VegFest London 2016

I should probably start by saying… I’m not a vegan (despite having been to two vegan festivals in different countries in October!) I do have a few close friends/flatmates that adhere to that lifestyle and I’m quite health-conscious and sustainability-minded. But my favourite thing about the vegan community is their innovative and inventive spirit. Plenty of small business owners I met today said, “no one was meeting my needs, so I decided to make it for myself and others.” Who knew you could make blue cheese from cashew nuts? Or filling tacos using jack fruit?

Here are my top discoveries from today’s adventure:

1 . Black Seaweed Pearls (aka Vegan Beluga Caviar) from Cavia.

caviar

2. Hazelnut & Carob Spread (tastes exactly like Nutella, but has only 3 ingredients) from Nutural World. 

3. Organic Chufa de Valencia Tiger Nuts from The Tigernut Company . What on earth is a tiger nut? That was my question as well! It’s not actually a nut, it’s a small root vegetable, grown in a field and harvested in pretty much the same way as a potato. Known in Spain as the ‘Chufa, it’s a super little tuber, nutrient dense and packed with superfood qualities.

4. Soap Nuts by Living Naturally. It’s the 100% natural hypoallergenic alternative to laundry detergent. Clothes also come out soft and fresh, so no need for scent boosters or fabric softeners!

And for the branding – I’ve added:

5. Pepo Papa Pumpkin Seed Oil. This product screams ‘OCTOBER!’ and Autumn. A Hungarian-founded company just starting to get distribution in the UK.

pepo-papa_owler_20160229_165258_original

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RECTEE.com

While doing my Google SquaredOnline Program – I came up with an idea for a new digital disruptive business. My product is RECTEE – from merging the words Receipt and Guarantee. A place to digitally store important receipts and guarantees (for washing machines, etc.). It provides each user with a digital, searchable, and trackable database of their purchase and household product guarantees, so they don’t have to keep track of and physically store paper receipts and manuals in the house.

The main target audience is digital-first millennials that are taking on finances and housing responsibilities for the first time. My assumption is that this audience is dissatisfied with clutter and paper trails. Thus, the market opportunity is to digitise a service that has typically been only paper-based and to combine different paper trails for the end user.

The Consumer-Centric Planning:

Consumer Wants – comfort, convenience, and digital-first experiences

Consumer Fears – clutter, having to pay for repairs, wasting time to search for manuals/appliance model numbers/etc.

Consumer Needs – a way to hold manufacturing companies to their product guarantees and centralise all their main receipts/warranties

Open Innovation + Digital Catapult

I recently met some people form Digital Catapult UK. I was blown away by their core value of ‘open innovation’. The ‘openness’ comes comes with inherent risks and benefits that both sides must understand, but it is designed to encourage ‘serendipitous innovation’. In a world of patents and trademarks, they believe: “You can benefit from ideas that you do not own.”

He had a beautiful quote that I think describes what innovation teams within large organisations should do:

“We are here to start movements that will grow on their own. We are here to create self-sustained ripples.”

ABOUT Digital Catapult: a not-for-profit organization with a trading division. They have been tasked with a target of growing the British Economy. They started from scratch 18 months ago and are primarily funded by Government, but their goal is to have a third of their income come from the industry to balance out their dependency on any one body.

  • Industry needs to “bring challenges to them”
  • Connected to 2,500 innovators (new name for start-ups and entrepreneurs)
  • Digital Catapult run about 1-event per day and their target is innovators
  • They can also doo proof of concept/product prototyping
  • They are located in the R&D quarter (King’s Cross)

Their Innovation Focus is on how companies get value from their data (including secondary/tertiary value from data) in these four areas: 

  1. Personal data (Banking, browsing)
  2. Closed corporate data (banks, new value)
  3. Licensed data (Creative content, IP)
  4. Machine generated data (IOT)

You should check them out and their work in the UK innovation space!

Today’s agenda: Coconut Pancakes and the Start-up community

If there are two things I like more than anything else: it’s breakfast and lists.

Today’s breakfast: Coconut Pancakes. Recipe here. 

