. Although it’s fun to think of big stuff like warp drive and time travel, I’ve always particularly enjoyed thinking about the smaller ways that technology changes our lives. What will day-to-day life be like in the future?

I really wish someone would make nail polish that changes colors by tapping a pen – because I hate the smell of acetone.

Amy Mainzer is an astronomer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She’s the principal investigator of the NEOWISE mission, a space telescope that searches for asteroids and comets using infrared light.

5. Truly clean energy sources

By Steven Gould

I’d like to see cheap, safe, clean energy production come into being, whether in the form of orbiting satellites that can beam solar energy down to the Earth in microwaves (à la Isaac Asimov’s 1941 short story “Reason”) or super efficient photo-electric panels (as in Robert Heinlein’s 1940 short story “Let There Be Light”). But something that replaces the burning of fossil fuel and drastically cuts our pumping of carbon dioxide into earth’s atmosphere. The likeliest technology on the horizon is nuclear fusion, (clean energy released by the controlled fusing of atoms) but, sadly, we’re talking a distant horizon. I’d also like to see technology that lets us capture and sequester carbon in high volumes. If these “science-fictional” technologies aren’t forthcoming, I’d like to see the most far-fetched, science fictional thing yet: that governments of the world start making decisions based on our best scientific consensus and in the best interest of our species and biosphere, rather than unduly considering the vested interests of corporations.

Otherwise we’re going see a lot of science fiction ideas coming true–things like:

- John Barnes’ Mother of Storms, in which the clathrate gun hypothesis (where a rise in sea temperature triggers a runaway release of methane that leads to even higher temperatures) causes a devastating superstorm.

- Kim Stanley Robinson’s Science in the Capital trilogy, in which the disruption of ocean circulation patterns halts the Gulf Stream with catastrophic results.

- And even J.G. Ballard’s The Drowned World from 1962, in which melting ice caps have raised world sea levels.

Much as I love the positive futures of science fiction — the spread of humanity out into our solar system or farther, the creation of artificial intelligences that will help us to solve our many problems, a resource-abundant future in which the vast economic disparity of our current times is eliminated — it is the “If this goes on” kinds of science fiction that I am most worried will come true.

But don’t count us out yet. We’re clever monkeys.

Steven Gould is the award-winning and New York Times best-selling author of the Jumper books (which inspired the 2008 movie of the same name) as well as standalone novels Wildside, Helm, Blind Waves, 7th Sigma, and Greenwar (written with Laura J. Mixon.) He is the current president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and his latest book is Exo (Jumper IV.)

6. These toys should come with warning labels

By Devon Maloney

From touch screens to psychokinesis, there seems to be little left for science to pluck from the pages of revered sci-fi visionaries like Isaac Asimov or Gene Roddenberry and place in the hands the consumer. For authors, it’s made predicting the future feel a little like determining the future, which is a pretty cool system. We’re quite literally getting almost everything we’ve ever dreamed of, and very quickly, to boot.

But one thing that I think often, if not most of the time, gets lost in translation from page to life is perhaps the most vital piece of science fiction’s offerings: the instruction manual. While any inventor can develop a device and bring it into existence, sci-fi authors can pair their imaginings with philosophical and ethical explorations of what tech like this might mean, for individuals, groups, and the future of humanity. The way in which we use the tools we create—and in which those tools might use us—is perhaps even more important than their simple existence. Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? deftly draws parallels between the proliferation of android servants and our present dehumanization of the poor; the protagonist of Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed has superhuman abilities but instead of giving her power, they open her to subjugation, directly trouncing the utopian idea that technology will unquestionably be a great equalizer. Roddenberry gave us the pro-diversity IDIC and the anti-imperialist Prime Directive — two of the most deeply humanist philosophies in fiction, period. And Asimov, with his laws of robotics and the subsequent roboethics conversations they inspired (see: Arthur C. Clarke’s HAL 9000 and The Terminator‘s Skynet), gave us some of, if not the most widely disregarded warnings in the rapidly evolving production of artificially intelligent tech.

Too often we are like children at Christmas, ripping open boxes of sophisticated electronic toys—and ignoring their bright DO NOT GET WET warning labels as we bring them into the swimming pool with us. What a deeply tragic irony that the entirety of science fiction and dystopian fiction might come to fruition: both the miraculous, utopian tech and our inability to see how, if mindlessly utilized, it will most certainly destroy us.

Devon Maloney is an L.A.-based culture journalist and critic. She writes about science fiction and dystopia for Wired; her writing also appears in publications like Grantland, Billboard, SPIN, T magazine, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, GQ, and Vulture.

