News & Views

Most Contagious / 2013 Shortlists

by Contagious Team

Contagious announces the shortlists for its Most Contagious Design, Technology, Purpose, Retail, Service and Small But Perfectly Formed Companies

For the second year running, Contagious is proud to announce the shortlist for its Most Contagious Awards. The awards celebrate ideas and innovations that the Contagious editorial team have judged to be the world's most contagious ideas in key categories of business. This year, we will be celebrating the best work in Design, Technology, Purpose, Service, Retail and Small But Perfectly Formed companies. 


The design category takes in a range of brave, original and smart pieces of work, fromCoca-Cola's Sharing Can, which splits in two to 'spread happiness', to GDS' Infinity Tower in South Korea, which can blend into the skyline thanks to optical cameras and LED screens on the building's façade. Banksy gave a guerrilla masterclass in his month-long Better Out Than In takeover of New York, selling original paintings for bargain prices from a Central Park stall.  Colour+City also brought art to the streets, this time in Brazil. Colour+City matches street artists with vacant spots in the city available for graffiti, collaborating with Google Maps to visualise available locations online. 


Accessibility is key to our technology shortlist, with Google's Project Loon - a network of balloons floating 20km above earth to bring connectivity to hard-to-reach regions - and BRCK, a 'backup generator for the internet' from Nairobi-based open-source software company Ushahidi, both being shortlisted. Gaming disruption is celebrated in the form of Oculus VR's Oculus Rift. The low-latency headset allows gamers to enter the action, in 360-degrees, in real time. The final slot goes to Palo Alto startup Matternet, which is using unmanned-drone technology to build a delivery network of Grasshopper quadrocopters that can access even the hardest to reach sections of the world.


The Purpose category recognises brands delivering real, practical solutions to social problems in ways that are rooted in their products, services or operations. Coca-Cola's Ekocenters are transportable kiosks that provide communities in Africa, Asia, Latin America and North America with clean water and other development-supporting resources. Better Money Habits is a collaboration between Bank of America and Khan Academy to help educate people about their finances, Meanwhile, Toyota applied the kaizen principles of its production system - where many small improvements are made to a process in order to create a much larger overall impact - to help Metro Food Distribution work more efficiently in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Unilever soap brand Lifebuoy is on an impressive mission to save the lives of the 650,000 children who die every year before the age of five as a result of diarrhoeal infections. The Lifebuoy Handwashing Behaviour Change Programme aims to reach a billion consumers across Asia, Africa, and Latin America by 2015.


IGaranti is a suite of 23 different banking services contained within a central smartphone app from leading Turkish bank, Garanti. Courier DHL is piloting a platform in Stockholm where the city's residents are facilitating last-mile deliveries. The MyWays service lets members of the public deliver packages from online orders directly to end consumers.The delivery company is aiming to create a market for crowdsourced delivery, centred on its mobile app. InterRail created its own mobile phone operator to offer the cheapest data roaming rates in Europe to young travellers, fitting in neatly to the rail company's traditional offering of providing Europe-wide train travel for people under 20, who are often travelling on a tight budget. Dutch train operator Nederlandse Spoorwegen has developed a smartphone system that informs passengers about which carriages on incoming trains have free seats. Commuters can view information about their train before it arrives, including the location of particular carriages (quiet, first and second class), entrances for wheelchair and bicycle users and wifi details.


This year, brands have introduced customer-centric retail concepts and services that make shopping easier and more entertaining. Under Armour's 2,000 sq ft store in the Jing An Kerry Centre, Shanghai, highlights experience not product, concentrating on storytelling as the store's primary focus. Disney's RFID-enabled wristbands assist in the planning and tracking of each guest's visit to Disney's Parks & Resorts, helping to personalise the experience and acting as a payment mechanism and even room key at the resort. Vodafone Egypt proposed that vendors hand out its mobile phone credit micro-recharge cards instead of the low-value items, such as sweets, often offered by shopkeepers instead of small change. Vodafone positioned its cards as a new currency, named Fakka, which has helped the telco gain a wider distribution in Egypt. Finally, Emart's Sale Navigation tool was incorporated into South Korea's largest retailer's mobile app, guiding shoppers to nearby discounts in the store.

Small But Perfectly Formed

Our Small But Perfectly Formed shortlist celebrates a range of companies from around the world that are disrupting their categories and punching above their weight in terms of size and visibility. GoldieBlox is a toy construction set designed for girls, to encourage their interest in male-dominated fields including engineering, technology, science and mathematics. Everest is an OS mobile app that enables users to input the things they've always wanted to do and helps them to achieve them in manageable stages.Tinder, a mobile-first matchmaking up, was relatively unheard of at the start of the year, but is now making 1.5 million matches every day. Ninjablocks are physical blocks that act as brains, linking sensor networks (such as an RGB LED, temperature sensor and accelerometer at first) to the cloud, creating a network of connected products. Sherpaa has set out to revolutionise healthcare in the United States, acting as a broker that helps companies in procuring health insurance and then helps staff to use it in the best way possible. News aggregation site Upworthy has been called 'the fastest growing media company in the world' and uses smart algorithms to help editors determine not just what people are clicking on, but what they're sharing.
Winners will be announced at Most Contagious - our annual event taking place inLondon and New York on 11 December 2013. Purchase tickets via Eventbrite, or if you are a Contagious I/O (formerly Feed) or Magazine subscriber, contact to take advantage of your discount.


Banksy / Better Out Than In
Coca-Cola / The Coca-Cola Sharing Can, Ogilvy & Mather, Singapore, Ogilvy & Mather, Paris
GDS / Infinity Tower
Google / Colour+City, FLAG São Paulo  
Google / Project Loon, Google Creative Lab, New York
Oculus Rift 
Ushahidi, Inc. / BRCK


Bank of America, Khan Academy / Better Money Habits
Coca-Cola / Ekocenters, Coca-Cola, McCann Worldgroup, Clinton Global Initiative, New York
Lifebuoy / Help a Child Reach 5, Lowe Lintas & Partners, Mumbai
Toyota / Meals Per Hour, TSSC, Elanger, 360i, New York


Deutsche Post DHL / MyWays, Deutsche Post DHL Solutions & Innovation, Bonn, Passion Lab, Stockholm
Garanti / iGaranti
InterRail / InterRail Mobile, Havas Worldwide, Brussels
Nederlandse Spoorwegen / Instapp, M-Lab, Utrecht


Disney Parks & Resorts / Magicband, Walt Disney Imagineering
Emart / Emart Sale Navigation, Cheil Worldwide, Seoul
Under Armour / The Under Armour Experience, Shanghai, Tight Shirt Productions, Balitmore, Hush, Marc Thorpe Design, New York
Vodafone Egypt / Fakka, JWT, Cairo