Biodegradable bags

Avani is a sоcial enterprise that is based in Bali, Indоnesia that produces products made from renewable resоurces. The most popular product is the bags made from cassava—an edible tropical root that is cheap and abundant in Indonesia—with the words “I AM NOT PLASTIC” on them. About three tonnes of their bags are produced a day at their Java factory and sold to businesses including shops and hotel groups, mostly in Bali and across Indonesia, but also to a growing number of companies abroad. https://spinoff.com/avani

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The first bionic kidney- replacing the need for dialysis

Scientists from the University of California have created the first bionic kidney that can replace damaged kidneys. This kidney is a perfect replica for a human kidney and should save millions of lives. The bionic kidney can be put into the human body by plain surgery and so far it has been shown to work effectively with everyone. It filtrates toxins from the blood in the same way as human kidneys. www.tehvibes.com/technology/by-2019-the-first-bionic-kidney-will-discard-the-need-for-dialysis/

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Using data to win elections

A US designed software system called i360 that was critical in delivering successes for Donald Trump in key swing states was also used successfully by the South Australian Liberal Party last month. People say it was critical in their winning for the first time in 16 years. i360’s comprehensive data capability is a combination of hard data points and predictive modeling. It allows you to reach your target audience anywhere they consume media. Using their system you can focus on getting the right message to the right voter wherever that may be. http://i-360.com

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Turning pollution into ink

Graviky Labs, has developed a system to collect soot from exhaust pipes and convert it to ink or paint for artists. The unit captures up to 95% of the particular matter pollution without inducing back-pressure on the engines. It’s designed with heat and water-proof electronics and materials. You can contact Graviky if you are interested in customizing KAALINK™ for other use-cases, or air pollution capture through fossil-fuel sources. www.graviky.com/kaalink.html

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A nerve implant to control pain that doesn’t require surgery

The 6.5-millimeter-long programmable implant can receive both power and data via ultrasound through more than 10.5 centimeters of tissue. Because of its versatility and small size it could be injected through a needle rather than require surgery. Scientists envision that it will greatly expand the number of conditions treated with electrical stimulation of the body’s nerves. So far, most of those treatments have focused on stimulating spinal nerves for controlling pain and the vagus nerve for epilepsy and depression. Non-drug treatments using nerve stimulators can be transformative for many patients. A nerve stimulator that could be implanted with minimally invasive surgery, or simply be injected, would allow nerve stimulation treatments to reach 100-fold more patients. Animal testing to prove the project is planned soon. https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-human-os/biomedical/bionics/ultrasoundpowered-injectable-nerve-implant-works-deep-in-body?

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The world’s first electrified road

This month Sweden unveiled the world’s first publicly-accessible electrified road, capable of charging electric vehicles while they drive on it. It works with a rail embedded in the road. Electric vehicles have a connector that goes down in two tracks in this rail to pick up the electricity. The system is able to calculate the vehicle’s energy consumption, which enables electricity costs to be debited per vehicle and user. The pilot project stretches two kilometres along a public road just outside of Stockholm, near Arlanda Airport. The Swedish government has outlined plans for a national grid of electrified roads across the country.  http://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-monday-full-episode-1.4621483/electric-avenue-sweden-builds-a-road-that-charges-your-vehicle-while-you-drive-1.4621485

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An active kids voucher

The NSW Government is helping kids get active with the new Active Kids program. Parents, guardians and carers can apply for a voucher valued up to $100 per calendar year for each student enrolled in school. The voucher may be used with a registered activity provider for registration, participation and membership costs for sport, fitness and active recreation activities. The idea was mentioned as part of a briefing by the NSW Treasurer to the Sydney Financial Forum today. https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/apply-active-kids-voucher

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The best source of innovation is with your staff!

IdeaSpies Enterprise

According to David Thodey AO, Chair CSIRO “the best source of innovation is with your staff – they know the business and how to improve it”.  Staff at all levels who are creative can contribute useful ideas. We all have choices about how much thought and time we put into something. When our ideas and suggestions are not adequately considered we just seek to contribute elsewhere. IdeaSpies Enterprise is a new, fun and effective idea capture tool that’s designed to encourage ideas from staff. It’s been successfully trialled by KPMG Greater Western Sydney and was launched last month. Introductory pricing for initial subscribers ends on June 30 2018. www.IdeaSpies.com/Enterprise

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Facebook Plus as a paid subscription?

