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An app allowing people to share ideas when high wins over $13K grand prize

Nov 11, 2022 | Media Partners, The GrowthOp

This post is presented by our media partner The Growth Op
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Insphigher is this year’s winner of the Cannabis Start-Up Competition by Boston University

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Do you ever feel creative when high and need to share all that awesome imagination, originality and sheer genius? The winner of Boston University’s (BU) sixth annual Innovate@BU Cannabis Start-Up Competition may soon have an app that fits the bill.

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The cheekily yet accurately named Insphigher app is the brainchild of BU communications alumnus Isabelle “Belle” Bryan, according to BU Today, the university’s daily website for breaking news, research stories and coverage of campus life.

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As is the case with some of the best ideas, Bryan’s view was simple and straightforward: create an idea-sharing app for cannabis consumers to explore and share their creativity with others.

Need for pulling together fragmented online cannabis communities

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In her pitch statement, Bryan wrote that not only are online cannabis communities fragmented, disorganized and unattractive, most social media apps use photos and video, “which not only has a negative affect mental health, but is cliché at this point,” and no such cannabis app for sharing and collaborating currently exists.

The solution, as Bryan noted in the pitch, was to create an app that would allow like-minded users (and stoned) participants a forum on which they could “bring ideas to life, and maybe even get rewarded for it.”

For Bryan, it was a proposed solution that paid off big. She was honoured with the US$10,000 ($13,300) grand prize for the inspired idea.

She received those top honours after all four finalists presented their ideas for cannabis-ancillary startups — which BU Today describes as “companies or ideas that support the cannabis industry, but don’t come in direct contact with cannabis plants” — to a panel of judges. In all, each team had six minutes to make its pitch, and judges had six minutes to ask questions.

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Bryan came out on top, explaining that she would like to bring together online cannabis communities so weed lovers can have a user-friendly platform that allows them to share, collaborate and interact. Additionally, the idea would be to host monthly challenges and offer rewards for the best ideas.

A little guidance may help bring the app idea to the next level

Beyond the cash, though, the grand prize also provides Bryan with free consulting services from competition sponsor, Denver-based Green Lion Partners, a business strategy firm focused on early stage development in the regulated cannabis industry, to help take her business idea to the next level.

Owned by BU alumni, Green Lion reports on its website that teams entering the competition must have at least current BU student or alumni, as well as, ideally, being an ancillary idea or company, as is the case with such things as software, services, accessories and agricultural products.

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Green Lion, co-founded by Jeff Zucker and Mike Bologna, also requires applicants to explain how social equity be integrated into the business. Zucker says they must “have some sort of social component to their work to show that they are making a positive impact helping to reduce the stigma of cannabis,” BU Today reports.

Green Lion Partners founders Jeff Zucker (Questrom’10) (left) and Mike Bologna (Questrom’10) present Isabelle Bryan with a US$10,000 cheque for her startup Insphigher at Innovate@BU’s sixth annual Cannabis Start-Up Competition finale on November 8. /
Green Lion Partners founders Jeff Zucker (Questrom’10) (left) and Mike Bologna (Questrom’10) present Isabelle Bryan with a US$10,000 cheque for her startup Insphigher at Innovate@BU’s sixth annual Cannabis Start-Up Competition finale on November 8. / Photo by Cydney Scott, Boston University

Bryan told the website the app would “work to create educational programs to all community members when it comes to cannabis safety and knowledge, regardless of race, gender, income, ability or zip code.”

‘Ideas are infinite,’ award winner says

“Ideas are infinite. We have them all the time. At work, at home, in the shower before bed,” according to BU Today. “Cannabis is known to inspire ideation in particular,” she said, adding that the money will be used to develop the app and get it one step closer to becoming a reality.

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Whether or not people are more creative when high — a long-held view among cannabis lovers, including a number of A-listers like Lady Gaga and Seth Rogen — recent research suggests the jury may still be out on that point.

“While we expected that cannabis-induced joviality would result in people thinking that their ideas and others’ ideas are more creative, we were surprised that cannabis-induced joviality did not lead to more actual creativity,” lead author Yu Tse Heng, an assistant professor in the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia, says of two recently completed studies.

Investigators did not find any significant upticks in creativity related to pot euphoria in either study, but they didn’t witness dips, either, per UVA Today. Despite that finding, though, “respondents thought they were being more creative, and they thought other people’s ideas were more creative as well.

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Research out of the Washington State University, released in early 2021, suggested weed use “may have some benefits in the early brainstorming stages of the venture ideation process,” but it remains key to ground creativity in reality to successfully launch a new company.

Wherever one comes down on the creativity question, it’s clear the judges thought Bryan’s idea had legs, pointing out in the competition information that applicants should make sure the concept isn’t already available on the market.

We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with feedback and story tips at thegrowthop@postmedia.com

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