THE BLOG

8 Innovations That Caught My Eye

03/06/2015 02:48 pm ET | Updated May 06, 2015

When you stop and think about how much innovation has impacted your life, it is easy to see just how much it affects us. Not only does innovation make our lives much more convenient, it also allows us to continue innovating. From new technology to new business models, innovation has changed the way we carry out both our daily and business lives. We owe a huge thank you to innovation because without it there's no way we could ever have the products, services, and models that we do today.

It takes innovative minds and innovative companies to come up with new ways of doing things. Everything from texting to having a phone to the way we order food is innovative. Here are eight innovations that caught my eye.

1.The City of Portage

On a regular basis I tour and experience startups in incubators and accelerators around the country. These incubators/accelerators all have an exciting buzz, interesting startups, some actually innovative; but I just experienced something that blew me away... Steven Sobiek, the Business Development and Planning Director of the City of Portage Wisconsin, where my farm is located, invited me to tour the P.E.C. or Portage Enterprise Center. What the city has done here, considering it's a town of 10,000 people about 45 minutes outside of Madison, is phenomenal. The city has worked with MATC or the Madison Area Technical College, to house some of their classes onsite, grooming the next generation of digital manufacturing skills and entrepreneurs. I was absolutely amazed that the most innovative grouping of education, business, and resources that I have seen in the past year, was right in my backyard in a town that is hitting WAY above its weight class!

2.Sorc'd

Have you ever been on your way to work and found some extremely interesting information? Did you assume that you would be able to remember where you saw it, who wrote it, which article it was? Sorc'd is the answer to your "I'll just remember it," issues. Sorc'd is the easiest way to capture and recall snippets of relevant content by saving it in your profile with the original link and the source where you found it. By providing a private, cloud-based environment, people are able to capture, share, and recall snippets of important information for both personal and business use.

3.OWNONLY

Everyone buys clothes, but not everyone buys clothes with a perfect fit. Why? Because it is next to impossible to buy a suit from a department store that fits like a glove and needs no alterations. OWNONLY is revolutionizing the way that people shop for, customize, and wear suits. As an online retailer, their team is able to provide customized suits to anyone, in a realistic price range. Style is just as important as fit, which is exactly why OWNONLY allows you to customize virtually anything you want in your suit -- from pockets to buttons to the lining color. Simply select your suit, choose custom options, and measure; the rest is up to OWNONLY.

4.HearNotes

For those of us who are audiophiles or even enthusiasts, we are constantly balancing technology, quality, and cost. HearNotes, who just debuted their product at CES, is doing just that with their new wireless earbuds. While other manufacturers offer wire free earbuds, they aren't doing it like this. HearNotes utilizes KLEER wireless audio format, an over-ear hook, and no plug-in conductive recharging. While my wife is the gadget geek in our family, I am the audio enthusiast -- and you can rest assured that I am picking up a pair of these as soon as they are available to the public in a month or so. As CEO Patrick Donohue said, HearNotes is all about "Delighting the customer with fashion and fidelity... and raising the bar by unveiling the WireFree listening experience that wireless should be."

5.Illuminate

It is easy to jump into a venture without knowing exactly who your target audience is, what they like, and what interests them. Illuminate solves this issue for marketers and entrepreneurs by offering automated market research. Their service tests products and services to identify who the target market is. It also allows you to test things based on real target consumer's responses, which gives you the competitive edge to improve and build upon your product or service.

6. Helix Health

Helix Health is making bold moves in the health care and IT services market by creating a platform that addresses the motivations of numerous constituencies within the health care space. For patients, the Helix Health platform allows patients to partake not only in regular care via telemedicine, but also have around the clock access to medical professionals and specialists. It also gives patients the ability to have a complete and interoperable electronic record of their health that they can also send to new health care providers. From the medical professional side, Helix Health allows for busy medical practices to get back to what matters most -- serving greater patient demands, increasing practice profitability, and compliance with governmental regulations and IT compliance structures.

7.TourBeat

Tired of looking for the best available seats at the best available prices for concerts? TourBeat solves this issue by aggregating concert tickets from different providers around the web and giving customers a platform to find exactly what they are looking for. Rather than making commissions from repeat sales, TourBeat offers a membership program that will be valued at the same price as an average commission. This will allow customers to purchase at rates that are commission free for the rest of the year. Imagine being able to buy a concert ticket while only having to pay the service fee once and never having to pay it again for the rest of the year -- TourBeat does just that.

8.Advanced Events

What comes first, innovation or disruption? One could easily claim that disruption is readily adopted when frustration already exists, and a more acceptable alternative is presented. Disruption is welcomed with open arms when the process or outcome is simply better than before. For many organizations, meetings and events are widely practiced as a habit of marketing or operations. Advanced Events believes clients should expect more. There is incredible untapped power within event engagements, that when used correctly, ignites business growth. Advanced Events' process of using "Beyond Your Event" design methodology fundamentally shifts the expectation for an event engagement to yield tangible results that matter far beyond the event.

It's companies like these that make our life easier and more convenient than ever before. Without innovative minds and companies, we wouldn't even be looking at a blog like this. So, I ask you, where would we be without innovation?