On one end of the product design spectrum we have idiots making USB-powered sandwich warmers, i.e. useless junk that no one asked for and that hopefully does not turn a profit. On the other end we have Vestergaard-Frandsen.
Chances are you've not heard of the company, but you've probably heard of the LifeStraw, a plastic cylinder fitted with a filter that those in less developed countries can use to drink water--even from puddles--safely. Vestergaard-Frandsen manufactures the LifeStraw and a host of other products that are both innovative and seek to better the lives of poor people around the world.
The New York Times takes a look at the fascinating story behind the company. It will remind you how much of what we design is frivolous!