The average person uses 13 different methods to control and manage their time.
Buckle up, because your sex life is about to get far more interesting – and brandified. The UK supermarket-shelf contraceptives market looks set to change, and to create far more choice for shoppers. This has been a long time coming. Reckitt Benckiser’s Durex is worth 83% of the condoms market in the UK, with Ansell’s Mates at a rather distant second.
But that looks set to change, reports The Grocer, when Germany’s Billy Boy - ‘Bang on with Billy Boy’, as it’s been marketed at festivals and through social media – rolls out into UK supermarkets this year. The old cliché of efficient German engineering has been reapplied to ‘where it matters most!’ in the condom’s trade press advertising, which positions Billy Boy as bringing a sense of fun to the UK market. It has been described as an ‘open, flirty brand’, with a more sexy approach to sex and has done well in America. Should Durex be worried?
Also generating questions is new-ish US brand Sir Richard’s, formed by entrepreneurs in 2009 and featured in the Daily Grommit this week as ‘premium condoms on a global mission’. Sir Richard’s donate one condom for every condom purchased to international health organisations in areas suffering from easily preventable sexually contagious diseases. So far they have given away 500 000 condoms to Partners in Health in Haiti, and joined with the Bacchus Network to give out condoms in US college campuses too. Chemical free, vegan and made from renewably-sourced natural latex, Sir Richard’s takes a very different approach to Billy Boy, and both could be trendsetters in the condom market.
Safe sex is definitely on the radar, and another fighter in the ethical corner is a surprising restaurant in Bicester. Cabbages and Condoms, a Thai restaurant chain, which opened last year, is run by Thailand’s Population and Community Development Association. Its aim is to spread awareness of safe sex both in Thailand and abroad, to give support to AIDS sufferers and to promote family planning. Diners are given family planning leaflets at the end of their meal, and encouraged to buy condom-themed merchandise, and is causing a stir. The name Cabbages and Condoms comes from the idea that condoms should be considered a normal grocery item, just as cabbages are, and that people shouldn’t be embarrassed to buy them. But with such exciting new products set to hit the market, I’m sure we’ll all be proudly flashing around our purchases at the till…!
Gene Roddenberry (creator of Star Trek) would have been very happy to hear of the likely launch of the ‘tricorder’ in 2013. NASA spin-out firm Scanadu (http://www.scanadu.com/) plans to launch a device which you can hold to your temple (or pretty much any other body part) and it will take heart, blood pressure, oxygen saturation and other vital sign readings and then relay them to a smartphone or other data capture/display device.
Scanadu will likely also launch low-cost health diagnostic devices (both reusable and disposable) which plug directly into smart phones for everything from blood sugar, cholesterol, urinary tract infections and many more…but may just take until star date 2014.
Captains Log ends.
In a recent interview in Wired magazine (http://www.wired.com/business/2013/01/ff-qa-larry-page/all/ ) Larry Page talks about his philosophy of ‘moonshot’ innovation. Clearly reaching for the stars is not enough for him, and he wants Google to shoot for the moon.
The article describes how Page lives by the gospel of “10x”.
“Most companies would be happy to improve a product by 10 percent. Not the CEO and cofounder of Google. The way Page sees it, a 10 percent improvement means that you’re basically doing the same thing as everybody else. You probably won’t fail spectacularly, but you are guaranteed not to succeed wildly.”
Whether or not you like the new nomenclature, it’s a timely reminder of the importance, and the difficulty of breakthrough innovation. When it comes to innovation there just isn’t one right way to do it but a multiplicity of methodologies and start points.
In Larry Page and Google’s case this means the creation of Google X, a special skunkworks division where in his words “If you’re not doing some things that are crazy, then you’re doing the wrong things.”