A few months ago we decided to create Awesome Newcastle, a local chapter of the global Awesome Foundation. We’re about being useful and moving the needle and it just felt right. Last night Awesome Newcastle awarded its first no-strings-attached $1,000 grant.
Here’s what we’ve been up to. We called for board member applications and assembled an accomplished board who couldn’t wait to give up their own time and money every month. We have nine regular board members and keep a guest position open every month. Then we registered Awesome Newcastle as a chapter of the global Awesome Foundation. The Awesome Foundation was created in 2009 and has provided over $1.5m in grants via over 100 global chapters.
There are no strings attached and Awesome Newcastle takes nothing in return (just good vibes). This is about paying it forward and helping make awesome happen.
Everyone in the Village works on Awesome Newcastle and helps it grow. We now have a forward-thinking board, we’re receiving applications from people making an impact, we have the satisfaction of paying it forward every month, and as an agency we get to nurture and grow the foundation along the way.
Thank you to the board members, applicants and supporters. Awesome Newcastle’s had an awesome start. We can’t wait to see where it goes next.
Subaru’s been building cars in zero landfill plants for a decade. In 2004, Subaru became the first automotive assembly plant in North America designated as zero landfill. A zero landfill plant means 100% of manufacturing waste is either recycled or turned into electricity. This means that since May 2004, Subaru’s manufacturing plants have not sent any waste to landfills.
In a monumental mission of environmental stewardship, Subaru recently announced it is sharing its knowledge of zero landfill practices with the National Park Service to reduce landfill waste from national parks across the United States. Subaru’s team will test zero landfill practices in three iconic national parks – Yosemite, Grand Teton and Denali – working toward an end goal of zero landfill from all national parks.
In 2013, the National Park Service managed more than 100 million pounds of waste nationally. Much of this waste was generated in the parks by its 273.6 million visitors. That amount of waste would normally require 20 million household garbage bags, which if laid end-to-end would stretch from New York City to Los Angeles and back again. Twice.
Volkswagen Netherlands aired a TV ad in April this year, in which VW owners had big expectations for their other possessions. The ad featured a mother who couldn’t understand why baby strollers don’t have automatic braking.
After VW posted the ad on Facebook, the most liked comment suggested that VW build such a stroller. A stroller that could miraculously brake automatically, just like in the ad.
And so VW did. In this film, what began as a joke in a TV ad becomes a real-world prototype in a matter of months. While they were at it, the automaker’s engineers took the opportunity to improve on the idea. They made the stroller smarter, such that it not only brakes automatically but also keeps a distance automatically. This was made possible by including the adaptive cruise control sensor from the current model VW Golf.
The mission of Pedigree Found is to help find missing dogs by moving faster than a dog can. Dog owners register their pet on the Found app, and if their best friend goes missing, they can immediately send out a missing dog ad to everyone online in the area – free. The app utilises Google’s ad network to target people online in the area with missing dog ads and also alerts other local Found app users. Found helps the user get plenty of people looking out for their dog in real-time, and anyone who spots the missing dog can alert the owner immediately as to their whereabouts. There’s also a search function, so if a Found user spots a dog that looks lost they can check if it’s been listed as missing.
Volvo LifePaint aims to make cyclists easier to see at night. An invisible reflective spray that glows under the glare of a car’s headlights, the “paint” is transparent and makes no noticeable difference to the feel of material it’s sprayed on. Lasting for around one week once applied, LifePaint can be sprayed on bicycles, clothing, helmets, bags and shoes. LifePaint turns to a hot white glow in front of headlights, making cyclists (and pedestrians and potentially pets) easier to see at night.
This fantastic innovation in safety is part of Volvo’s 2020 Vision, the goal of which is to have no serious injuries or fatalities involving new Volvo vehicles by the year 2020.
Serious problems, particularly medical related problems need to be solved with serious advertising right? Well, not so much. The new television ad for Tena Men proves that the use of humour even for the treatment of the particularly unfunny condition of incontinence can be appropriate and powerful.
This ad by AMV London uses a series of superbly crafted and executed scenarios to explain to men suffering with incontinence that Tena is the way to maintain their control.
IBM’s Cognitive Cooking Food Truck is a recent demonstration of IBM’s “big data” cognitive computing technology. Known simply as Watson, IBM’s cognitive computing technology understands information more like a human than a computer. Watson is best known for an impressive 2011 triumph over his human competitors on quiz show ‘Jeopardy’.
IBM’s research team recently applied this humanised way of comprehending data to cooking. The mission was to create never-before-imagined dishes by pairing unlikely ingredients and methods. IBM’s approach was to draw upon a number of datasets – regional and cultural knowledge as well as statistical, molecular and food-pairing theories. IBM was looking to create “dishes high in surprise and pleasantness” by crunching big data.
The cognitive cooking process began by capturing and analysing tens of thousands of existing recipes to understand ingredient pairings and dish composition, which the system used to create innovative new recipes. Watson cross-referenced these new recipes with data on the flavour compounds found in ingredients, and the psychology of people’s likes and dislikes, to determine how the regular human tongue would respond to different flavour combinations. Amazingly complex and amazingly clever.
Dishes created by Cognitive Cooking and made available from the Cognitive Cooking Food Truck included Indian Turmeric Paella, Baltic Apple Pie & Ecuadorian Strawberry Dessert.
We love that quintillions of possibilities and a battalion of computational algorithms resulted in a food truck dishing out an apple pie with a totally awesome and unexpected taste. Now that’s how you humanise technology.
Be My Eyes is an iPhone app that connects visually-impaired people with volunteer helpers from around the world.
Visually-impaired people use the camera on their mobile device to shoot live video of whatever it is they need help distinguishing or reading. The challenge could be anything from knowing the expiry date on milk to navigating new surroundings. Sighted volunteer helpers receive a notification for help and a video connection is established. From the live video the volunteer can help the visually-impaired person solve their problem.
The app is open source, which means the source code has been made freely available and may be redistributed and modified.
Online life insurance company Beagle Street wants to make taking out life insurance a more positive experience, and while they’re at it, ensure customers’ important policy documents aren’t lost. Positive Prints is a limited edition art series by noted artists with a customer’s life insurance policy printed on the back. They’re designed to be hung in the home or given to a loved one so customers and their families can easily find their policies if they need them. Policies are also stored online for 24/7 access. We like the thinking and positivity.
Wow! Thank you to our clients and partners for helping us win three awards at the 2014 Newi Awards for Digital Creativity. The Newi Awards “showcase the best work in technology, advertising, design and communications”. We were absolutely stoked to win:
Usefulness is the Gandhi of the business world – gentle but powerful. The great companies like Apple, Google and Unilever constantly ask themselves “how can we be more useful?” We help clients explore their inner useful so they can achieve outstanding results. What we do