Toyota has launched a new innovation contest called Why Not?. Via a charming little website - complete with pretty graphics, a slick, 3-D interface, and the soothing music of waterfalls and birdsong - the carmaker is inviting people to suggest ways to improve our air, land, water, and communities.
Naturally, the submitted ideas vary in their complexity and ingenuity. Some are simple but obvious in hindsight - in the sense of "Wow, why have I never thought of that?" Other ideas are far more complicated and would demand completely new technologies. Users can vote on the various ideas, share them with friends, and even make a personal commitment to a particular idea.
For its part, Toyota is using the site to promote its own environmental innovations and to gather (and perhaps commercialize) new ideas. There's also a contest element; the prizes for the best ideas include a tour of a Toyota manufacturing plant and a trip to New York to meet with influential innovators.