Sometimes, the best inventions start with the smallest idea. Here are nine inspiring examples.
Joe Gebbia hit on an idea on how to earn a few extra bucks. He proposed to his roommate Brian that they should rent out a sleeping mat in their apartment to designers on the go, complete with a small desk space and wireless internet connection. What they didn’t know then, was that their idea would soon become Airbnb, an idea worth $25 billion.
In the beginning, the coffee chain Starbucks sold only roasted whole coffee beans and in fact no coffee in drinkable form. It was when Howard Schultz went on a trip to Milan he got the idea for upscale espresso cafes, just like in Italy. Today there are over 24,000 Starbucks in over 40 countries.
After a “daylong brainstorming session,” Jack Dorsey presented the idea to start an online messaging service with the ability to communicate in small groups. “Twttr” was started and first used internally. Today it goes by the name Twitter and has over 300 million active users every month.
The inkjet printer
When an engineer at Canon accidentally lay his soldering iron on an ink-filled syringe, an idea was born. Within a few days, he and his team had come up with the first inkjet printer – known as the Bubblejet.
When scientist Spencer Silver was working on creating a super strong adhesive, he had no success at all. His adhesive would only just stick to surfaces, but at the same time it didn’t leave any residue when removed. At first it seemed worthless, until a colleague came up with the idea of the post-it note, for which this adhesive was a perfect match.
Humans of Oslo
Since the original Humans of New York site was started in 2010, ‘Humans of…’ has become a global phenomenon. Short stories of people on the street put a human face to the myriad people who make a city tick. Humans of Oslo, founded by Iffit Qureshi in 2012, is one of the fastest-growing examples.
Froosh was founded in 2008 when the fresh and healthy takeout food and beverage trend was booming in the US and UK. The people at Froosh felt that the Nordic markets were ready for fresh smoothies, too. They started creating smoothies made purely from fresh fruit, without any preservatives or added sugar and distributed them in glass bottles, which are more environmentally friendly than plastic ones.
Selling fish to the Japanese for sushi may seem a daunting task, but the Norwegians have suceeded – big time. Beginning as Project Japan in the mid 1980s, the sale of Norwegian salmon has escalated beyond belief, to over 30 tonnes annually. The trend has become worldwide, too - Norwegian aquaculture salmon exports now reach an incredible 150 countries.
Roof Top Farm
ØsterGro City Farm is perhaps the most hyped farm association in Copenhagen. The rooftop farm on Æbeløgade is an urban oasis consisting of 600sqm of vegetables, herbs, edible flowers, rabbits, compost, outdoor kitchen, bees, chickens and greenhouses. The farm organizes workshops, farmers’ markets and guided tours and you’re welcome to pop in on harvest day every Wednesday. In season, you can eat at the farm’s popular restaurant, Stedsans.