Inspiration

Creativity + Imagination + Smarts

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Taking a stroll through a subway station in France generates renewable power.

Each day for the last six months, approximately 5,000 people passed through the turnstiles of the Saint-Omer subway station in northern France. Chances are good that the vast majority of them were so focused on the minutiae of their daily lives—Respond to the boss’ email now from my smartphone or from my computer when I get to the office? Un café express or un noir at the corner coffee cart?—that they didn’t realize that by putting one foot in front of the other they were serving the greater good by producing clean, renewable energy.
In March, 14 flooring tiles from London-based clean-tech company Pavegen Systems were installed at the mass-transit depot. The tiles, each roughly 7 by 24 inches, generate renewable electricity from the otherwise wasted energy of footsteps. 
When a walker’s foot makes contact with the tile, it bends inappreciably, depressing an average of five millimeters each step and creating approximately seven watts of converted kinetic energy in the process. The slabs, made from 100 percent recycled rubber, can store energy for up to 72 hours via small built-in batteries.
The energy captured by the tiles at the Saint-Omer station has been used to power an LED bench lighting system and two USB ports installed in nearby benches, allowing commuters to charge their electronic devices as they wait for trains. 

Taking a stroll through a subway station in France generates renewable power.

Each day for the last six months, approximately 5,000 people passed through the turnstiles of the Saint-Omer subway station in northern France. Chances are good that the vast majority of them were so focused on the minutiae of their daily lives—Respond to the boss’ email now from my smartphone or from my computer when I get to the office? Un café express or un noir at the corner coffee cart?—that they didn’t realize that by putting one foot in front of the other they were serving the greater good by producing clean, renewable energy.

In March, 14 flooring tiles from London-based clean-tech company Pavegen Systems were installed at the mass-transit depot. The tiles, each roughly 7 by 24 inches, generate renewable electricity from the otherwise wasted energy of footsteps. 

When a walker’s foot makes contact with the tile, it bends inappreciably, depressing an average of five millimeters each step and creating approximately seven watts of converted kinetic energy in the process. The slabs, made from 100 percent recycled rubber, can store energy for up to 72 hours via small built-in batteries.

The energy captured by the tiles at the Saint-Omer station has been used to power an LED bench lighting system and two USB ports installed in nearby benches, allowing commuters to charge their electronic devices as they wait for trains.

 

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Randomised Coffee Trials - Institutionalising Serendipity

Inspired by Pedro Medina’s discussion of serendipity*, Nesta’s Randomised Coffee Trials (RCT) initiative responds to Pedro’s dual challenge of appreciating the benefits of serendipity and the need to ‘build new fishing systems**.

Nesta staff that have opted-in are sent a weekly randomised match with another Nesta staff member and the two are invited to grab a coffee together. There are no requirements or obligations regarding the topics discussed, some RCTs are spent entirely on work-related matters, others are entirely personal in nature.

It is just a coffee, but at the same time it is much more. RCTs give staff from across the organisation an ‘excuse’, an opportunity to meet, catch up and build connections with the people around them. This has resulted in staff from different departments learning about unexpected synergies between their work, as well as created an increased level of comfort for subsequently approaching others regarding potential collaborations.

RCTs create an institutionalized space for serendipity. The randomised coffee breaks allow people to break with their daily routine, make new connections and strengthen existing ones.

(Source: addtoany.com)

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The other shock to the Greeks would be our common view of ethics as merely a determination of wrong from right. For them, ethics was about cultivating one’s ideals into a positive and fruitful reality. In other words, ethics was about how to live life to its fullest potential. If the ancient Greeks ran corporations today they would have a chief philosopher sitting at the boardroom table advising on how to strategically guide the corporation toward greater health and well-being.
Is ethics the saviour of branding?

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Some people will hate you the minute you put your head above the parapet – women are attacked 10 times more than men. Twitter trolls will try to take you down. Most women – the sympathetic ones – have thinner skins than most men; but you can care too much what others think. The only cure is ganging up with other women and defending one another, drawing strength in numbers. Women’s friendships see them through – something competitive men are often bad at.
How to be a confident girl, by Polly Toynbee in the Guardian (via adaslist)

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So in considering why women suffer a huge penalty for taking time off after having kids, it may be time to ask not just whether or not they can find sufficient childcare but why men just don’t seem to have this problem. And instead of asking why women are taking lower-paying jobs than men, the question is why women, who clearly are getting more educated than men right now, are still staying out of math classes.
How not to close the gender pay gap by Danielle Kurtzleben in Vox (via adaslist)

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The first is a general error, not specific or limited to the tech industry: if you want to persuade a woman that her work is compatible with having a family, the first thing you must accept is that it’s none of your business whether she wants a family or not. A company that could take a woman as they would a man – someone who may have people they care about more than their job, and who will have to be accommodated, but may also bring benefits to the employer – would illustrate that by not referencing her ovaries at all.

Freezing women’s eggs? The tech industry isn’t modern, it’s Neanderthal, The Guardian.