A Brighter Idea for the Future

One idea lights a thousand candles.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Imagination and light go hand in hand. A bright idea is commonly depicted with a light bulb, or more specifically, a traditional incandescent bulb – the very same kind that was invented more than 100 years. Our ideas have evolved greatly over the past 100 years, so why has the object used to depict them remained static?

Try to imagine a solar lamp of versatile and sustainable design, a base from which to explore your creativity, adaptable over time to fit the needs of the future. This is a much more accurate representation of the ideas emerging from society today.

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Our generation has reached a new level of awareness about our surroundings and the effects of our consumption on the environment. Sustainability has become a buzzword used nearly as much as progress and economic development. But what does sustainability mean in today’s world? How can we live more sustainably? A large part of the solution lies, surprisingly, with businesses. There is a huge opportunity for businesses that seek to create value for society as a whole, including the environment. The most successful of these businesses are deploying sustainable, market-based solutions to today’s challenges that are both profitable and respect the environment, allowing it to regenerate for generations to come.

On an individual level, many of us are looking to shift to more sustainable lifestyles. We are making small changes in our day-to-day lives ranging from recycling, to eating local produce, to trading in our car for a bike or a bus ticket, to simply using less – less plastic, less water, less energy. These seem like small steps in the scope of the world’s problems, but as more people commit to these changes, the effects multiply. Once we have mastered the smaller habit changes like recycling, have become friends with the produce vendor at our local farmers market, and look forward to our bike ride to work, we can start to take the next, larger steps. What else can we do? How can we contribute to the solutions? Where do we begin?

There are thousands of companies around the world that are enabling this transition to a more sustainable lifestyle that so many of us desire. Instead of focusing on charity as a means to create impact, these companies are creating innovative products that appeal to customers because they are both the best in the market and they provide the average consumer with an easy way to create real impact.

SULI, a portable, multi-functional solar lamp is one such product.

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When consumers purchase a SULI lamp, they are reducing their CO2 consumption and helping provide a lamp to an off-the-grid community. Solar lamps are not a new innovation, however. They have been around for decades and there is plenty of competition. Similarly common is the business model that creates impact by directing a portion of profits to disadvantaged communities. However, SULI takes the concept of conscious consumerism one step further. SULI’s open-source model enables anyone to develop new ways to use the SULI lamp by designing accessories for 3-D printing.

“We want to create a SULI community, allowing us to develop new ideas together, through a model open to everybody, where we can inspire creativity and innovation. This way, every user can be a part of our team – designing, creating, building and sharing new ways to use the SULI light.”

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The SULI model provides customers with the opportunity to create direct impact in a collaborative setting. The SULI team has essentially built the foundation for light innovation – so that you and I can create a myriad of unthought-of ways to bring solar light to more places. The SULI lamp itself will continue to be improved through this community feedback loop – democratizing not only access to a renewable source of light, but also allowing owners of the lamps to create accessories together and be a part of the innovation.

The SULI team has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to support their first massive production. This campaign, similar to the SULI open-source design model, invites the public to be a part of the SULI story and to shape your own reality by co-creating the solution.

Let’s re-imagine the light bulb of our generation as a symbol of new ideas, creativity and collaboration focused on developing real solutions to today’s challenges. What can we create together?

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SULI is currently participating in the 2015 Agora Accelerator. Applications for the 2016 Accelerator open on August 3rd. Learn more here.

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