This piece originally appeared on Zocalo Public Square.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

I Dish Out the Food Your Supermarket Can’t Use

Opening of specialty grocer Trader Joe's
Milk lines the shelves at Trader Joe's, located on Colorado Blvd. and East 8th Avenue in Denver, for the grand opening of specialty grocer, February, 14 2014. RJ Sangosti—Denver Post via Getty Images

Linda Hess is the President and Founder of Urban Harvester a non-profit 501c-3 organization. www.urbanharvester.org.

My neighbors were going hungry, so I got my local Trader Joe’s to donate carloads of groceries

In the spring of 2009, my teenage daughter and I attended a memorial service in Pasadena, California, followed by a family-style luncheon. The retired clergyman who officiated the service was holding a plate in one hand and arranging the leftovers onto it. The plate was teetering on the edge of the very full table; I walked over and asked if I could help.

I assumed he was preparing food for the family to eat later in the day. Instead, he told me the sandwiches were going to nearby apartments of elder adults who had very limited access to food. He said this would likely be their meal for the day.

I asked if I could visit the seniors he was helping, maybe bring a casserole or some flowers to cheer up their day. And so the following Monday morning, my friend Marie and I brought little tuna casseroles and cupcakes, and joined the clergyman on visits to three apartments within three miles of my house.

Each stop went from bad to worse. The first apartment, a block from the Rose Parade route, was home to a lovely woman whose hands were crippled by arthritis and whose back was curled over. She could only push buttons on her microwave and use pop-top cans. The second apartment wasn’t much better. The third apartment stank of stagnant air and animal feces. A very thin woman with extremely swollen ankles the size of baseball bats and large eyeglasses sat on a bare daybed mattress with no sheets or blankets. Her closet door was open, and only one dress was hanging in it. She offered us water—apologizing for having nothing else to share—and said that the glasses were in the cupboard. We found just one glass and nothing else but cans of cat food. Her fridge was empty.

We chatted about the weather and the TV show she’d had on, but my head was spinning, and I couldn’t focus. It felt like hours had passed, but it was only minutes. I’d walked by this building a hundred times, coffee and cell phone in hand—often on my way to or from a meal.

As I stood with my hand on the door, I felt I had to make a decision right then and there. Do I do nothing and let this be someone else’s problem — and feel pain and intense guilt when this woman dies from neglect? Or do I get involved?

An hour later I dashed into Trader Joe’s in South Pasadena and shared my shock at what I’d just seen and experienced. A wonderful man named Joe – not the Trader Joe– told me to come back on Wednesday. He would help me get some items the people I’d just visited could eat and easily open.

Joe was as good as his word. He helped fold down the seats of my Prius and loaded dolly after dolly of fruits and boxed vegetables. He explained that this food was excess, and the store donated it to make room for newer shipments. (I would learn later that other grocery stores – but not all – do this and more) There was so much food I could only make left turns because I couldn’t see out the other window.

I soon learned more about the 52 million Americans—one in six of us—who are unsure of where their next meal will come from. I also learned that grocery stores and many food-derived businesses discard their excess unexpired food daily instead of donating it: Up to 40 percent of the food produced in the U.S. is wasted. My big question was: Where did this discarded food go, and how could we get it to struggling people like those I had met in my neighborhood?

For the next two and a half years, I made weekly pick-ups at Trader Joe’s and delivered food to organizations in the Pasadena area, including the AIDS Service Center, the Union Station Homeless Services Pasadena, and Holy Family – The Giving Bank. Meanwhile, I learned everything I could about food waste.

In spring 2010, I attended a convention in San Diego on organics recycling and sustainability to gain an overview of the waste industry. I wanted to be able to have a respectable conversation if a food supplier chose to not donate edible food. For three days, I was a human sponge, absorbing information about sustainability, composting, and renewable energy. They didn’t particularly care about feeding people, but I gained an enormous amount of respect for their passion and commitment to efficiency and reducing waste. They cared as much about preserving the same pristine organic food I was interested in, just for different reasons.

When I got home I reached out to local agencies in need of food—homeless shelters, churches, food banks from Long Beach to the Westside, senior centers, children’s homes. I asked them how often they needed donations, and whether they required food to be prepared and pre-packaged or if it could be kitchen-made. Then I approached the health department about food safety regulations. Through these meetings I realized that it wasn’t as simple as taking food that one place didn’t need and delivering it to where it was needed. Donating food, I discovered, had a unique set of rules that were outdated and hadn’t been adapted for today’s state-of-the-art methods of heating and cooling food.

I realized the process could be made much more user-friendly so that more cities and companies would want to participate.

In 2012 I founded Urban Harvester, a Los Angeles-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Our focus is connecting untapped food resources to the nearest shelter, soup kitchen, and pantry. We designed a scalable model that includes education and outreach to bring communities and business together.

