You know the feeling when an idea comes to your mind and you just can’t seem to get it out of your head. And what if your idea could save lives?
I have always liked FORBES magazine’s slogan: idea, business, story. If you take these three seemingly unrelated words and combine it into one concept, they will completely change your life. As you have probably guessed by now, everything starts with an idea, that’s how things work. And how did we come up with our idea?
“The important thing is to never stop questioning.”
Whether you are a driver or not, I am sure you have already seen a car with its flashers (also known as hazard lights) turned on. Every driver must have already used them at least once. Maybe you stopped on a roadside because you had a flat tire. Or you stopped in front of a shop when you were waiting for your wife, you had to make a phone call or enter an address into your GPS system. Turning on the hazard lights is actually quite common.
One day, my colleagues and I were driving back from a company event and, suddenly, we had to slow down. We got into a traffic jam; we were driving probably 30-40 mph. The first car in the tailback was a silver sedan zigzagging in the lane. After a while, the car moved to the roadside and turned the flashers on. We all overtook the car and my colleagues and I started discussing why the driver stopped. We almost immediately thought: What if the sedan’s driver was in distress? Had we known it for sure, we would have definitely stopped and helped. It’s not just our legal obligation, it’s our moral obligation. But how do you let others know that you’re having a heart attack, hypoglycemia, epileptic fit, or that you’ve been stung by a bee and got a severe allergic reaction? The phone is on the back seat somewhere in your bag, you may be losing conscience, sight or sense of coordination. Sometimes, everything happens too quickly and you just don’t have the strength to call an ambulance. What can you do?
We wanted to create something to let passers-by know that you are in danger and in need of help. Another factor was that whatever we come up with needs to be understandable all over the world and easy to use. Remember Morse code? Remember the famous SOS distress signal that you usually see in movies or maybe you’ve been taught to use at a summer camp? To make it easy to use, we took the most visible components already included in the car – headlights and tail lights, and to add sound to the signal, we used the car horn. And so the idea started to come to life. If it can save at least one life, then our work was meaningful.