WIKIPEDIA is often criticised as a questionable source of reliable information.
But when it comes to defining the word innovation, it is bang on the money.
The online encyclopaedia describes it as “a change in the thought process for doing something” and then makes reference to British innovation expert Max McKeown’s assertion that innovation is “new stuff that is made useful”.
Two Sunshine Coast men have embodied the concept of innovation, taking some interesting “new stuff” to market.
Robert Simmonds is managing director of Zeumic, a national computing company that specialises in websites and multimedia.
He has devised a merchant services product that can be used as a simple online invoicing tool by any business that charges customers for a service or product.
It is in place on his company website.
Customers click on “credit card” under the payments tab on the bottom right-hand corner of the home page.
That brings up a screen that calls for the customer to enter a description and an invoice total in dollars.
The next screen calls for PayPal-linked billing information. And then, you are done.
“It is so easy, it defies belief,” Mr Simmonds said.
“That’s the innovation.
“Every single company needs this so they can get paid via the internet.
“The difference is you can have any kind of invoice for a mix of products and services but all you need is the total.
“I hear people say ‘I don’t need a website. I’m a plumber’.
“But you do so you can accept payments from the invoices you give to your clients.
“We are making the connection between your website and PayPal.
“You will see it all in your PayPal records and then transfer it immediately back to your bank account.
“You also get an immediate notification on email or on your mobile phone that a payment has come through. About 70% of our clients pay us through this gateway.
“It’s also a good way to offset bad debt so, instead of us chasing them for invoice payment, it’s their credit card company doing the chasing.
“You don’t have to go through all the headaches banks put you through.
“It’s hassle free and it can be set up within two hours.
“I can’t stress how easy it would be for a lot of businesses, especially ones that are starting out or are small.”
The tool costs $99 for a standard set-up.
Mr Simmonds said the concept had been slow to take off because of the “understandability” barrier, and that the only drawback was the PayPal surcharge (1-2.5%), which a business could choose to pass on to the customer or absorb.
Palmwoods man Gordon Cramer, from the Small Business Learning Centre, has developed three products that put a website framework, a site-within-a-site capability and a learning management system on to a USB flash drive.
“The website on a stick is a full website on a USB stick and it comes complete with tutorials that go with it,” he said.
“But if people just want the website they can get that, too.
“Then they can build their site, put it onto the web or put it onto a CD or another flash drive.
“The content creation tool is called Joomla.
“There are more than 10million downloads of that around the world and it produces some leading websites.
“You can go and access lots of free tools, you can put shops in there or a forum or a blog for nothing, and it’s good quality.”
Mr Cramer said the products, which cost $27.50 (site within a site), $59.50 (website on a stick) or nothing (the learning management system), and are available at www.sblc.com.au, were aimed at home-based micro or small business with a minimal online budget.
He said the learning management system was garnering interest from a range of sectors.
“The learning management system enables you to take all of your learning with you wherever you go,” he said.
“So people in the navy or mining who are away on deployment who have access to computers but not necessarily access to the internet, can do their course work.
“One of the big issues in the UK is the prison population who, of course, don’t have access to the internet, but they still want to learn.
“And the site-within-a-site product builds a website inside a website, or you can put multiple sites in.
“I use that for e-learning applications for anyone who wants to buy an e-learning course.”