We don’t have a fleet of trucks or a facility; our goal is simply to connect the dots. We are like a dating service bringing together the food and the agencies who need it. We are now partnering with 211 LA – an L.A. County network that includes 49,000 city, county, public assistant and nonprofit programs – to try to connect to more agencies for our food work; 211LA is part of a larger national network of programs that serve 93 percent of the country. Today this connection work is done personally and locally, but we have built a database and are using technology to build up a system to connect food and agencies that need food at any hour and across the world.

All types of food suppliers are now involved—not just grocery stores but restaurants, food trucks, Starbucks, the South Pasadena Unified School District, a music festival, a temple, a farmers market (and many wonderful food retailers that prefer to donate food quietly). Just a few weeks ago, we proposed and won unanimous passage from the South Pasadena city council of first resolution: Businesses cannot dispose of edible extra food that is professionally prepared, but instead must make responsible efforts to connect the food to local agencies.

Our goal is to keep taking big steps, albeit one at time, to help people with their basic needs.

Linda Hess is the President and Founder of Urban Harvester a non-profit 501c-3 organization. http://www.urbanharvester.org. She wrote this piece for Zocalo Public Square.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: September 12

1. The long shadow of September 11th haunts our modern defense policy as well as our plan of attack against ISIS.

By Janine Davidson at the Council on Foreign Relations

2. Far from “The End of History:” Recent experience shows that democracy’s defenders have their work cut out for them. We should start by linking democratic values to our humanity.

By Timothy Stanley and Alexander Lee in the Atlantic

3. Climate change could remake agriculture. The world should diversify its crops.

By Sayed Azam-Ali in The Conversation

4. To transition from warfighting to the working world, America’s veterans need support from a broad range of government agencies. And that’s actually happening.

By Charles S. Clark in Government Executive

5. The Apple Watch will make people and computers more intimate.

By Walter Isaacson in Time

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Companies

Facebook Tests Disappearing Posts Feature

A view of and Apple iPhone displaying th
A view of an Apple iPhone displaying the Facebook app's splash screen, May 10, 2012 in Washington. Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images

The option is being offered to a small group of users

Facebook has quietly released a Snapchat-like feature that allows some users to set their posts to expire at a predetermined time.

“We’re running a small pilot of a feature on Facebook for iOS that lets people schedule deletion of their posts in advance,” a spokesperson for the social network told TIME.

The option, which is being offered to a small subset of users, allows them to set posts to delete anytime from 1 hour to 7 days after they are initially published, The Next Web reports. Facebook has released many features to select groups of users in the past before deciding to either roll them out larger or go back to the drawing board.

Though Facebook hasn’t publicly revealed what the tool actually looks like, some users have taken to Twitter to share screenshots.

Last year, the social network reportedly turned down a $3 billion offer to buy Snapchat, the smartphone app that allows users to send photos and videos that disappear within seconds of a recipient opening them. Market valuations from last month estimated Snapchat’s value at $10 billion.

TIME Soccer

Player-Powered Stadium Floodlights Have Been Launched in Rio

Kid plays with soccer ball at a refurbished soccer field at the Mineira slum in Rio de Janeiro
A child plays with soccer ball at a refurbished soccer field at the Mineira slum in Rio de Janeiro September 10, 2014. Ricardo Moraes —Reuters

Tiles on the field capture the kinetic energy of athletes as they run

The world’s first soccer field with floodlights powered by player movement was unveiled in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday, but it’s not at the Maracanã.

The never-before-seen technology was in fact launched at Mineira — one of the Brazilian city’s slums, AFP reports.

The technology is called Pavegen, and harvests energy from players’ footsteps using tiles made from 80% recycled material that capture kinetic energy, AFP says. Two hundred of the weatherproof tiles have been installed underneath the playing surface, and the energy from them will be supplemented by solar panels installed on the roof of a neighboring samba school.

Brazilian soccer legend Pelé, who was present for the arena’s inauguration, said the innovation represented new frontiers for the country.

“The whole world started looking at Brazil through football,” he said. “I hope that with projects such as this one, the world will start looking at Brazil through its participation in science.”

Although residents approved the project in a public vote, the cost of playing there — $20 an hour — is too steep for most in the favela, as slums are locally known.

“Today, we have to play outside our community as we can’t pay,” Bruno Olivera, a hospital worker, told AFP.

Pavegen’s chairman said the company is trying to find ways to reduce the cost of the technology.

[AFP]

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: September 11

1. National service is a critical American value that has the power to unite us.

By Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates in Time

2. The challenge for America’s strategy against ISIS isn’t our military might. It’s the will of our partners in Iraq and Syria.

By Jeff Shesol in the New Yorker

3. After a decade of urban violence, blacks in America report PTSD symptoms at the same rate as veterans of our last three wars.

By Lois Beckett in Essence

4. Municipal buses move more than 5 billion people annually. Converting them to electric power would slash carbon emissions dramatically.

