This month has been a little crazy for me. One of my many stops was an event at Daimler headquarters in Stuttgart where I had the chance to spend a few hours at the Mercedez Benz museum. When we were dropped off I remember thinking 3 hours…what am I going to do in a car museum for three hours?? I picked up my audio guide (which apparently has 13 hours of information contained in it) and took the elevator to the top floor of the building where the self guided tour begins. For the next three hours I slowly made my way down the spiral building, starting with the invention of the car and the first models all the way down to the basement where the concept cars of the future were housed.

Believe it or not I didn’t get through everything and I blame it on the audio guide. The guide is a small mechanism that you point at an object you want to learn more about, click the button and then listen to the commentary. For each object you have 4 options of commentary. The first is Technology which goes through the specifications of the item you just clicked (I assume, I didn’t touch that button …). Second is fundamentals which gives you a little bit of an overview of both the car, the moment in history that it was born in and some interesting anecdotes about that specific car and its owners. third you can choose social trends which doesn’t really talk about the car at all but what was happening in society at the time that car was in circulation. Finally there is a special button for children which says all this in a more upbeat, lighter tone. It was addictive, I wanted to learn more and clicked everything I could click on until I stopped in the lobby to write this blog.

As a consumer one of the challenges I face is wanting to pick sustainable brands and products. Some I know well but, and in particular when I move to a new country or am traveling, others I don’t know at all. It is often frustrating standing in the supermarket staring at a row of products and wanting to choose the right one but not knowing the difference. Labels are often overly complicated, unclear and sometimes even misleading. Is that green dish detergent really worth 4 times the price of that other one?

Could we not have a point and click device like Daimler has for everything? You could click on a product and get either a very indepth account of the sustainability strategies of that company, perhaps another button could talk about the ingredients and another button could be a very brief introductory commentary on the sustainability background of that product. I know Good Guide is starting to look at doing something like this through the iphone and the internet but having an audio guide could turn a trip to the supermarket into an experience, learning about 100+ year old companies or small family owned companies, learning exactly where those bananas came from and what kind of conditions they were grown in. You could click on one of 100s of ecolabels found on products on the aisles to get more information about what exactly (if anything) that label means. All this in real time through your headphones, just by pointing and clicking.