But what about the “simpler” (read, “ridiculous”) ideas the rest of us may have?
For May, I thought we might explore some ideas that may not be as scientifically intriguing, but interesting nonetheless. Who knows, one of them just might show up on a 3 a.m. infomercial.
1. Song lyrics that scroll across your car’s digital screen, or as I like to call it, Car-aoke.
We know it can be done, so why aren’t car stereo companies installing this handy service? When is the last time you sat side-by-side at a stoplight and heard the person next door singing along with Elton John, “Hold Me Closer Tony Danza,” instead of Tiny Dancer? Or, you heard that Creedence Clearwater Revival classic “There’s a Bathroom on the Right” (instead of “There’s a Bad Moon on the Rise”)? Think about how much louder car singers would sing with the confidence of actually knowing the lyrics.
2. Useful tattoos.
No offense to tattoo lovers and their artists, but I just don’t understand some of the artwork. I’m sure current tattoo artists would do whatever I asked them to do, but I’m all about niche marketing. So what about a tattoo shop that could put a little ink in a discreet place listing my daily medication, or my wedding anniversary date, my allergies, or my computer password. As a value-added bonus, they could use invisible ink that could only be seen under a black light.
3. Exterior message boards for vehicles.
I’ve always thought it would be handy to be able to message the car next to you. Teenage spring breakers would be the best market for a digital sign to say to the car next door “What’s your name/number … we’ll text you.” When traveling, you could learn from locals about the best restaurants. And, of course, there would be a list feature programmed for all those nice messages you’d like to give the person who just cut in front of you, ran a light or who was driving 20 miles below the speed limit.
4. Invisible footprints. Yes, I’m a middle-aged guy, and yes I sometimes set forth on a mission within my own home to do or get something, get distracted, and totally forget where I was going. What’s always the advice? “Retrace your steps.” Short-lasting, invisible footprints would easily take you back to the place where you decided you would take out the trash, only to be distracted by opening the mail/grabbing a soda/looking out the window and totally forgetting to take out the trash. The invisible prints could be seen by black light (see item No. 2).
5. Shampoo infused with hair dye. Remember when you noticed that first gray hair? Didn’t you freak out and wonder exactly how “Grecian Formula” works? Mixing a little hair dye into shampoo products seems like such a natural product. You control the amount, and it’s less of a mess than those spray can products. If scientists can coat our body’s cells for disease immunity, surely they can figure out how to keep our hair a little darker. Oh, dye-resistant shower coatings would be sold extra.
6. Candy covered (or infused) medicine.
Why in the world is Ex-Lax the only company that’s ever thought of this? I’ve watched people take those huge horse pills long enough (and had one or two myself). Medicine. Chocolate. Quicker recovery. Lower health care costs. No brainer.
7. Last, but not least, monogrammed socks.
This innovation could solve a problem that is currently at epidemic proportions, particularly among men. We’re not targeting the color blind among us at all. This is for the average person getting dressed in dim lighting, or who just doesn’t care. How difficult would it be to monogram a small fluorescent color label at the top of a sock? This actually might spawn a whole new line of products for the sartorially challenged.
We hope you enjoyed our look at some of the simpler ideas for innovation. The saying goes, “Invention is the mother of necessity.” We need them all.
*Disclaimer: Please read this article with your tongue planted firmly in cheek. We realize there could be immediate danger involved with some of these inventions. If you’d like to discuss your ridiculous, or not so ridiculous, idea for innovation, give us a call.
Terry Reeves is the concierge for EntrePaducah, a joint effort by Paducah and McCracken County governments, the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce and Paducah Economic Development to foster small-business growth. Contact him at 270-443-1746 or firstname.lastname@example.org.