We talk a lot about ideas: what inspires them, how to act on them. But it's really quite simple: The best ones come from just going about our lives -- encountering, then attempting to resolve, both major obstacles and quotidian annoyances.
Our choice of categories for this year's Brilliant 100 reflects this. This feature has always skewed digital, heavy on apps, online platforms and social networking. Now those technologies are a given--they're ingrained in all we do, informing everything from how we work to how we eat to how we love. So this year, we have turned our focus to the ways in which the digital realm affects lifestyles, with categories on ideas that benefit city dwellers, rural folk, office workers and the environmentally minded (and who among us isn't?). We also take a look at ideas revolving around human interaction, in the literal sense of dating/connection and in that most intriguing new method of innovation: crowdsourcing.
The companies featured here have turned brilliant ideas into business solutions. Here's hoping you'll do the same.
Automated kiosks that buy back used electronics aim to ease the electronic waste burden and put cash in consumers' pockets.
LOVE / CONNECTING
Wickr gives users the ability to send self-destructing files securely and anonymously.
Smaller, less expensive 3-D printers are unlocking the ability for more people to be part of the maker movement.
FOOD / BEVERAGE
Napa Valley tastemakers are giving traditional wine sellers a run for their money.
KISSmetrics has crunched customer data for AOL, Foursquare, Microsoft, and other major companies.
The video game of the future just might remind you of toys of the past. Sifteo cubes give tactile appeal to technology.
CROWDSOURCING / COLLABORATION
The online hosting service makes it easy for millions of developers to create and share software projects.
SPORTS / RECREATION
NumberFire has built data models that have outdone the experts at ESPN.