Springwise is an Amsterdam based independent firm focused on innovation and new business ideas. Since 2002 (when it was founded by Reiner Evers) the company scans the globe for the most promising business ventures, ideas and concepts ready for regional or international adaptation, expansion, partnering, investment or cooperation.
Their full color free newsletter is delivered weekly to more than 85,000 business professionals and entrepreneurs living in more than 120 countries around the world. They claim to be the first company providing such a service on a global scale.
The idea behind the site is really smart and simple: providing food to entrepreneurial minds.
Springwise is built on spontaneous contributions coming from a global network of more than 8000 business and marketing-savvy “spotters” living in, or traveling to, more than 70 countries.
When they find something of potential interest, all they have to do is submitting a short story by e-mail or through a specific form in a dedicated website, providing some basic information like the name of the spotted product (or service), a short description, the related website url (if any), the country in which the company is located and the reason why the spotter believes this product (or service) is unique.
Every time a contribution is accepted, the spotter is rewarded with 10 points that, once reached a minimum 50-point threshold, can be converted in gifts like Moleskine notebooks, iPods, videogames, books, digital cameras, downloadable music and many others you can find on the gift gallery page.
Joining the Springspotters community is free. It seems that you can also submit spots on-the-fly, through the Springwise website, without having to register or to sign in, but in this case you will not be able to gain points or to access the history of your past submissions (both accepted and denied) and your points balance.
In addition to relying on the Springspotters’ network, the guys at Springwise scan about 400 online and offline business publications per month.
As a result, Springwise’s idea database is really huge. Literally packed with smart ideas from all over the world categorized in many different topics like automotive, eco & sustainability, education, entertainment, fashion & beauty, government and non-profit, marketing & advertising, ….
Every idea can be printed, mailed to someone or commented.
A (minor) area of improvement for the site could be the indication of the number of ideas under each topic. But this is really a minor issue.
This site can really be a great source of inspiration and is definitely worth a bookmark for teachers, students, business journalists, wannabe entrepreneurs, or more simply if you are interested in innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.
But there’s even something more.
When you have a continuous flow of information submitted by a network of thousands of people in more than 70 countries, and an editorial staff scanning lots of business publications on a monthly basis, you have a good level of knowledge of what is going on in the marketplace, of what is working well and of what, ultimately, people want.
This is where Trendwatching comes in.
Trendwatching is Springwise’s sister company, focusing on finding out the most promising consumer trends, insights, and related hands-on business ideas. Their monthly briefing is delivered to more than 135,000 business professionals in more than 120 countries.
You can access the briefings for free but you have to pay if you want the full 2008 Trend Report which includes presentation slides, videos and other extras.
(Just to be clear, we cover Springwise because we think it’s worth-a-wow but we are not connected with them and we don’t earn money doing this. We probably should, …but this is another story!)