Mail-Order Inspiration
By David Pescovitz

(Business 2.0) – Reading about new technology in A trade journal is OK, but seeing what a widget can actually do is better. That's the philosophy behind DesignAid, an eclectic "trade show in a box" that's shipped to subscribers every three months. Each issue contains samples of 20 new materials and technologies. "We look for objects that make the impossible possible," says Keith Schacht, co-founder of Chicago-based Inventables, which produces DesignAid. A $3,600 annual subscription includes four issues, cross-referenced with a design guide and a database of sourcing and technical specs. Subscribers include Herman Miller, General Motors, and Black & Decker. Below are some sample items from a recent issue and the ideas they sparked. -- DAVID PESCOVITZ