Springwise: The Epicenter of Great Ideas

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h1Entrepreneurs are more important than ever, and it's fair to say that they are rising to the challenge around the world.

Chris Turner, Springwise

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If you're looking for entrepreneurs and great ideas, Springwise is teeming with both. Fueled by a network of 15,000 idea spotters, Springwise's community of volunteer editors scan the globe for smart new business ideas, delivering instant inspiration to entrepreneurial minds. For a sample, check out the Top 10 Business Ideas and Opportunities 2012 post. "Ideas worth stealing, I call them," writes Seth Godin, curator of the SAY 100 business channel where he picked Springwise managing director Chris Turner as one of his top business voices.

Before joining Springwise, Chris was head of research at Trendwatching.com (another great source of entrepreneurial ideas) and is an expert on innovation and entrepreneurship. And yes, he's only 27.

We checked in with him to see what motivates his army of idea spotters and what's on his radar right now.

You have a network of 15,000+ people who scan the globe for smart new business ideas. How many submissions do you get a day (or month/year) and what's the signal to noise ratio? We receive around 200 submissions each week, and we provide very clear guidelines for our spotters, which helps to keep the quality as high as possible. Of course, we only pick the very best to be featured each day.

Why do most Springspotters contribute ideas they’ve spotted? What motivates them? A combination of reasons. Some spotters simply get a kick out of being ahead of the curve, while some enjoy seeing their name at the end of a popular article. We also reward our spotters with points, allowing them to claim a selection of gifts as reward for their efforts - so that helps motivate them as well!

Where do the best ideas typical come from? Any trends you seen in who contributes and from where? Ideas can come from anywhere. Most submissions do come from the U.S. and Europe, but we've worked to expand the network globally and we're seeing some really interesting ideas from emerging economies. We always try to feature ideas that have a truly global appeal.

Give us some examples of things that have been spotted – what are the coolest things you've seen recently? There are so many! In one day for example, we wrote about a personal solar charging system that shares details of your CO2 savings online, a social network for autistic children, and a hotel for the deceased in Japan.

Any all-time greatest ideas that have come to light on Springwise first? We've covered a huge range of businesses, some of which have gone on to great success, and some of which have failed. The important thing, as far as we're concerned, is the idea itself and the inspiration that it provides for other entrepreneurs.

You've been trendwatching for awhile– any observations about big trends in the entrepreneurial world right now? The most important trend to highlight right now is that innovation and entrepreneurship are not slowing down! Considering the economic situation, entrepreneurs are more important than ever, and it's fair to say that they are rising to the challenge around the world.

You’re an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur. What's best your advice for people reading this who think they have a great idea? Start by testing your idea, talking about it to friends and family to check you're onto something. If that's the case, then just do it!

Follow Chris and his army of idea finders on Twitter @springwise