Venture your sports Kinetic energy solution in the city of Cáceres

To meet its sustainability agenda, the city of Cáceres (Spain) is seeking products and solutions to capture the movement generated at municipal sports facilities to generate renewable energy. The city invites companies worldwide to submit their solutions before 17th February to the  Living Labs Global Award 2012. Cáceres wishes to convert the energy created by citizens in sports facilities

Cáceres aims at having the kinetic energy set free by exercise converted into electricity through a device embedded in sports facilities or gym equipment such as the running surface. The city seeks to collect sufficient energy in accumulators that can be used to supplement existing lighting or other systems, or feed back into the grid. Further, devices may be able to measure the energy savings that will be produced and feed such data to a central management system that may also provide custom energy reports to athletes and citizens (more information here).

Submissions to the Award are free of charge and the winner of the Cáceres category will be invited to pilot the solution in the city, with full support from local stakeholders to evaluate the solution before a full-scale roll-out.

Last year’s winners of the Living Labs Global Award include, for example, Bitcarrier, a company that managed to  a pilot implementation of its CitySolver Technology to monitor traffic within 3 months of winning the Living Labs Global Award, and a public procurement within just 6 months.

How to submit:

Entries can be submitted online on until 17th February.

International juries will evaluate the entries and provide a shortlist of the top 100 showcases on 5th March. Winners will be announced on 2nd May 2012 at the Award Ceremony during the networking Rio Summit on Service Innovation in Cities, for which all participants are invited.

About the Living Labs Global Award 2012:

Living Labs Global, a non-profit association promoting innovative solutions in cities around the world, is organising the 2012 edition of the Living Labs Global Award in cooperation with the cities of Barcelona, Birmingham, Caceres, Cape Town, Coventry, Derry~Londonderry, Eindhoven, Fukuoka, Glasgow, Guadalajara, Hamburg, Lagos, Lavasa, Kristiansand, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Rome-Lazio, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Santiago de Chile and Terrassa.

Together with these 21 cities, the Living Labs Global Award 2012 aims to provide a market opportunity to innovative solutions with the aim of helping over 110 million citizens in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe.

For more information, please contact:

Miguel Carvalho 

Tel.: +34 93 1855110 Twitter: @LivingLabsAward Facebook:

Gym Pact

The growing popularity of Groupon in the past year has drawn attention to business models centered around principals of behavioral economics. In this vein, Gym-Pact, a new gym membership model, offers customers deals and discounts on yoga studios and fitness centers with a catch—if the customer misses a workout or a yoga class they pay a fine. Gym-Pact’s founders, recent 2010 Harvard Grads Yifan Zhang and Geoff Oberhofer, refer to these fines as “motivational fees”. At the initial signup, the customer agrees to a certain number of workouts per week and the fee to be charged if they don’t show (the company sets a minimum of at least one workout per week and $10 per absence). Since keeping accurate attendance information at gyms can be difficult, Gym-Pact and the participating vendors developed a text-message based password system; a changing password is kept at the front desk that the customer has to text-in to get credit for showing up. The seed of the idea apparently occurred to Zhang in her behavioral economics class at Harvard. People, Zhang learned, are more motivated by immediate consequences (in this case a financial penalty) than potential long-term payoffs (the benefits of regular exercise). Financial motivation seems like a good way to get people off the couch and into the gym, but is it a sustainable business model? Oberhofer is quoted in The Boston Globe saying, “We don’t want to profit off people’s failures.” The motivational fees, along with the fee paid if a customer leaves the program early, currently go towards paying for access to the fitness centers and building a financial aid fund. So how does Gym-Pact plan to turn a profit? Oberhofer claims through eventual referral fees and revenue sharing programs with the local fitness centers.

Though it’s not clear just yet if there are enough people out there who will actually sign up to pay fines when they decide to skip a workout in order make the system profitable. Gym-Pact also runs the risk of over-filling local gyms with discount-hungry consumers. Some popular Groupon merchants have had their resources stretched in this way. But, like the long-term benefits of working out, profitability can be an eventual, future objective. A more immediate concern for Gym-Pact: getting up and running (the service is currently only offered in Boston). To that end, they could put some effort into redesigning their strikingly lackluster website ( “No-frills” might be a quality customers want in a gym, but for a company asking people to pay-up when they’re less than perfect, their online platform should at least inspire a little more confidence.