The Ideas are IN — Creating value from Unmatched Socks!


A few weeks ago, on the Stanford Innovation Lab podcast, we announced a challenge — to create as much value as possible, starting with unmatched socks! We received hundreds of submissions from around the world, including kids and adults across the US, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, and are delighted to share some of the most interesting ideas in the final episode of our podcast season.

Please check out this new Stanford Innovation Lab podcast to hear all about the ideas that were submitted. My guest host is Rich Cox, with whom I’ve taught for many years. We discuss how challenges such as this one stretch our students’ imagination by preparing them to look at old things in new ways, and we review the submissions for this challenge.

As expected, the “Unmatched Sock” challenge resulted in lots of incremental ideas, such as soft balls for indoor games and small bags to hold small items. There were also more creative ideas, such as using socks as reusable coffee filters, cell phone cases, and making them into mood bands by cutting the tops of colored socks into strips. And, there were really innovative ideas inspired by lost socks, including dating apps, mismatched sock-hop parties, and a campaign using unmatched socks to celebrate diversity, called “It’s OK to be different!”

Check out the podcast to hear about more of the ideas, and check out the submitted photos here! Also, please subscribe to Stanford Innovation Lab on iTunes to make sure to receive the next season when it is released.