I just bought a Vaavud Wind Meter. As a pilot, I could justify the purchase by saying it would be great to know the wind speed at an airport without weather services, but do you want to know the real reason I bought it, it is pure magic! Kickstarter describes the VaaVud Wind Meter as “a wireless wind meter containing no electronics.” Then goes on to say: “The secret is two small magnets in the rotor. The magnetic field sensor in the phone can detect when they rotate, and by using algorithms normally used for sound processing, the rotations can be converted to wind speed. Complicated engineering, made user friendly and simple. In fact, nobody has utilized the smartphone magnetometer in this way before.”
I hesitate to say that this is “out of the box” thinking as this is really thinking in many boxes, in reality, this is innovative thinking at its finest. Andreas Bruun Okholm, a Danish Engineering student and entrepreneur, developed the concept for the wind meter as a part of his Bachelor thesis in 2011. According to a November 2013 Vaavud press release, the wind meter is now being used on 6 continents and in 70 countries. While I am constantly amazed with the simplicity and the ingenuity of the product, I find the speed and the process of getting the product to market astounding. In two short years the wind meter went from design stage, to winning the “Mobile & web” category in a Danish entrepreneur competition, to a Kickstarter campaign that ended 22 April 2013, to having distributions deals in 12 countries by Fall 2013, to the point I could buy one in January 2014. See the Vaavud brand story – measuring wind on smartphones.
Jim Carroll, Futurist, Trends & Innovation Expert, has 10 Great Words, Inspirational Innovation Insight. The words are: observe, think, change, dare, try, empower, question, banish, grow, do and finally, enjoy! By looking at the Vaavud website and their Kickstarter page, it is apparent to me that most of the 10 words apply to Andreas and his team that now has a product that is selling worldwide. What stands out is that three of the four co-founders for Vaavud are kitesurfers where an accurate hand held wind meter would be a great asset. Having a practical use for your innovation is a great motivator and provides the incentive to keep developing your product.