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A clever way to encourage shopper patience

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This time of the year is very busy and it’s easy to be impatient, particularly when grocery shopping. The “L” sign in front of this young cashier at Harris Farm Markets Randwick is a clever way to encourage patience. If you choose her queue, as I did, your expectations are lower. It was a pleasant surprise when she exceeded expectations. I told her the sign reminded me of a joke my son made that I should put an “L” plate on my car so drivers behind me would not become impatient with my slow driving!

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GPS meal tracker

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The Coogee Pavilion restaurant, a large and crowded venue, uses a GPS tracker on the table number to find us and deliver our order. We sat back and relaxed a long way from where we placed our order knowing that the cheerful staff would find us using the meal tracker. A great customer – centric idea using technology.

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A giant panda solar farm

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Most solar farms align their solar arrays in rows and columns to form a grid. A new solar power plant in Datong China, decided to have a little fun with its design. China Merchants New Energy Group, one of the country’s largest clean energy operators, built a 248-acre solar farm in the shape of a giant panda. The project is part of a larger effort to raise awareness among young people in China about clean energy. http://www.businessinsider.com/china-panda-solar-power-plant-2017-7

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Energy independence at your home or office

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Rather than selling your solar power to the grid cheap and buying it back at a higher price, Redflow ZCell batteries let you store your own solar energy for when you need it. It gives you greater energy independence and keeps your lights on when grid power blacks out. Australia is the ideal place for energy storage in the home or business, with high energy costs, widespread solar panel deployment and rapidly disappearing government solar feed-in tariffs, and this tech was developed in Australia. www.redflow.com

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Biodegradable plastic voted 2017 best idea at Ashurst End of Year Boardroom Lunch

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Five ideas from IdeaSpies were presented by M&A lawyers in Mark Stanbridge’s team at the Ashurst December 2017 End of Year Boardroom Lunch. They were all winners at previous lunches during the year. The winning idea receiving the most votes from directors was C10H14N205+Co2 presented by Lee-Anne Yeo- biodegradeable plastic made from sugar and carbon dioxide. www.ideaspies.com/biodegradeable-plastic-voted-top-idea-at-ashurst-boardroom-lunch/

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A drug embedded with a digital tracker

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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first drug in the country that is embedded with a digital ingestion tracking system. Abilify MyCite features an ingestible sensor that records the fact the medication has been consumed. The pill has been approved for the treatment of schizophrenia, acute treatment of manic and mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder, and for depression in adults. https://www.springwise.com/fda-approves-first-drug-embedded-digital-tracker/

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An innovative Christmas Tree

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Brisbane City Council’s Open Innovation Process uses the collective wisdom of individuals, businesses (small and large), entrepreneurs, students, academics and council representatives to solve problems. This year participants were asked how they would power the iconic King George Square Christmas tree in Brisbane using sustainable, innovative technology for both the star and the decorations. Previously only the star was powered with solar. The solution by Lit-Pix uses 8000 programmed LED lights powered using solar panels on the new Santa Hut, allowing programmed lighting displays for all to enjoy. www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/about-council/governance-strategy/business-brisbane/business-events-awards/brisbane-innovate/open-innovation-process

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An off-road wheelchair

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The HexHog is an off-road wheelchair offering unprecedented access to extreme terrain including hills, mud, snow and shallow water. This battery powered machine offers the freedom to go places you wouldn’t have dreamed possible. It allows wheelchair users or those with limited dexterity to enjoy the countryside and back country wilderness. www.hexhog.com

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Floating buildings made of plastic bottles that withstand storms

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Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world when it comes to flooding, storms, and impact from sea level rise. An Amsterdam-based architecture firm called Waterstudio has come up with one possible solution: floating structures that can withstand storms made from thousands of discarded plastic bottles. http://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/11/these-floating-buildings-are-made-from-thousands-of-plastic-bottles

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Transparency in fashion retailing

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Online fashion retailer Everlane has focused on being transparent about its supply chain–including how much it costs to make each product. Its first physical store reflects this concept of transparency so there is no product in the windows. The brand is centered around people, and that is what you see when you look in. Also importantly Everlane has designed a point-of-sale system from scratch that creates a connection between your online profile and your shopping behavior in-store so your customer service is improved. https://www.fastcompany.com/40502731/everlanes-first-ever-physical-store-takes-radical-transparency-literally

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