Every Sunday, I have a call with my younger brother, and we have to pitch five new business ideas to each other — or at least pinpoint problems we’d like to solve. This little weekly tradition started after I read the book Become an Idea Machine. The book claims that anyone can generate ideas and that it’s really just about practice, to quote their humble amazon description “When you exercise your idea muscle every day you become an idea machine, you are unstoppable”. Over dinner, I euphorically told my brother all about the book and after initially laughing it off and telling me there was no way I could keep up the habit, he decided to join in the fun. He now even has a reoccurring event in his calendar: Sunday 8 pm, “Call your sister”, repeats weekly.
I’d love to say that every week after we hang up we have a solid plan to change the world, but mostly it is just stuff that has bothered us the past few days or sharing little life hacks with each other, like the flick key option on the iPad. As a Design Strategist, it’s my job to analyse, improve and create new products and services, so it makes sense that my ‘idea muscle’ should be exercised as much as possible. As exciting as my job may sound on paper, in reality, the work is often less about inventing new things and more about improving pre-existing digital products. However, once a week, I get to dream a bit and keep that idea muscle in shape…
Without further ado here are the five pitches my lucky little brother got to hear this weekend:
Travelling for work sounds way more glamorous than it actually is. Waiting in queues, checking in, going through security, more waiting, finally getting to the gate, and, yes, more waiting. Then, getting fed up with it all and deciding to take the train instead of the plane, because you think you can use the time to get work done…but, of course, the wifi doesn’t work. Not to mention all the preparations involved beforehand to book an affordable hotel, find a decently priced flight at a humane departure time and then figuring out what your evening plans are in a city you don’t know and don’t have the time to explore. Travelperk does a pretty good job of the whole booking part, but what about everything else? How might we reinvent business travel?
When I first moved to Berlin, I didn’t have a washing machine and took my washing to a semi-satisfactory laundromat every week or so. It was a pain; the space wasn’t nice, it took me five visits to figure out where to pay, how to turn on the machine and I still haven’t figured out where the detergent is located. Each time I have managed to ask others if I could have a bit of theirs. Yesterday afternoon my work wife (who also made these lovely illustrations) and I started daydreaming about redesigning the whole laundromat experience. First and foremost making the detergent accessible, rethinking what to do while you wait, cool infographics on how to make those whites sparkly and clean again — all of course with super cool branding oooh and maybe even a coffee shop…. So if anyone knows of an old laundromat for sale in Berlin, call me!
I may be an Apple fangirl, but one thing I must admit is that I don’t really like using the podcast app. In fact, it actually stops me from listening to podcasts more often, and I actively avoid using the app. I currently use Spotify as a solution but more out of necessity rather than choice. Maybe I just haven’t found the perfect app yet, but perhaps it just doesn’t exist?! Is there a cool startup that wants to take that on and needs some user research by a potential power user? Or someone that wants to join us as at Goodpatch as a UI/UX designer and do that as their 20% project in combination with our podcast “Designer on Board”? (P.S if you want to know more about how we use our 80/20 rule bug us to write a blog post about it)
It’s on everyone’s mind and on their lips and was possibly the biggest buzzword last year — but somehow it’s still a black box for me: crypto. I would consider myself an adequately tech-savvy millennial and I know I have 0.014 of a bitcoin in a “wallet” somewhere. The password is probably long gone, and I wouldn’t know what to do with my one-thousandth of a coin anyway. However, the older and (somewhat) wiser I get, the more I think about saving, investing wisely and all that grown-up stuff. I have no idea where to start, and it would be great if there were an app/product/service that I could use to inform myself to begin to understand and invest in cryptocurrency. I know donut has something up their sleeve… still waiting for that. Anyone else?
This could just be a very Berlin problem, but I’ve been to five different spätis (you may be more familiar with the term “corner store” or “kiosk” depending on where you live) scattered around the 891.8 km² city to pick up parcels. Oh yes, this all during “working hours” I might add — as they are only open from 10 am to 4 pm. I’d love to collaborate with someone on a hardware and software product that is a hybrid of a nuki.io lock on a slick looking letterbox in front of your apartment that the delivery company can get a code to unlock and place your goods in it… This would be great for sharing keys to the apartment too… oh, this could be it! And remember this is a hyper-localised idea for Berlin especially, of course, our colleagues in Japan read this and think “how behind are they?!”
Before I let my mind run entirely out of control with an all-in-one laundromat with integrated 24/7 accessible letterboxes where you can book your business trips and get consulted on your cryptocurrencies all while listening to the hottest podcasts, I am going to let you give the 5 ideas a week method a try. Oh yes, and a repeating calendar invite with one of your siblings or colleagues will help you make you stick to it.
Let me know what you come up with, maybe we can work on one of the ideas together! :)
The amazing illustrations were done by Cécile Dosol.
Monica Ray Scott
Monica Ray Scott