Fun Can Change the World

My heart swells a little each time I watch the above videos from the Fun Theory.  Simple, yet well produced, each of the Fun Theory projects realizes great success.  Their theory has been proven: “that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behavior for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better.”

Think you’ve got the next fun idea?  Now is your time to get paid for it.  The Fun Theory is hosting an open competition for the next installation.  The winner will be rewarded the hearty sum of €2,500 and get to have a little fun making the world a little better.  Deadline is December 15, so get to work! And be sure to also let us know what you come up with!


TED- “ideas worth spreading”

Lately, I’ve been completely hooked on watching TED videos.  A good TED clip can give me everything I’m looking for when I have a few moments of free time… information, happiness, tears, confusion, awe, amazement, empathy, and more than anything, inspiration.


TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, the three elements which were the founding premise for this small non-profit back in 1984.  Today TED brings together people from every industry and occupation imaginable, from all over the globe.  It is a platform for individuals to give their story, in 18 minutes or less, about anything, and the topics are all incredible: Biomimicry, water purification, creativity, slowing down in life, happiness, environment, homelessness, intelligence, inventions, ideas, ideas, ideas…. endless, profound ideas.  Not every presenter is poetic, not all presentations are inspiring, but each has something unique and fresh to offer the viewer.

Two of my all time favorite speakers are Jill Bolte Taylor “stroke of insight”, and Elizabeth Gilbert “on nurturing creativity”.  Another fascinating one I just watched tonight, Johnny Lee “demos Wii Remote hacks”.  Check them out, be prepared to open your mind.



Elizabeth Gilbert speaking at TED




Turn The Radio On



Trying to find alternative sources for news can be difficult, with airwaves and print dominated by major publications such as CNN, The New York Times, and The BBC.  The trouble I find with mainstream media is that sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what exactly is going on in the world, and why… better yet, what about all the stories behind the scenes we don’t get to hear about?

Three particular sources have proved to be continually innovative in the way they report news, and all are convenient audio sources available with the click of a radio knob (or on podcast!):  This American Life, Fresh Air, and Planet Money.  When I got confused about the economic crises and the health care debate recently, these were the sources I ran to, and I feel like they did the most stand-up job at reporting in a clear, concise, and engaging way.

Not only do these three programs continually produce efficient news, but they also offer a pleasant respite from the surplus of negative commentary out there, with entertaining and thought-provoking true stories from real people, both big names and no-names.


1.  This American Life.  The first show went on the air on NPR in 1995, and since then host Ira Glass, (picture above in the funny glasses) has been producing some of the most eye-opening audio shows I’ve ever heard.  Each episode features a variety of “acts” on a given topic.  Topics range from uniquely informative (episode #375, “Bad Bank”, reveals how and why the U.S. banking system collapsed, and what is being done to fix it; #392, “Someone Else’s Money”, takes a deep look into health care insurance), to heart-wrenching (#322, “Shouting Across the Divide”, in which a Palestinian family is torn apart in America), to hilarious (basically any episode that features Adam Davidson or David Sedaris, two frequent contributors to TAL), and beyond.  If you’re already a listener to this fantastic show, I recommend checking their archives for some episodes you might not have heard! (TAL is available as a free podcast via iTunes, and also now graces television with technicolor shows!)


2.  Fresh Air.  “From WHYY in Philadelphia, this is Fresh Air…” Host Terry Gross has been in the radio business since the 70’s, and in 1985, she took over a little show called Fresh Air.  Since then, this enthralling interviewer has graced the nation with “probing questions, revelatory interviews and unusual insights”, according to the show’s 1994 Peabody Award credits.  She has covered topics ranging from politics and war, to arts, science and pop culture, and interviewed way too many people to list (Spike Jonze, Bill O’Reilly, Marvin Hamlish, and Gene Simmons, to name a few).  I started listening to her show years ago, mostly for entertainment, but it has become a staple in my daily yearning to understand the world.  (available as a free podcast via iTunes, and on NPR)


