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🎁 Struggling for Christmas gift ideas? I asked 10 of the smartest and most future-focused people I know for help. Check out their sustainable, healthy, high-impact Christmas gift ideas here >>>

Bella Hadid was, in her own words (well, posted to Instagram Stories), “freaking the f out” out at the thought of NUGGS’ new spicy vegan chicken nuggets. She added “Guys, this isn’t an ad or anything. I found NUGGS on Instagram and I’m f******* addicted”. The brand, founded by 19-year old Australian Ben Pasternak, calls itself the Tesla of Chicken and playfully proclaims that its soy protein-derived nuggets will ‘kill you slower’. …


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Stock imagery doesn’t have a good reputation. Rather it’s usually only memorable for its awfulness. Exhibit A: the infamous distracted boyfriend meme. But the image below is from Stocksy, a premium stock photo site that attracts high calibre photographers and rejects many of the photos submitted by its members. The platform’s secret weapon? Its rates are nearly double those of traditional agencies, thanks to its unique cooperative status. The platform is owned — and managed — by its artists.


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One of the more eye-catching arguments in Yuval Noah Harari’s blockbuster Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind was that hunter-gatherers had a better quality of life before the Agricultural Revolution, with lower rates of disease, greater diversity in their diet and less inequality. Whether or not you agree with Harari, the very fact that I’m able to write these words, and you’re able to read them is because we’re not working the land! Our entire modern societies have been built on ever-greater agricultural efficiency. Despite exponential increases in the global population, we rely on an ever-smaller proportion of people to produce our food. …


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Stijn Fransen had every reason to be nervous. She was speaking with Wes, a renowned Dutch tattoo artist, about her upcoming ink session. They had agreed on the design, but that wasn’t what was making Stijn apprehensive. Her nerves were down to the fact that Wes wouldn’t physically be holding the tattoo needle. He would be in his studio, and a robotic arm hovering above Stijn’s arm would mimic his movements. ‘The Impossible Tattoo’ was a creative marketing stunt from T-Mobile Netherlands to promote the launch of its 5G network.


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The Norweigan playwright Henrik Ibsen coined the wonderfully evocative friluftsliv in 1859, amalgamating the words for free, air and life. The Nordic countries have embraced this concept, best translated as ‘an outdoors lifestyle’. In Sweden, a country of 10 million people, nearly 2 million people are members of the 9,000 local and regional clubs devoted to outdoor activities, with around one third of the population engaging in activities at least once a week. In his famous Walden: Or, Life in the Woods, Henry David Thoreau wrote, “We need the tonic of wildness…We can never have enough of nature.” Similarly, Carl Jung wrote “we all need nourishment for our psyche. It is impossible to find such nourishment in urban tenements without a patch of green or a blossoming tree. …


Do you know how many kilograms of carbon was emitted to make your sneakers? If you’re anything like me, then you probably fluctuate between guilt and ignorance. So you’ve offset the carbon emissions from some of your flights? Sure, you didn’t understand too much of the detail but you’re grateful that the airline gave you the option. You might even know that the average American’s carbon footprint is 16 tons (against a global average of just four tons), but that still doesn’t mean much on a daily basis.

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Your days of ignorance might be coming to an end if food producer Quorn has its way. The UK-based company manufactures meat-substitute products made from mycoprotein, and has partnered with the Carbon Trust to add carbon footprint data to its best-selling products such as Quorn Mince, Quorn Fishless Fingers and Quorn Vegan Nuggets. The brand aims to highlight the gap between its products and traditional meat-based ones. For example Quorn Mince has a footprint of 1.3kg CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) per kilogram; by comparison UK beef mince’s footprint is 27kg CO2e per kilogram. …


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It started with porn. Of course it did. In November 2017, an anonymous Reddit user launched the /r/deepfake subReddit message board, where they published a series of AI-generated videos that mapped the faces of Gal Gadot and Scarlett Johansson onto porn stars, creating fake but near-believable videos. The deepfake genie was out of the bottle.

Fast forward to late 2020 and deepfakes have become mainstream. During the pandemic, broadcaster Hulu created an ad campaign called ‘The Deepfake’, putting the faces of professional football players onto actors bodies to highlight the brand’s inability to shoot a traditional commercial. Last week, the creators of South Park launched a brilliant deepfake-based YouTube satire, Sassy Justice. …


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I’m hugely excited to announce a new project, with my long-time friend and now collaborator, Rohit Bhargava. For the last decade, we’ve been running two of the world’s most respected trend consultancies, TrendWatching and the Non-Obvious Company. But this is going to be our biggest challenge yet: exploring and understanding this moment we find ourselves in. Zeroing in on the ideas and instigators that will help us build back better. Providing you with a clear, and inspirational roadmap to a better future.

The Future Normal will be published as a physical book next year, but this is where the action is, right now. …


Inspiring innovations that are raising YOUR customers’ expectations!

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Welcome!

Read the news and 2019 was a pretty sh*tty year. The looming climate crisis. Political polarization. Culture wars. Trade wars. Big tech exposed. Soaring economic inequality.

Look beyond the headlines however and there are glimpses of a different world. A world where people and organizations are fighting for — and in many cases creating — a more inclusive and sustainable world. We’re no consumerist utopians, but we want to tell the other side of the story: a world of innovation and opportunity.

That’s what our Innovation of the Day newsletter brings you. A daily dose of inspiration as to how pioneering entrepreneurs, brands, nonprofits and governments — in all global markets and sectors — are creating a better future. …


Trend-driven innovations that will raise YOUR customers’ expectations!

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Every business leader, entrepreneur, innovator and marketer wants to know where customers are headed next. Us too! And at TrendWatching we’re obsessed with one big, counter-intuitive idea:

The most effective way to anticipate what customers will want next is to look at leading brands and disruptive startups, in all markets and industries. See how they redefine customer expectations. And apply these insights back in your organization.

That’s the promise behind our Innovation of the Day newsletter. Give us 2 minutes of your time and in return we’ll give you powerful provocations on where consumerism, business, tech and brands are headed.

Below you’ll find 101 of our favorite expectation-setting innovations from 2018, and countless insights for you to reflect — and act! …

About

Henry Coutinho-Mason

Author The Future Normal / ex-MD @ TrendWatching / cofounder 3Space & Redo

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