Mint tea made from your own urine, or a tasty beer brewed from local rainwater. Last week, Innofest turned Eurosonic/Noorderslag into a living lab for social and sustainable innovation. And Eurosonic being one of the biggest showcase festivals in the world, the startups involved had a pretty big podium to present and test their innovations.
Innofest won the European Enterprise Promotion Award last November and is active at 8 different festivals in the northern Netherlands. The initiative gives startups, students and companies ample opportunity to extensively test their ideas, which is very necessary, because lack of testing is the main reason why 75% of all innovations fail.
A festival can be viewed as a temporary mini society, with many of the same challenges and opportunities as our society as a whole, according to Innofest startup programmer Wilbert van de Kamp. “And these small scale tests are a great and fast way to turn ideas and innovations into an actual business”, he adds. “It’s also a great way to show that idealism and entrepreneurship can go hand in hand. There’s also plenty of room for mistakes too, which we celebrate with our FuckUp Awards.”
Rainbeer and Ticket Guard
One of this year’s innovations is Rainbeer, which, as the name implies, is beer brewed with local rainwater. Since water is the main ingredient of beer and rain being more than plentiful during most Dutch festivals, it’s a very sustainable way to make sure festival-goers can get their drink on. The entrepreneurs behind this innovation collected rainwater from the roof of the Oosterpoort concert venue, to test how festivals themselves can easily collect water in the near future.
Ticketguard developed a special encryption to prevent ticket fraud and illegal reselling. Their system, called TigerID, is a QR code sent to and scanned on your smartphone. During Eurosonic, the system was tested on speed and accuracy during gigs and drinks at the Martinus Brewery.
SEMiLLA Sanitation Hub and Studio Bleep
The sanitation hubs made by SEmiLLA allowed visitors to drink their own urine with the help of space technology. Meant for use in disaster areas or refugee camps, the sanitation hub turns urine and waste into drinking water and nutrients for food production. Last week, SEMiLLA used the urine and waste to make mint tea.
According to CEO Peter Scheer, this was their very first test with the prototype: “It was pretty exciting! We initially had some trouble finding the right spot, but everything worked the way it should. Our goal was to test how much the sanitation system could handle, so we needed 500 liters of urine. But we also wanted to test the acceptance of people people and how they would react, which is why we gave away mint tea.”
Studio Bleep uses Augmented Reality to bring clothing to life. By scanning an illustration on clothes with your phone, the picture suddenly comes to life. The innovation was intended for use in pediatric care in hospitals, to cheer kids up and relieve stress. Lighting is important, which is why Studio Bleep tested their clothing extensively during different concerts at Eurosonic, to see if different light affects the performance of their system.
FlowSense and fuckups
Eurosonic is one of the biggest showcase festivals in the world, with 40,000 visitors, 352 acts and at least 52 stages. The most common annoyance is rushing from venue to venue, only to find out the place is already packed with people. Turns out, there’s an app for that now. Innofest alumnus FlowSense uses sensor technology to measure crowds and this year, they teamed up with the company Event Engineers to create an app that monitors how crowded the lines at the venues are in real time.
Innofest also hosted the FuckUp Award last week, celebrating the most spectacular fails. The 2017 award went to Thijs de Bont, whose prototype for a new bass amplifier didn’t work the first time during the Welcome To The Village festival last Summer. He managed to get it working the next day though, and won €1000 for his fuckup. Rainbeer is going to be a good contestant for the 2018 award; they didn’t correctly install their collection system and lost a lot of rainwater.
Innofest is always looking for new innovations and ideas. Feel like testing yours during a festival? Check out http://innofest.co