How To Find Great Business Ideas From All Over The World

Mickey's brainYouTube/Mickey HartGrateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart’s brain via an EEG headset

This post is part of the “Future of Business” series, which examines how cutting-edge technologies are rapidly reshaping our world, from how businesses run to how we live. “The Future of Business” is sponsored by SAP. More in the series »

Do you want to start a company or come up with that genius idea for your current company?

Of course you do.

But if it was easy to come up with the Next Big Thing, we would all do it. So here’s a secret. There are two websites created by the same guy, Reinier Evers, that have some 17,000 thousand people worldwide scouring the world for the coolest, most creative business ideas and reporting on them for all to see and be inspired: Springwise and trendwatching.com.

For instance:

  • Former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart is using a mind-reading EEG headset to create thought-controlled visuals and music for his Superorganism tour.
  • A clothing designer Elizabeth Fraguada, founder of the Jorge & Esther studio, has created a collection of clothing that embeds LED lights into the fabric (like colour or cuff) and these lights can change colour via a smartphone app.

We recently caught up with Chris Kreinczes, managing director for the Springwise blog, to ask about the business of trend spotting.

Business Insider: Why have two sites that seem to do basically the same thing?

Chris Kreinczes: The companies are actually very different in what they do. Trendwatching.com focuses on trends, offering free monthly trend briefings and, as part of their Premium service, access to their Innovations Database, Industry Bulletins, Trend Reports and an Apply Toolkit.

Springwise differs in both its content and its delivery of that content. The site is designed as an online magazine for daily viewing, and we deliver free weekly and daily newsletters (170,000+ subscribers total). The content consists primarily of overviews of innovative startups (we feature three a day), and we offer an interview series with founders.

We also offer a service for professionals called Springwise Access, giving access to our database of over 4,000 innovative business ideas, a personalised homepage tailored to our clients interests, and bookmarking and folder sharing features.

BI: How many spotters/Trendwatchers do you have currently?

CK: There are now slightly over 15,000 Springspotters and 2,500 Happy Spotters (the trendwatching.com equivalent).

BI: Can anyone be a spotter/trendwatcher, or are these contract, trained, paid jobs?

CK: Anyone can sign up to be a Springspotter and they will be automatically accepted. To become a Happy Spotter, applicants must first meet certain criteria. Both sets of spotters can earn points for accepted spottings, redeemable in our gift galleries.

BI: In 2013, what would you say are the big tech trends that define the year so far?

CK: According to the trendwatching.com team, a tech trend we highlighted last December as being key for 2013 was “Mobile Moments,” how consumers would look to their mobile devices to maximise every single moment.

We’ve since seen an explosion of innovations that tap into micro pockets of time, from the boom in mini video sharing (including Vine and Instagram), to the high adoption of ephemeral messaging platforms such as SnapChat or Frankly.

Another trend that broke from the lab and into the consumer market was what we call “Emotive Tech,” technologies that read and respond to emotions. It is a strand of the larger trend of “Intuitive Interfaces” where devices are designed to be natural, and therefore more pleasant, to use.

An example of Emotive Tech would be the Japanese-developed Mico headset, a pair of headphones that measures the wearer’s brainwaves and selects music to fit their mood. Another is the recently funded Kickstarter project PIP, a stress detecting biosensor that helps users relax through gameplay.

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