Seattle’s Big Ideas Belong On Big Napkins

The world knows about Amazon and Microsoft, but the startup scene in Seattle has also gotten quite a boost from all the talent the big boys are luring to town. As part of the new Bezos Center For Innovation at Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry, several of these startups have gotten a big – oversized, you might say – spotlight thanks to an innovative idea from local agency Copacino + Fujikado.

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Often, when you meet someone involved with a startup, you come away thinking, “So what the hell do they really do?” So ten startups, chosen in conjunction with local online pub Geekwire, were given giant six-foot “napkins” to sketch an idea that represents their business in its simplest form.

One startup, SNUPI Technologies, used their napkin to outline the genesis of their new product Wally – which uses a home’s electrical wiring as a giant antenna connected to sensor that can collect data and track condensation from water or appliance leaks. The idea grew from a series of events, outlined on the napkin, that began with noise overheard emanating from a wireless keyboard.

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The other startups also have equally compelling ideas—and napkins. If you’re going to promote a museum as interactive and innovative as MOHAI, the idea makes sense. For Copacino + Fujikado, the idea represents a way to “own the moment of innovation,” according to Mike Hayward, C+F’s Creative Director. And to generate some public participation, people were invited to sketch their ideas as well.

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Of course, any creative in advertising knows the best ideas sometimes come from napkin sketches. In the world of startups, that adage applies as well.

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About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.