3. Planet Money.  This NPR production is a newby, but a goody.  So good, in fact, that I have completely fallen in love with it, and want to go out and tell everyone that if the’re looking for a place to learn about the global economy, in layman’s terms, this is the golden goose.  In August 2008, they were looking for a name to put on their brilliant idea for a business and economics show, today they are the “captains of revelatory explanation regarding the rapidly changing global economy” (according to me).  Adam Davidson (the funny bloke who sometimes appears on TAL), Alex Blumberg, and Chana Joffe-Walt are a few of the correspondents for the show, and they manage to make international economics fun and even delightful.  Who knew economics could be enjoyable? (available as free podcast via iTunes and other sources)

Since I’m on a roll, I’ll go ahead and list a couple more audio shows that have thoroughly intrigued me recently.

Inside Renewable Energy:  This is the podcast for Renewable Energy World, a website and blog dedicated to its namesake.  Offers news reports about renewable energy in companies, products, and events, in countries all over the globe.

PRI’s Social Entrepreneurship:  Yet another fabulous free podcast about incredible things happening in small business around the world, particularly focused on developing areas such as Africa.

Listen up, great things are happening!

*cute radio image via:

“Indexed”- Visual Ideas


The best way I can describe Indexed is:  Visual ideas for the pictorial thinker. Take something as basic as a Venn diagram, add a dash of wit and heft of cleverness, and you’ve got yourself a remarkably fun way to look at just about anything.

I was recently turned on to Indexed by a dear reader of Innovate!, and I can’t get enough of it!  Created by Jessica Hagy, Indexed is daily blog, in which a variety of subjects are lightly analyzed, including, (but not limited to):  politics, philosophy, the Tooth Fairy, booze, Santa Claus, work, and excuses.

Many of the diagrams just make you laugh, some really get your mind a-thinkin’, and a few you really have to think about to get.






Blog Action Day!

Are you celebrating?!  Have you joined?  Today is Blog Action Day and we here at Innovate are partaking in the festivities (kind of).  Blog Action Day was founded in 2007 by Collis & Cyan Ta’eed.  The concept behind the ‘event’ is to have bloggers commit to dedicating one day of their blog to recognize an innovation, sustainable practice, or other green ideas  and organizations that are working to benefit our communities.  By recognizing this days and encouraging one strong day of focused efforts, the organizers are hoping to initiate positive conversation internationally.

blog action day

Since the goal of Blog Action Day is pretty synonymous with our goals every day at Innovate, we’re promoting the event and will continue to support great ideas with every entry!

Currently 9,556 blogs representing 150 countries and 12,929,428 readers are registered!!  If you’re participating, post a comment and link us to your socially active post of the day.

The 3/50 Project

Their concept is simple and the numbers that back up their cause are staggering.  The 3/50 project is an organization focused on saving the wonderful mom-and-pop stores throughout the country.  I often see small stores that I appreciated close their doors and comfort myself by thinking, ‘Well, I can’t keep them all in business on my own.’  True, but it is quite amazing the profound difference each one of us can make in supporting our local economy.  According to Project 3/50, here’s how it is done:


Think about which three independently owned businesses you would miss most if they were gone.  Stop in and say hello.  Pick up a little something that will make someone smile.  Your contribution is what keeps those businesses around.


If just half of the employed U.S. population spent $50 each month in independently owned businesses, their purchases would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue.  Imagine the positive impact if 3/4 of the employed population did that.


For every $100 spent in independently owned stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures.  If you spend that in a national chain, only $43 stays here.  Spend it online and nothing comes home.


the number of people it takes to start the trend… you.

The website is full of great resources, images, t-shirts, etc. to help you show your support!  Print out a couple of the flyers and take them by one of your ‘3’- my guess is you and the owner will be smiling after your visit.

The Story of Stuff


I love this video!!

The Story of Stuff is a fun, animated look at the way Americans consume, and the process consumables goes through.  Eye opening and informative!  Seen it before?  Watch it again to remind yourself why you own so much STUFF, and get inspired to buy green and recycle!

trouble viewing?  go to the website (linked above) and watch the video there!