What if there was a way you could pay to remove the targeted ads from Facebook, stop it from tracking everything you do and make your data more secure? Currently “we don’t pay for the product because we are the product”. Our data has been collected and is now used to influence us in many ways. A paid product could give us the sharing advantages we originally liked in Facebook without the disadvantages of lack of privacy. www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/04/05/what-if-we-paid-for-facebook-instead-of-letting-it-spy-on-us-for-free/

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Small Business trends to look out for in 2018

Australian businesses are facing an onslaught of international competitors vying for market share at the expense of local small businesses.  Technology has had a large impact on businesses, allowing for innovation with new advances or face being left behind with possible closure. The rise of the sharing economy such as Amazon, Uber and AirTasker has disrupted the traditional structure of businesses in terms of price, location and choice. To globalise your business and open your market, all businesses, small and large should have an E-commerce setup and rethink the size and purpose of their ‘brick and mortar’ formats. While this will require significant investments in IT, the returns will be recouped through increased sales and possibly greater margins. Marketing personalisation using enhanced customer relationship management programs will assist in tailoring messages for your customers, using click segmentation to assist in retention and sales growth. As we move towards originality, the days of using stock images, generic electronic database emails and impersonal calls will no longer cut it. Consumers are looking for original and authentic content, particularly if your business operates solely online. Social media advertising presents a new way to connect with your audience in a timely and relevant manner which has reduced media spend in traditional outlets such as TV and PRINT.  The move to digital E-commerce poses risks and, as time goes by, the sophistication of IT hacks and attacks will become more prevalent. Customers are largely unforgiving of data breaches and so trust will be paramount in ensuring emails aren’t considered spam messages. According to Symantec, 5,000 spam messages are sent per person each year, meaning malware could infect unsuspecting users for bank information and personal details resulting in identity theft.  The modern workplace will also contribute to the way employers and employees interact with each other and the way they get on about doing their work. Businesses will become smarter in how they use workplace space to drive productivity, install new technology and improve motivation. While highly divisive, the evolving formats of “remote workplaces” is set to expand despite employees finding it more productive to be in a workplace environment.   One of the most important times of the year is the Federal Government Budget handed down every year in May. Following international policy trends and Australian Government initiatives businesses should keep an eye out on new policy decisions including asset write-off programs, discussion around lowering corporate tax rates and reducing State and Federal business red tape.  To hear more about these ideas or developments, the Australian Small Business Champions Conference is being held at The Star, Sydney between April 21-22, 2018.  It will connect Australia’s leading experts across various business sectors to share insights to help business “Grow, Shape & Plan” taking their small businesses to the next level.  For more information and special IdeaSpies pricing – click on the link below:  https://championsconference.com.au/register John Wanna – Taurus Marketing

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A small business offer for IdeaSpies

The Australian Small Business Champions Conference is a one of a kind, yearly event where small business owners can come together to receive advice from some of Australia’s leading experts across a range of fields. It brings in experts in growing small business and people who have real, on the ground experiences from which all small business owners can learn. It’s being held 21-22 April at the Star in Sydney and, as a follower of IdeaSpies, you can receive this very special offer to attend for 2 days at $160. https://championsconference.com.au/register

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The focus is now on Employee Experience (EX)

There are now signs that employee experience (EX) is the next priority for organisations, following the major emphasis on customer experience (CX). This is good news for staff! While CX is the sum of all interactions a customer has with a company, EX is the sum of everything an employee experiences throughout his or her connection with an organisation. Innovative leaders and HR teams are thinking beyond staff satisfaction and employee engagement to look at the entire employee experience. Successful organisations offer better employee experiences that attract better staff and keep them engaged.  They proactively design and manage EX, not just respond to annual staff engagement surveys. A key result is better customer service- a virtuous circle. Consumerism is now part of the recruiting process. Just as customers can choose from a variety of brands based on reviews they can search on the web, employees can also use online resources to choose potential employers. Websites such as Glassdoor make it much easier for prospective employees to assess the EX at a company they’re considering. We are now in a very competitive environment where the best people are in increasing demand. They are less likely to want to work in organisations where they are not valued and don’t have a voice to influence outcomes. Instead they want to work in organisations that value innovation and the role that they can play in it. According to a Gallup Report the percentage of adults who work full time for an employer and are engaged at work — they are highly involved in and enthusiastic about their work and workplace — is just 15% worldwide. While this is a problem it’s also a huge opportunity- business units in the top quartile of Gallup’s global employee engagement database are 17% more productive and 21% more profitable than those in the bottom quartile. How EX can be improved EX should be considered as a strategic priority by Management and Boards. Deloitte suggests that the EX journey in organisations can be mapped, perhaps using design thinking, just has been done for CX. Ford is an example of a company focussing on innovation, including CX and EX. Some suggestions to improve EX are to take a holistic view: define purpose; recruit staff that suit the organisation culture; provide staff development that suits their needs; move people more often; offer continuous feedback; consider work/life balance with flexible work options; review workplace design; hackathons; invest in an idea capture tool that gives people at all levels a voice in contributing ideas; and ensure leaders are well trained so they are receptive to suggestions and ideas as well as to developing their staff. In sum More and more people want to work in an innovative culture where work has meaning, brands have genuine value and new thinking leads to useful ideas being implemented. Purpose and passion are now the lifeblood of a successful organisation. There is a significant opportunity to increase employee engagement through EX. Organisations with innovative cultures embracing new thinking such as EX are the most likely to succeed. Innovation should involve all people in an organisation, not just a select few. IdeaSpies Enterprise is a new, fun and effective idea capture tool that’s designed to encourage ideas from staff. It’s been successfully trialled by KPMG Greater Western Sydney and was launched this month at Ashurst, a leading international law firm. You can see a video that shows how it works here. Lynn Wood – Chief Idea Spy

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