By Daniel Gross in Slate

5. To gather valuable health data from the poor, texting survey questions yields impressive results.

By the University of Michigan Health System

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Innovation

Innovation Lessons from the Battlefield to the Boardroom

New meaning to the corporate term “change or die”

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This is one of a 10-article series of conversations with transformational leaders who will be storytellers at theBIF10 Collaborative Innovation Summit in Providence, RI, on Sept. 17-18

Leading a team of 700 people through an enterprise-wide change management process on a tight schedule is formidable enough when undertaken in the business world. Imagine, then, the difficulty of doing so in the Afghanistan war zone. Such was the leadership challenge of Col. Matthew Fritz, who just returned to the U.S. last week from a stint as Chief of Staff of a 16-nation coalition.

The coalition has been tasked since 2007 with rebuilding and modernizing the Afghan Air Force, which launched in 1924, but by the mid-2000s had dwindled to less than a dozen planes. Col. Fritz’ leadership term began in an atmosphere of tension created by President Obama’s announcement that the U.S.-led coalition would have to compress its timeline and withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

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Innovating in Afghanistan certainly brings new meaning to the corporate term “change or die”. Over the course of the project, Col. Fritz had to resolve vast technological limitations and overcome cultural and language barriers. Together, he and his team synchronized the activities of 16 nations, spread across six geographical locations within Afghanistan, to build air power capability and ensure security for the country’s future.

The colonel, who in his spare time curates a blog at GeneralLeadership.com and tweets management insight from his(@fritzmt account to 95,000+ Twitter followers insists that lessons gained on the battlefield have many applications in the boardroom.

“People may not see innovation as one of the core competencies that come out of a military career,” Fritz says, “It’s actually the opposite — military leaders deal with change in complex situations every day.”

As a leader, “I am constantly finding ways to make my message connect with my team,” Fritz says. He considers himself a firm believer in “getting feedback and exchanging stories” — perhaps an unusual admission from a colonel who commands such authority.

Expected to deliver change on an incredibly tight schedule, Fritz encouraged his team to engage in conversation with their Afghan counterparts, in the hope of getting valuable feedback. The result: the coalition and their Afghan partners participated in one of the most open exchanges in the history of the mission. As a result, Fritz claims, they were able to “question basic assumptions and together, transform the training process.”

He adds, “Leaders often get wrapped up in the brilliance of their ideas and forget to include their teammates… Americans are used to doing things the ‘American way’; but in this case, what’s important was being Afghan-right.”

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In conversation via Skype from Afghanistan a few weeks before his return to the U.S., the square-jawed, direct-speaking Col. Fritz makes it clear that he will not discuss politics (“because I don’t influence that”). He is a man of ideals – “more than just a guy in a uniform,” Fritz says.

One ideal Fritz lives by is that everyone should embrace “service” in their day-to-day lives, “in businesses, teams, churches and communities,” he says. He believes service should not be a concept singularly assigned to the military.

Fritz traces this ideal back to his grandfather, a shopkeeper in small-town Arthur, Illinois, who also served as the town’s mayor. Grandfather modeled for grandson the behavior of the ideal citizen — committed, engaged, proactive. “He used to say, “If it’s to be, it has to be me.’ That’s something I grew up with. Especially in a small town, you’re expected to participate in church, community and school; otherwise it just isn’t going to work.”

As a first step, Fritz recommends that we slow down and be more intentional. Talk to people, listen to them, see what they know, he says, just as his grandfather did while sweeping the sidewalk in front of his store.

Matthew Fritz looks forward to sharing his story this month at the BIF10 Collaborative Innovation Summit, a storytelling jam featuring transformation leaders, hosted annually by the nonprofit Business Innovation Factory (BIF) in Providence, RI.

How he helped to bring the Afghan Air Force to self-sufficiency is a tale about how to drive complex change management simply, a tale Col. Fritz is hopeful will resonate with the BIF10 community, a group he began to engage with via Twitter from Afghanistan.

He adds, “I hope to share a perspective into the military that might be a little bit different, and engage in the conversation.” He is “beyond excited” to be participating in his first BIF Summit. “I’m nervous,” he confesses. “I have worked with congressmen and ambassadors, but the folks at BIF10 are real movers and shakers. People whose work I’ve read and learned from, now I get to meet in person!”

The BIF Collaborative Innovation Summit combines 30 brilliant storytellers with more than 400 innovation junkies in a two-day storytelling jam, featuring tales of personal discovery and transformation that spark real connection and “random collisions of unusual suspects.”

Saul Kaplan is the author of The Business Model Innovation Factory. He is the founder and chief catalyst of the Business Innovation Factory (BIF) in Providence and blogs regularly at It’s Saul Connected. Follow him on Twitter at @skap5. Nicha Ratana is a senior pursuing a degree in English Nonfiction Writing at Brown University and an intern at The Business Innovation Factory. Follow her on Twitter at @nicharatana.

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