Coconut Pancakes

Today’s list: 10 things I’ve learned from working with start-ups

  1. Start-ups exist in a COMMUNITY and the more you participate, the easier it gets to network and meet others in this community.
  2. Authenticity is needed for ‘commercially-minded corporates’ to successfully enter this sector
  3. An idea is worth nothing, but a company with actual products, strategy, and a team is worth something (potentially).
  4. The definition of a ‘start-up’ is impossible to pinpoint. And that’s never going to change.
  5. Corporates and start-ups are not enemies; they just don’t know how to speak to each other. It’s a classic lost-in-translation situation.
  6. Money is not the issue; execution of ideas and scaling up past ‘shiny new start-up’ is a problem.
  7. It’s a numbers game – the number of start-ups, investors, mentors, accelerators, brands, clients, etc.
  8. There are two types of people in this world: entrepreneurs and curious observer. Having or not having a start-up is NOT the defining characteristic. It comes down to personality – there are people who build and people who support.
  9. There are a lot of bad ideas, confused business plans, and inapplicable pieces of tech that have hundreds of thousands of pounds in investment funding. Again, how much money you’ve raised is secondary to the monetization strategy.
  10. Both breakfast and the start-up community involve a lot of coffee.

Samedi matin à la start-up.

Un peu “COMME UN BÂTEAU” (a bit of new french music)

Song by Indila. In her album Mini World.

Refrain: 

Un peu comme un bateau
J’avance face à la mer
Je navigue sur les flots
Un peu comme un bateau
J’avance et je suis fière
De ce que porte mon dos
Un peu comme un bateau
Qui trouve son équilibre
Entre les vagues et le chaos
Un peu comme un bateau
J’avance et je suis fière
De ce que porte mon dos
Un peu comme un bateau. 

Translation of the chorus: 

A bit like a boat
I’m pushing ahead against the sea
I’m sailing over the waves
A bit like a boat
I’m pushing ahead and I’m proud
of what I’m carrying on my back
A bit like a boat
which finds its balance
between waves and chaos
A bit like a boat
I’m pushing ahead and I’m proud
of what I’m carrying on my back
A bit like a boat

“What new music should I listen to?” … here’s your answer!

Everyone is look for new music, artists and songs to fall in love with. The problem is finding them (though Spotify has made it easier to discover new artists based on your past song choices).    But since sharing is caring, and since I love these upcoming three artists, I couldn’t resist blogging some suggestions. The music style for the following musicians is relaxed and chill, the perfect playlist for working at a coffee shop. 

1. Matt Corby – ‘Resolution’

Matt Corby is already a big, big, big deal in Australia. He’s branching out around the world, though I believe he is no where near his potential. The aspect that drew me to his music is the raw element of it – both in the guitar and the vocals. His most popular song is ‘Brother,’ so if you like this one, you should also check out that one. LISTEN TO ‘BROTHER’. 

2. Yuna – ‘Decorate’

Yuna is a Malaysian singer/songwriter that has described herself as “a cross between Mary Poppins and Coldplay.” Her music is wonderfully cheerful as well as not being to hyper. Her most popular song is ‘Lullabies,’ so if you like this one you should also check out that one. LISTEN TO ‘LULLABIES.’ 

3. Zee Avi – ‘Concrete Wall’ 

Zee Avi is also a Malaysian singer/songwriter. (Makes me want want to travel to that part of the world just for the music!) She is also very playful, like Yuna, with different musical instruments, including the ukulele. The song above is my favourite one of her, but she has multiple albums, so if you like ‘Concrete Wall,’ you should check her out! (I do really like ‘Bag of Gold’ as well.)

Happy Listening! 

A first attempt to export my animated film (on Piet Mondrian).

This is the first clip from my new animated short film about Abstract Paintings in Motion. It’s an artistic visualisation to original music by Pierre Tiberghien. This one is based on a painting by Mondrian, and there are two more videos to make in the series based on paintings by Kandinsky and Jackson Pollack. At 24 frames per second, this is taking longer than expected, but I always love a distant goal.

Also, I should warn you that the timing is off. I’m having difficulties with Adobe Flash on getting the animation to match the sound. Technology really is a love-hate relationship. More precisely… I love it when it works and hate it when it fails. In this case, it’s both.