Every winter Innocent Smoothies in the UK asks people (and many grandmothers) to knit lots of little hats for their smoothie bottles.
Called "The Big Knit", these behatted bottles then go on sale in November and for every one sold Innocent will give 50 pence to Age Concern -- who will use the money to provide support to older people in winter including hot meals, blankets and advice on how to keep their houses warm.
Their goal is 400,000 hats or about £200,000. The project is both a goodwill effort and also a marketing one, built on their quirky, friendly brand and good for you products.
Innocent enables their customers with a lot of simple smart online tools to build the effort including:
a Flickr Group with hundreds of photos of hats submitted by people,
Intel released this conceptual video imagining what the future of mobile devices and computer technology may look like.
Fluid simple touchscreens, voice recognition, advanced GPS, ultra-thin design, and seamless movement between devices and locations --- people are connected to information, data and each other though "the cloud" that can be accessed from anywhere and any device.
This sort of video -- this peak into their own R&D focus -- helps reinforce Intel as being an innovative brand that's thinking about the future.
With something like the iPhone already here, this video isn't too unrealistic, if maybe some time away still.
Texas Instruments has demonstrated a new video projector that can be built into mobile phones and can project 15-inch wide full video onto most surfaces.
The device is based on TI's DLP mirror technology, used in their HD TVs, and is expected to be available early next year. This technology could create a new set of functionality for mobile devices, allowing for content to be shared with groups, meetings and presentations.
Anyone can submit a T-shirt design of their own to Threadless.com, where the submissions are voted on by the community and the most popular designs get made & sold on the site.
What's exciting about the new store is that it will not just be another touch point to sell their product, but will be an new extension of a brand that started out entirely on the web.
The store will have classes teaching design, host galleries of art with artwork from their community of users online as well as art created live in the store, and have real-world group critiques & feedback.
Threadless updates new T-shirt designs on its site weekly and has a unique story of how each design is made and chosen by the community. Most existing retail stores could not handle that pace of inventory change or give the right attention to how these shirts are created, which is central to what makes Threadless different. Creating their own store helps address that better.
Threadless is a great example of the positive effect possible when communities online are enabled properly, and an example of a new kind of business model firmly focused on the consumer first.