The Eco-Friendly Notebook Created by MBA Students
When you hear someone talking about an eco-friendly notebook these days, you might wonder if they’re referencing a mobile device like a tablet that is energy-efficient, requiring less charging for increased hours of battery life, or one that has a recycled plastic frame, just for example. Notebooks are no longer the wasteful, paper-filled products of old; they’re electronic gadgets that can do a lot more than offer you a place to jot down notes, take a phone message, or scribble the beginnings of the next great American novel. However, even with the capabilities offered by technological advances, such as the ability to carry an entire library in a device that weighs less than a pound, there are still plenty of people beholden to their upbringing and the familiarity of putting a pen to paper. Luckily, some MBA students have come up with a way to make this prospect paperless and do some good for the environment in the process.
If you’re the type that prefers the control of using a pen to write rather than swiping your finger across a touchscreen or trying to type on an extra-small keypad with iffy auto-correct, then you’ll be happy to hear that there’s a solution that meets your needs without furthering deforestation. And it’s all thanks to the efforts of a group of MBA students from the University of Ottawa in Canada; Frank Bouchard, Toby Maurice, and Thomas Sychterz. While working on a class assignment, the group came up with the idea to take the dry erase board mobile with a product known as the Wipebook. And thanks to a successful campaign on Kickstarter that has exceeded their $4,000 ask by a huge margin (bringing in nearly $250,000 in funding to date), it looks like this popular concept will soon come to market. But how is it different than the small dry-erase board you slap on your fridge?
The product is unique in that it features not a single, stiff white board, as you might expect, but rather 25 double-sided, lined (or blank, or grid) pages in a bound, 8.5×11 notebook that just happens to feature dry-erase technology rather than paper. So you can write, erase, and write again. But you can also save your work for a while if you so choose, thanks to multiple pages. Further, the team says that they’ve solved the issue of “ghosting” that has plagued white board products in the past, whereby ink that has been erased leaves faint traces on the dry-erase surface. And unlike your average bound notebook, where pages have to be torn out, this one allows for easy unbinding just in case you want to scan the notes on your pages for digital storage before you erase them.
The creators of Wipebook are touting their product as “the last notebook you’ll ever need”, and the initial release of the product is planned for January 2014, with a mini version to follow. Although there has been a lot of interest in the product, it still remains to be seen whether or not it will find a lasting niche between paper notepads and tablets (and whether it will hold up under ongoing usage). Either way, it’s a good start for a group of college students who created a class project and ended up forming their own company. For MBA students from http://www.onlinemba.umd.edu to Harvard Business School, this type of success story is certainly motivational. And hopefully the Wipebook team will parlay their early ingenuity into more creative projects down the road.