Tag Archives: social responsibility

Handle With Care

You probably know this saying – “Necessity is the mother of invention.” And if ever the world needed new inventions, it’s now!

In this time of quarantine during the global Covid-19 pandemic, people around the world worry about infection on a daily basis. Even during stay-at-home restrictions, we still need to venture out to buy supplies. Routine trips to the stores usually involve the need to touch handles, and that make us worry about the transmission of virus via surfaces. Sure, we can wear gloves, but door-handles in public places can facilitate the spread of contagions.

Clean-energy company Fortum in Finland has created a new door-handle that can be used with arms (instead of germy hands). It is a door-handle supplement that attaches to existing door-handles and lets people open the door with a sleeved arm instead of a hand. Made of recycled plastic, Fortum Vipu is intended to help prevent the spread of disease. (The name ‘Vipu’ is short for ‘virus protection unit’.)

The devices are made from a recycled plastics material called Fortum Circo and are produced using 3D printing. The company is now testing the handles in a real retail environment in grocery stores in Finland. If all goes as planned, production can be quickly expanded. The data and feedback gained from the trial will be used to further the design and innovation of devices.

Inventions – keep it up!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the various concerns that students have about transmission of virus.
  2. What are the ways in which stores are combatting the spread of virus and ensuring the safety of customers?
  3. Show the video of the door-handle attachment: https://youtu.be/2fuTMAoli0g
  4. The Website can be viewed for more details: https://www.fortum.com/vipu/
  5. How can this device be used in other environments?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team brainstorm a solution to a common problem such as contaminated door-handles.
  7. Teams can also do research about other solutions to this problem.

Source: Ad Week

 

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Celebrating Everyday Heroes

We tend to think of heroes as extraordinary people who can fly through the skies, leap tall buildings, and vanquish evil doers. That is still true. However, given the difficult times today dealing with the coronavirus, we can see heroes wherever we look – people who risk their lives in the service of others during this global pandemic. The ordinary things that we once took for granted now deserve extra respect and thanks; to the health care providers who risk infection, to the delivery truck drivers, and grocery store employees who interact with us every day to make sure we have the food and supplies we need.

To honor these everyday heroes who support us, Mattel and Fisher-Price have launched a special edition collection of 16 action figures that commemorate doctors, nurses, EMTs, delivery drivers, and  a five-figure Little People Community Champions set that also include grocery workers. These are our neighbors and friends who keep our communities up and running. The action figures are part of a campaign named #ThankYouHeroes and the proceeds go to #FirstRepondersFirst initiative created to support first responders.

Mattel is also producing face shields and masks, plus has donated toys to nonprofit partners around the world, and launched the ‘Mattel Playroom’ as an online resource for caregivers to help keep children entertained at home.

Celebrate the heroes in your life.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the various ways in companies can take actions to improve their social responsibility in the pandemic.
  2. Show a video of the new product line: https://youtu.be/kC9NnIRRUjQ
  3. View Mattel’s Website: https://www.mattel.com/en-us/playroom-thankyouheroes?icid=plp_body-1_aspot_thank-you-heroes_p1
  4. Divide students into teams. Have students search the Internet for examples of how companies are responding to virus and helping to prevent illness and protect workers.
  5. What additional ideas do students have for companies to help communities?

Source: Ad Week; CBS News; CNN; additional news sources

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Aira Service at Target Stores to Help Visually-Impaired Shoppers

At this busy holiday season, consider the (seemingly) simple task of shopping done by an able-bodied consumer. Now consider the same shopping task for someone who has a visual impairment. It must be a much more complex and time-consuming process, and is likely often frustrating waiting for assistance from store employees. After all, not everything can, or should, be done online. For many purchases, shoppers want to feel materials, sniff the freshness of produce, or have more information about the item.

Enter a service from technology company Aira and combine it with Target’s retail stores. Aira connects people who are blind or have impaired vision with highly-trained professionals who help provide visual information on demand via smartphones or wearable devices. The service blends wearables and smart phones with artificial intelligence and augmented reality. Aira’s mission is to make visual information accessible to anyone, anytime, and anywhere.

Target’s accessibility team worked with Aira to deploy a pilot program to 600 Target stores in 13 different markets. Shoppers in those areas can use Aira for free on a smart phone to receive on-demand information while shopping. Shoppers sign on with the Aira app and connect with customer service agents working remotely. The agents use the phone’s camera to guide shoppers through the store and describe items in detail.

The Aira service is also available at more than 40 airports and major public transit systems and college campuses. Not only can Aira agents provide direction and information, they can also read ingredients on boxes, understand color options, and have graphics described.

Now that’s progress.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the consumer buying process.
  2. While the buying process may vary slightly for different products and target markets, the basic 5-step process remains the same: problem recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision, and post-purchase behavior.
  3. How does the process change for visually-impaired consumers?
  4. Show information about Aira: https://aira.io/
  5. Videos are available on the Aira video channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvTWpoo6BVrn2pOFreWQGGw
  6. Information on how to use Aira at Target: https://aira.io/target
  7. How should the Aira services be marketed?

 

 

Source:  Kumar, K. (6 December 2019). Target offers free service for visually impaired shoppers at 600 stores for holidays. Minneapolis Star Tribune.

 

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