Innovations That Matter

Top 10 Trending Innovations From 2020

Innovation Snapshot

Our most popular innovations from the past year demonstrate the agility that will be needed in 2021.

Not that you needed any more proof that COVID-19 dominated the business world in 2020, but nine of the top 10 most-viewed Springwise innovations from the past year were in response to the coronavirus.

“2020 has been a powerful wake-up call for us all. The most disruptive time in living memory,” writes James Bidwell, Chair of Springwise and the boutique London consultancy Re_Set, in our recently-released Forecast 2021 report. “That said, we must be optimistic. History tells us that great innovation often comes after times of great hardship.”

The following innovations demonstrate the agility that will be needed in 2021 to continue weathering the effects of the pandemic and the continued push toward purpose-driven and digital transformation.

Photo source Streetify

1. VIRTUAL STOREFRONT PLATFORM OFFERS FREE ACCESS TO RETAILERS DURING COVID-19

If shoppers can’t visit the high street, why not bring the high street to shoppers? That is the idea behind Streetify, an e-commerce platform that launched in late March, just in time to help businesses respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

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Photo source Dyson Award

2. A FOOD LABEL THAT CHANGES COLOUR AND PRICE AS EXPIRATION DATE NEARS

As groceries reach their expiration date, supermarkets often relabel them with discount stickers – 20 per cent off, 40 per cent off, etc. The closer to the expiration date, generally, the greater the discount. But this relabelling can be time-consuming for staff and often leads to mistakes. To prevent this, three grad students at the National Taipei University of Technology have designed a better system.

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Photo source g95

3. HOODIE WITH A BUILT-IN MASK MAY HELP PROTECT AGAINST COVID-19

Hazel and Carlton Solle founded the G95 clothing company three years ago to make scarfs with built-in air filters, for people who wanted to avoid air pollution but did not want to wear masks. Now, as the coronavirus pandemic ravages the world, the company’s idea seems highly prescient.

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Photo source Tyler Glaiel

4. LED FACE MASK MIMICS PATTERN OF MOUTH

The video game programmer and designer Tyler Glaiel created the JabberMask, an interactive, voice-activated facemask with an LED display that moves like a mouth in time with your speech and smile and can display emojis on demand.

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Photo source Ming Dai on Pixabay

5. HOTEL TURNS ROOMS INTO POP-UP RESTAURANTS

The Swedish hotel Stadt in Lidkoping opened up their rooms as private dining spaces, allowing people to go out to eat while still maintaining social distancing from other diners. The idea is that instead of getting a table in a restaurant, diners are given an entire room with a table. Orders can be placed by phone, so diners never have to leave the room.

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Photo source Avio Interiors

6. AEROPLANE SEATS DESIGNED TO PROTECT FROM CORONAVIRUS

The Italian aircraft design firm Avio Interiors released two new seat concepts that are designed to reduce the spread of germs and could act as permanent solutions to flying after COVID-19.  

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Photo source Canlis

7. UPSCALE RESTAURANT FINDS NEW BUSINESS MODEL AMIDST COVID-19

As one of Seattle’s finest restaurants, Canlis has only closed twice before, in 69 years — once after the assassination of JFK, and another time after a “horrific traffic accident” near the restaurant in 2015. However, in response to the Washington state’s announcement that all bars and restaurants will be temporarily closed from 15 March, Canlis came up with an innovative way to stay open, earn money and employ staff. 

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Photo source Evalan

8. A SOCIAL-DISTANCING SENSOR FOR WORKERS RETURNING FROM LOCKDOWN

Developed by SmartEagle, a spin-off of the Internet of Things developer Evalan, the distance sensor uses optical sensors to measure the number of people in a room, and how far apart they are. The sensor sounds an alarm when people are closer than 1.4 metres, with options including a traffic light that turns orange or red, or a notification that appears on users’ phones, to avoid a room full of ringing alarms.

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Photo source Rombit

9. BRACELET HELPS ENFORCE SOCIAL DISTANCING FOR THOSE RETURNING TO THE WORKPLACE

Rombit has created the Romware Covid Radius, a digital bracelet that ensures social distancing and also allows contact tracing. Rombit developed the bracelet by adapting its existing logistics bracelet, the Romware One, used to manage logistics in the workplace. The company added new functions to the Romware One so that whenever employees come closer to each other than 1.5 metres, they feel a vibration and receive a visual warning signal. 

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Photo source Element5 Digital on Unsplash

10. CHINESE BEAUTY RETAILER MOVES IN-STORE ADVISORS ONLINE DURING COVID-19

using Alibaba Cloud’s e-commerce solutions, Lin Qingxuan was able to transform its business model. The company began hosting live-streaming sessions to recommend products on e-commerce channels. The session on Valentine’s Day attracted more than 60,000 people and as a result, they sold over 400,000 bottles of their camellia oil. In addition, by leveraging collaboration tools like DingTalk, Lin Qingxuan’s shopping advisors are offering personalised customer service online.

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