Elly Strang

Elly Strang

Deputy editor

Elly is Idealog's deputy editor and resident dog enthusiast. She enjoys travelling, tea, good books, and writing about exciting ideas and cool entrepreneurs.

Idealog’s top 10 best least-read stories of 2017

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Idealog’s top 10 best least-read stories of 2017

As is the way with publishing, Idealog unleashed some top-notch stories on the world this year, as well as, admittedly, some not-so-great ones. But in between those two extremes sits the great-yet-not-well-read stories that didn’t reach as many eyeballs as they deserved to. So, in our reflection of the year that was, here’s 10 weird and wonderful stories that didn’t top the charts, but we think deserve a second look.

Urban renewal

The rise of fast-casual dining is having an influence on some of the most well known fast food restaurant chains in the business – most recently, fried chicken giant KFC. It opened up an urban restaurant on Fort St in Auckland’s CBD earlier this year. We spoke to the creative branding and design company Saturday about the thinking behind the new space.

Meeting your match

How do you break the stereotype of the younger generation that’s been labelled lazy, self-entitled and reckless with money (hello, $15 smashed avocado on toast) and help them do some social good? You create an app akin to the world’s most popular dating platform, Tinder, that connects volunteers with charities and social causes. Collaborate co-founder Holly Norton explains her app, how it’s smashing Millennial stereotypes and how people actually do want to do volunteer work, it’s just the process that’s hard.

Designing the invisible

As our cities become denser, the role public space plays in thriving urban areas cannot be underestimated. That’s the message Wall Street Journal’s 2013 design innovator of the year and Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects principal Thomas Woltz says – and he believes Auckland, our densest city, is doing an extraordinary job of it.

Cultural DNA

There is a well-known Māori proverb that goes as follows: ‘He aha te mea nui o te ao – What is the most important thing in the world? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata – It is the people, it is the people, it is the people’. It’s this line of thinking that has been incorporated into the design of the new Māori Television building by RCG architects from the ground up. We talk with RCG associate director Andy Florkowski about how they weaved cultural elements into a corporate building.

Elevator pitch

When Snells Beach locals Kate and Mark Gatt set out to create a cognitive behavioural therapy app, they soon realised it was no small venture to embark on. Two years later, the Gatts, many therapists and a developer have built an app that helps those struggling with mental issues combat negative thoughts. We talked with Mark Gatt about the journey the duo has been on, and where they hope to take Thinkladder next.

There's an app for that...

It can be hard to track down the right person for odd jobs around the home – sometimes it’s a matter of crowdsourcing through friends, while other times it involves painfully trawling through Google search and comparing prices. But a New Zealand made app called Tradee has launched today that promises to get rid of all these pain points and connect homeowners with tradespeople in their area, and it has two young entrepreneurs at the helm. Co-founder and CEO Alexandre Vaz gives us the lowdown.

On the grind

New Zealand is well known for being home to producers of high-quality coffee, but the team over at Supreme may have taken this to all new heights. The coffee roaster has branched into a niche retail market and engineered a pro-edition pair of ‘Barista Socks’, which promise the wearer will brew ‘cups of excellence’. Idealog investigates the dubious testimonials backing up this product. Plus: Read on to win a pair of Barista Socks and some Supreme coffee.

The bots are coming

Putting AI and ethics in the same sentence can make anyone who’s watched an episode of Westworld or Black Mirror squeamish, as is the friction that comes with humans and futuristic tech. But as someone who’s at the forefront of international AI developments, Microsoft’s global AI leader David Heiner says there are many initiatives underway to ensure ethical disasters don’t play out. And he says the social good AI can do for humanity should get more airtime, too.

State of flux

With so many accelerators and incubators in the New Zealand market right now, entrepreneurs would be forgiven for being overwhelmed by choice. But an Icehouse initiative called Flux has just completed its first cohort, and wants to change the game when it comes to the traditional accelerator model. We talk with accelerator manager Clinton Geissler about how it's shaking up the usual formula.