It suddenly strikes me that I haven’t been blogging much recently. Exams finished several weeks ago but I have been somewhat busy.

In particular I’ve been working on a new site for a client, Inovazone. In the words of the site’s inventor, Alastair Darwood:

How does an invention go from a scribble on a page to a world-changing product that advances humanity? The answer is that at the heart of the invention there lies a set of distinct and crucial necessities that the invention is addressing … Until now, the only way in which necessities were discovered was through large companies carrying out expensive research, or a spark of genius from someone who suddenly sees one and thinks of a solution. Inovazone is designed to change this. The idea is that users of the site post their ‘necessities’ (short explanations of problems, ‘necessities’, they think need to be solved to benefit them (or humanity)), or rough outlines of inventions they would like to see and anyone can browse the necessities if they want to and look for interesting problems to try to solve through innovation. This could be in the form of an invention or simply a quick online response to the post on our comments system.

Interestingly enough, there doesn’t actually yet exist a site or system available to the general public that serves this particular function by providing a framework within which ideas for inventions are openly submitted and accessed, so I agreed to work on it, especially considering the core of submitting and displaying necessities is a relatively simple PHP/SQL project.

Submitting a necessity

Submitting a necessity. Click to embiggen

What I found particularly compelling was that, according to Alastair, everyone with whom he’s discussed the site has expressed enormous enthusiasm for it, and even a seasoned inventor he’d talked to had described the idea as long overdue and predicted huge success. Although I originally liked the idea and somehow felt it would do pretty well owing to its novelty, I for some reason assumed one would obtain mixed reactions in discussions.

In terms of the hard sell, we’re employing several different methods to publicise Inovazone. We’ve created a Facebook fan page and a Twitter account – feel free to follow us (@inovazone). also kindly provide adwords coupons so with some SEO we might be able to appear in ads on relevant Google searches.

The site is currently about to go into beta testing. From wiki:

Beta testing comes after alpha testing. Versions of the software, known as beta versions, are released to a limited audience outside of the programming team. The software is released to groups of people so that further testing can ensure the product has few faults or bugs. Sometimes, beta versions are made available to the open public to increase the feedback field to a maximal number of future users.

The idea of this is simply to fine-tune what we already have rather than to add more features, though both these are desirable outcomes from this round of testing; though for me personally the primary objective is to see whether the system works well with a large user base. So for that to happen we need some willing volunteers to go test out the site: anyone reading this is welcome to join the test group. Go ahead and post as many necessities as you deem reasonable, and comment on existing ones. Try out creating new subcategories and send us feedback about features that you think should be created or made better via the awesome uservoice-powered feedback utility. I’m especially interested in bugs and vulnerabilities you find; if you somehow work out how to delete posted necessities or spam the site with adverts, or if the site spews out a series of errors while you’re using it under normal circumstances, get in touch (there is a contact page). Chances are the database will be reverted to its initial (more or less empty) state before the site is released in a few weeks’ time, so disasters should be recoverable.

Before you (readers) go, I’d be interested to hear your feedback on the idea of the site – do you think it has potential? Will it be useful?

That’s all from me for now. The site will get a working and hopefully regularly-updated blog pretty soon for general status information and news so you probably won’t be hearing much more about it from me.



2 Responses to Inovazone

  1. kirk 2.0 says:

    “would it be possible to invent a type of cartridge driven fish feeder as my one often dispenses too much food, which is often stale and soggy. Please comment if you have any ideas! ”
    – this already exists. one just has to pay more money

    “Could someone please invent an actual, fun, computer game to teach touch typing to people. ”
    – this already exists. I’ve seen software like this for children. research is required but it’s easy to find this.

    “Approaching 85, I find it hard to bend down and put on socks. I have tried other products out there and they don’t work for me. I think that there is a huge market for anyone who solves this problem. ”
    – new knees? how could you get a machine to put on your socks? this almost sounds like a joke and it probably is.

    “I need a phone that I can easily use with gloves on, Maybe a case of some sort that fits different versions of mobiles. ”
    – what a ridiculous want. there are now some gloves on the market which you can bluetooth with your phone… again, this already exists.

    “I go to the gym a lot and I would love to have a free weights machine that told you the total weight you are lifting… Thanks H ”
    – heard of a scale? I’m sure this exists.

    “I find it difficult to judge whether meat is cooked properly in the oven. All of the products that you can buy at the moment don’t work well. Could someone hurry up and invent a working meat thermometer/cooker”
    – good meat thermometers exist – I know this because chefs in restaurants use them. so again this is silly.

    “could someone design a music stand that turns pages automatically? I would be so useful for my concert performances. Isabel ”
    – holy moly, a decent idea. if it could be foot operated it could help violinists etc.

    ” We need a piece of software that reports back when an email is delivered to its target recipient. I never know whether someone has received my mail or weather to send it again…”
    – outlook has this option. it’s called a receive recipt or something … just another clueless person whose request is ALREADY fulfilled.

    “I always drive my car to work in the morning with my hot coffee. The cup holder just lets the coffee spill out every time I accelerate and stop. Someone needs to design a new one. ”
    – are you joking me? buy a flask.

    this website will never work.
    1. there are too many retards out there looking for solutions to really dumb problems [the majority above – the coffee one especially] who don’t realise solutions already exist or they are unwilling to pay money for a good product
    2. because of the huge amount of rubbish that will come through of things that already exist, are jokes or are impractical [asking for email receipts ffs?] finding good ideas will be a trawl.

    The only saving grace is that one good idea like the music page turner might show up.
    However, because it will take ages to find it and most interneters hate time usage [if a youtube vid is more than 30s, we bugger off] ppl will not go on this site often and will likely only go once. indeed all the money to be made from this site goes to the ppl who use the ideas to make new products – who wants to advertise to only a few ppl willing to trawl. all the money is going the wrong way. it’s like with FB apps – so much money is going to the application makers, not to facebook lol.

    also, you need some sort of stream for ideas on the main page.

    ciao bello.

  2. Alastair says:

    Thank you for your feedback.

    Just a few points though… The necessities on the site atm have been written by me and really are just examples. I wrote them to try to emphasise what I think constitutes a necessity. They are all satisfied by products available on the market today.

    What you have to remember is that innovation is an extremely important concept in our every day life. My hopes for Inovazone are that innovative people will treat it as a mine for inspiration and people who are not so innovative but are perceptive will hopefully take pleasure in putting up a necessity that could hopefully change people’s lives for the better in however small a way. Although I am sure we will get loads of rubbish, you could say that the site is worth it for the odd good post we get. (many of the rubbish ones will not make it on to the site anyway…)

    Once again, thank you for your opinion. I will take into consideration what you said.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: