Home Smart 100 2011
I stumbled upon some published research work being undertaken by an overseas research establishment. Their research was not related directly to my invention but had direct application to what I saw as being directly applicable to my area of interest.
My mum always used to catch the initial volume of cold water discharged from her shower in a bucket and use it on the garden, but a few years ago, when she hit her mid-70s, she abandoned the practice because it was just too much hard work. With water restrictions also in place due to the drought, I decided to invent a better way to collect and use that water. The Cullector is the result of that inspiration, although it’s taken several years and 14 prototypes to perfect it!
Over $23 billion is given out annually in grants funding in Australia by government, philanthropy, corporates and NGOs, and there is no standardised solution, application process or management and acquittal process. $23 billion and not one standard operating system. Started from the ground up after a series of "Grants Rage" sessions by grant applicants on the tragic state of technology, systems, process and learnings exchange, SmartyGrants was born.
Shortcuts realised that whilst the Internet offers significant revenue opportunities, less than one fifth of Australian salons have an online presence -- and are missing out on potential business. Already enabling salons to take bookings online, Shortcuts wanted to drive more business to salons at minimal risk and cost to them, and enable potential clients to find Shortcuts salons anywhere, anytime.
Brothers David and Barry O'Driscoll started Brightgreen, an LED lighting company developing products that match a halogen on brightness while using only a quarter of the power and lasting up to fifteen times longer. Brightgreen’s latest cutting-edge product is the DR700 -- the world’s first LED downlight replacement bulb to match the brightness of an average halogen and to be compatible with all existing transformers and dimmers. This means that LED replacement bulbs are now simple, fast and hassle-free to install, making them ideal for a mass market.
I had friends who travelled often for business and would find themselves suddenly in a city with nothing to do and no one to do it with. As you often purchase event tickets months out from events, it is difficult for the business traveller or last-minute purchaser. Also, it can be very lonely to attend events on your own. I decided to build a site where people could meet and connect with others, without the "online dating" stigma attached. And it would provide an opportunity for people to offload or buy last-minute tickets without having to deal with scalpers.
We wanted to create something that connected to the average Australian. The financial planning industry ignores people who have simple goals and not large amounts of money -- we wanted to help and connect with people from all walks of life.
I won the tender to handle an Event for 500 people with no experience other than a sheer will to deliver an awesome experience. After much frustration with the industry and service levels, supported by a programming background I set out to change the world. I wanted a system with no boundaries of language, currency, time or location. A platform that could give productivity back to organisations and reduce costs by improving processes.
David Scholes, a noted Real Estate auctioneer, and myself [Brian Edmonds] decided it was time to take one of the world's oldest professions and introduce it to the digital age. We wanted to use the opportunity to create a better way of buying and selling property, one that is transparent and less stressful than the normal auction process.
Gretha Oost has the heart of an environmentalist and the mind of a marketer. She pondered Australians' propensity to drink water from bottles when, by and large, water from their taps are perfectly safe. Her solution earned top honors in Anthill's SMART 100 for 2011.
The innovation came to life when frustrated with wholesaler services, and because there was no support or innovation from their side. While working one hour with our business coach from Action Coach we came up with the concept we have now come to sell. Our service provides a one-stop shop opportunity for anyone to become a Telecoms company without the large capital normally required and without having to source dozens of different providers to supply them.
I discovered how difficult it was to reach my powerpoint to turn off wasted standby power. The purpose of this innovation is to enable everyone to save wasted standby power or simply to gain switching access to one's powerpoints. And to provide a visual reminder for those of use who are forgetful.
A major mobile operator in the UK approached our channel partner to see if they could help determine if smartphone applications (iPhone, Android, etc.) were causing congestion and outages in the mobile network. We quickly modified our mobile web analytics platform to analyse mobile application traffic and develop a series of new reports that provide unprecedented insight into smartphone application usage and associated network impacts.
Founder Dale Carr noticed how many website owners were complaining about declining revenues they were seeing from online adverts placed on their web pages (especially with Google Adsense). Digging deeper, Carr identified a trend called ad-blindness where web visitors were now so used to the look and feel of online adverts that they were totally ignoring them. Carr set about working on an advertising solution where the display method would be more engaging meaning higher click-throughs, better web-owner revenues and higher quality leads for advertisers.
I realised that there were women all over Australia who wanted me to host our events which we were then hosting in restaurants, in their regions. However, after doing Sydney one month and then Melbourne the next I became burnt out. I realised I needed to come up with another concept so that I could expand our events in a way that could be easily replicated -- but realising it had to be very different from how we were currently hosting them.
This innovation came to life after seeing how poorly managed were many hundreds of keys held in businesses such as real estate, especially building managers' large premises as they used low-security-level paper records to keep track of these valuable keys. I have wanted to introduce this some years back, however my research needed to establish the best way to collect data from keys and their tags.
My friend and I became new mums and quickly discovered the horrible customer service in baby stores in Sydney. We found how hard it was to find great baby gear and, moreover, nobody was making it easy to give feedback to improve products and services. As time-pressed mums, with consulting backgrounds from McKinsey & Company, we decided to apply our brains to solve this problem, fast. And, when we developed a mobile site for feedback we realised that it is not just baby stores but every single retailer and service providers that could benefit from customer intelligence. And so... CustomerUnderground was born!
Thinking about the lack of a working online fitting room, we reaslised that although shoppers can’t describe their body's shape/size, they actually don’t need to as the clothes in their wardrobe do that for them; people only buy and keep clothes that fit well. Fit2Buy lets shoppers compare the size/shape of items online to the items in their wardrobe; because they know the items in their wardrobe fit, if the clothes online are a similar shape and size then they will fit the shopper too.
Vickie Johnson (founder & director) was working in her car between coffee shop meetings in the North Queensland heat in December 2009. Sweating and watching the battery power of the laptop depleting, she reflected on the fact that using her iPhone right now she could book a hotel room or a flight to England, but here she was working in the car and having meetings in coffee shops with no other options. Being a woman of action rather than negativity, she set about creating a network providing businesses with access to work or meeting space Australia-wide.
It started with some WILD questions about building games for the emerging "social game" space. Crazy stuff, like what if you could build "Farmville" in a week? What if you could press a button and have a cross-platform, scalable, social game application layer instantly available? What if we could distill the core mechanics of social games into a highly configurable, easy-to-use system so that game developers could focus on creating amazing game experiences, rather than figuring out how to build complex server infrastructures...