by Mick Ryan At the recent Innovation for Extremes conference (see article: Innovation for Extremes, Mike Parsons and Alpkit Nick ) Mike Parsons said that the outdoor industry “Pushes, not pulls, ” meaning the outdoor companies push products to the consumer when in fact it could be better if outdoor users actually drove product innovation themselves. As Nick Smith from Alpkit said, “The industry can be driven more by what the consumer wants and needs rather than what we think you would like.” Well, Alpkit are doing just that with their National Innovation Award – Colab08, an outdoor product design competition that they are running in conjunction with the Ordnance Survey Outdoors Show. This is the brief: “Look, listen and learn. Come up with something great for the outdoors. It doesn´t have to be the next flashy gizmo, it could be a new type of climbing wall, a website to promote public transport to the hills or even a hypnosis course to give people a sense of direction.” The next stage is to submit your idea. In fact Alpkit have developed a sequence of events and provided resources to help those with ideas for outdoor products that begins at Base Camp and ends at the Summit.Camp One is submitting your idea. Camp Two is a selection process where your idea will be judged by manufacturers, journalists, professional outdoor athletes, and academics. The Summit will be held at the Ordnance Survey Outdoors Show next March where your product idea will be voted on by the assembled throng of outdoor types. The winner stands a good chance of their product going into production. All the details are at the Alpkit website www.alpkit.com/colab08 BUT…just to facilitate the process UKClimbing.com will be hosting a live discussion with the Alpkit team next Thursday, 11th October, between midday and 4pm.