Random Business Ideas

Tinder for Food – Tired of searching endless menus for something to eat? I bet a lot of people are too. Here’s an app idea: Have the user select their favorite foods, cuisines, stuff they don’t like, etc. – then show them a single image with a description from local places. Swipe right to order it. If they reject it, ask why to collect data for better suggestions.

Zillow meets Waze – Imagine getting real-time tracking of pedestrian foot traffic to see which areas are getting more popular. Place some cameras on street corners to count pedestrians. The data can be anonymized so there won’t be privacy issues. Commercial real-estate companies can get a better sense the market and businesses can identify ideal locations for new locations.

Virtual Reality Snacks – Snacking in virtual reality might require snacks in a different format since players definitely won’t be seeing what their eating. The snacks should be easy to eat and grab a hold of.

 

Advertisements

Future Restaurant Concepts

I love food and I love technology so these are some fun restaurant concepts I thought up:

Virtual Restaurant 1 – You heat up a frozen meal at home, pop on your VR set, and voila! Instead of seeing a soggy meatloaf, you’re sitting at the Ritz, wearing a tuxedo, surrounded by beautiful people, eating your soggy meatloaf (except your brain thinks its a delicious looking meatloaf!).

Virtual Restaurant 2 – Every surface is a video screen. One day the place looks like you’re in a balloon floating up to space, the next day you’re in a submarine. A scent machine can add nuance and depth to the experience. No two meals would feel quite the same.

Rx-staurant – You’ve been tracking your health for months by monitoring your activity and diet. Now you want to go further. You start using a health diagnostic kit to learn more about your health on a cellular level. Link up your data to Rx-staurant so they can customize a menu for your exact needs. The meal will provide the ideal number of calories and proper nutrition to counter any vitamin or mineral deficiencies you may have at the moment. Plus, they’ll tailor the meal depending on whether you need to relax, focus, or train for a marathon.

Mr. Roboto – Thank you very much, Mr. Roboto for doing the jobs that nobody wants to. Fully autonomous kitchens and restaurants. Its partly for convenience, partly for show. Everything is customized to order and you see the progress as robot cooks whip up your meal. No human error (except yours). No strange hairs in your food. And the latest sensors will detect any impurities or harmful bacteria before anything can spread. Perhaps the mall food court will become a series of robotic food factories.

Table to Farm – A service that brings you to the farm where they prepare food that has been picked within minutes of cooking. Eat until your heart is content. Then spread out and watch a movie in a self-driving van that will take you back home.

Urban Farm to Table – Look for mostly autonomous robotic farms to be built in densely populated cities. Restaurants will have access to these hyper local foods.

Drones to Go – Hungry? Stuck in traffic? Order food on your mobile app and the delivery drone will track you down and drop the meal in your hands no matter where you are. That 500 car autonomous vehicle pile up is gonna take a while to clean up. But at least you’re not hungry anymore.

If you like any of them or have other ideas, let me know.

@MikeVidikan

Six Ways the Internet of Things Could Impact DFW in 2016

Dallas Skyline

Check out my latest article over at Dallas Innovates, “an online news platform promoting the region as a hub of innovation.”

The Internet of Things will impact our lives in the future, but I wanted to explore some ways it can impact our lives right now. I highlight some opportunities for businesses in healthcare, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, retail, energy and utilities, and real estate (office buildings).

There’s something here for everyone: http://www.dallasinnovates.com/six-ways-the-internet-of-things-could-impact-dfw-in-2016/

Make People Happy, Make More Money in 2016

Making customers happy is good business, but many companies fail to connect the innovation process with increasing the happiness of their customers. The next time you call a meeting to come up with some new product ideas, try out one of these simple ideation exercises:

1. Think of a small (or big) way to make people happier.

I was at Star Wars last week and there were a LOT of happy people. And rightfully so. They were tremendously entertained at an IMAX 3D screening. As I watched the previews, I wondered whether I really wanted to see every one of those movies or whether I just wanted to live inside the IMAX theater. After further consideration, I think it was the latter. IMAX has found a way to differentiate itself from run of the mill movie theaters and I think their business is not really about better projection and sound technology, its about making people happier. For IMAX, each advance in technology that can bring greater pleasure to audiences could lead to an extra upcharge.

The exercise: Create a box with four quadrants. The vertical axis will be “difficulty to implement” and the horizontal axis will be “cost.” Now write a list of all the easy, hard, and crazy ways you could make your customers happier and plot them on the axes. Consider how to make people who aren’t your customers happy, too (for example, your customer’s children). Which of these will increase customer acquisition and retention? Could you charge extra for any of these services?

2. Help your customers share what makes them happy.

Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook have been successful because they let people share what makes them happy. In addition to sharing pictures and videos, consumers also like sharing their feedback and insights. In 2014, Domino’s in Australia introduced “Pizza Mogul,” an app that let consumers design their own pizzas, share them on social networks, and then get paid a commission every time someone clicked and ordered that pizza. In the first six months of the campaign, 55,000 “moguls” created 160,000 different pizzas. Your might want to consider a mechanism to help your customers express themselves.

The exercise: Look at your website and marketing materials. List all the ways you could make it easier for people to share what they like about your products and services. Discuss new ways to create shareable happy moments for your customers. Outline a contest that could encourage people to share their designs, feedback, and ideas with you.

3. Think of a way to help people relieve stress and anxiety.

I was at Baylor hospital recently for a family member who was undergoing surgery. The hospital had a variety of services and processes in place to reduce my anxiety, including free valet parking that eased my arrival, ample comfortable seating in the waiting area, free coffee and snacks, strong enough WiFi to watch streaming movies during the long down time, and regular patient updates to reduce my concerns. While I wasn’t the patient, the hospital recognized that I was an important part of equation and relieving my stress and anxiety would make me more likely to use and recommend them in the future. From the classroom to the workplace, more people are reporting higher levels of stress. While relieving stress and increasing happiness aren’t exactly the same thing, one can lead to the other. You should consider the ways you could relieve stress and anxiety for your customers.

The exercise: Write out your entire sales cycle on a timeline and identify each area your customer might experience stress before, during, and after the sale. Don’t forget about all the people associated with the customer that might feel stress, too. Now think about how you could go about reducing and relieving stress in all those situations.

The Bottom Line

Too many professionals lose sight of the human component of business and don’t spend enough time thinking about the people behind the transactions. Make people a little happier and you might find yourself a little bit wealthier.

Charging Stations for the Homeless

Why charging stations for the homeless?

image: Derek Mindler (flickr)

image: Derek Mindler (flickr)

“62 percent of homeless youth own a cell phone. 51 percent use cell phones stay connected to friends from home and 41 percent connect to their parents, and 36 percent use the phone to call current or potential employers,” according to a study published in the Journal of Urban Health.

Without a physical mailing address, a mobile phone becomes the sole means of connection to the outside world. The homeless use mobile phones to get updates about shelters, meals, and jobs.

A mobile phone enables communication and even commerce. But minutes and data are expensive, and without a permanent address, a simple task like charging becomes difficult.

“And connections enabled by mobile devices can give disenfranchised populations a sense of community while they work to rebuild. A cell phone offers a cheap way to communicate, and even a very basic Internet access can connect them to a wealth of information and resources. On a larger scale, a mobile device is a tether between a homeless person and the larger fabric of society, keeping them from falling into the pale and completely in the margins,” writes Margaret Rock, managing editor of 2machines.

Providing a solution to mobile charging for the homeless may not seem like a direct path to profits, but companies might want to consider how such a solution could positively impact their bottom lines by selling the solution in developing countries where consumers face similar challenges.