What is the most innovative technology/program/place you’ve seen in your travels within the last year?
MICAH SPEAR – I’m really excited about hardware developments that incorporate and facilitate interaction with our physical environment. The Leap Motion (leapmotion.com) for example, utilizes sensors that read human movements as data and output actions, bringing a fluidity and invisibility to the relationship we have with physical computing. I think we can be optimistic about the behavioral implications of technology like this, as long as our intentions are to allow us to be more human.
FARIS YAKOB – Innovation arises from unearthing embedded assumptions and solving unarticulated problems. One of the most innovative things I’ve seen traveling is the Overstay Checkout at the Art Series Hotels in Australia. Check out at 12pm is arbitrary and annoying. There, if no one is checking in, you don’t have to check out. Another is functional customer service over Twitter, where they can rebook you if your flight is cancelled, or offer other solutions, instead of scripted apologies.
LAUREN GROPPER – The most innovative program I’ve seen on my travels was actually something very elemental – at an eco lodge in Costa Rica, leftover kitchen grease was used to make bathroom soaps in combination with plants grown on the property. Smells (and works) better than it sounds!
JAMIE WONG – Of course I come from one of the world’s epicenters of innovation, but there are many hubs of innovation that have their own flavor and contributions to offer. I find Paris to be a very exciting place because there is so much creativity and passion in the innovators I’ve met there. I think San Francisco could benefit from a dose of Paris, and vice versa.
RUZWANA BASHIR – What excites me most about innovation today is the effect it can have on how we engage with the world around us, from the way we connect with others, to the way we shop or even how we travel. Apps like Highlight (http://highlig.ht/about.html ) allow users to instantly know who the people around them are, if they have any friends in common and whether they share any interests. Imagine how much more entertaining a four-hour train ride from New York to Boston would be if you knew that the woman sitting next to you was your sister’s roommate from college, or an avid fan of your favorite artist?
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