Innovations We Love: June Edition

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  • by Courtney PeGan Stevens

As 2020 wears on, consumer wants and needs will change as their day to day needs change. During these times of rapid change, we love to see responsive innovation and messaging from different companies. For this month’s installment of Innovations We Love, Senior Vice President of Operations, Courtney PeGan Stevens, highlights some of her favorite responsive innovations this summer.

INNOVATION: CBD Cola Brand Offers Therapy as a Gift with Purchase

Why We Love It: 

It is no surprise that our mental health is at a low point this year with anxiety and clinical depression on the rise. I love how Bimble, a CBD-infused soda startup positioned as “therapy in a bottle,” is leveraging their therapeutic brand equity to provide meaningful marketing innovation by offering to buy up to $200 in therapy costs for some of its consumers. A move like this can create lasting relationships with loyal consumers and help provide meaningful support in their lives beyond the beverage. This is Bimble’s first major campaign and I am excited to see what they do next. 

INNOVATION: PPE Vending Machines

Why We Love It: 

As the country opens up and COVID-19 information fatigue sets in, one thing remains constant: PPE MAKES A DIFFERENCE! However, masks and hand sanitizer have also been notoriously hard to come by this year. Enter Selecta, Europe’s leading self-service vending supplier. 

Leveraging their technical expertise, Selecta was able to quickly launch “Safety Stations” or PPE vending machines, providing access to face masks, hand sanitizers, and more.  Additionally, they have added face masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes to many of their existing vending machines (in addition to snacks and drinks). I love that they are able to use existing technology and channels to meet growing consumer demand for PPE during this season of pandemic. I am hoping to start seeing vending machines like this broadly available in the US, as well.

INNOVATION: Paro Make Robots to Help with Social Isolation

Why We Love It:  

The mental health toll of COVID-19 may be as detrimental as the physical toll, especially for the most vulnerable among us who are isolated at home until there is a vaccine. To combat loneliness, some are looking to Robotic Pets -- one of those being Paro’s therapeutic robots. These robots leverage advanced AI technology designed to comfort people. (And they are also incredibly cute!)

I love the use of robotics and AI to meet the human need of connection and companionship during a pandemic. While Paro is still a luxury priced item, I think this innovation could be particularly life-changing for the elderly and immuno-compromised who have a long road of quarantine and physical distancing ahead of them. While isolating keeps them safe from COVID-19, it still leaves them highly vulnerable to loneliness and depression. I am hopeful that more accessible/affordable options become available in the near future for these populations. 

Which recent innovations have you seen that stand out most? Let’s keep the conversation going. Join us on LinkedIn or email me directly: