The future of 3D printing is being hotly debated at the moment. The Economist and Wired have run major features on it, we've covered it regularly in Green Futures (see below) and it's all over the twittersphere - new applications, new technology, rapidly declining costs and so on.
For me, I have a nightmarish vision of my young sons, captivated as they are by CBeebies and its attendant merchandisers, pointing and clicking at on-screen characters and printing out hundreds of low-grade plastic figures, filling our house with tat.
Last week, the Oscars once again saw the finest filmmakers awarded for cinematic excellence. Daniel Day Lewis made Oscar history, Ben Affleck’s Argo seized an award for best picture and the cast of Les Misérables took to the stage.
But far removed from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, there’s another film that’s getting quite a lot of attention. Two months ago, on the 40th anniversary of the famous ‘Blue Marble’ photograph taken of Earth from space, Overview was released online. At just 19 minutes long, it’s a short film that has a big impact.
In amongst all the shock, horror and word-play surrounding the horse meat debacle, in the last couple of weeks I’ve heard three things that have significantly contributed to my personal sense of dismay about the whole horsey palaver.
Firstly, a full-page announcement in the weekend paper by Tesco, promising to take care of the whole thing without raising food prices; secondly, government (and others) calling for more testing as a way to prevent it happening again; and thirdly, at the annual City Food Lecture on Monday evening, Paul Bulcke, CEO of Nestle, summing up the horse meat scandal as “widespread fraud committed by a few to mislead the many”.
It was Wednesday morning and the day the new AkzoNobel CEO, Ton Büchner, was announcing their strategic direction. I held my breath as the webpage loaded. Sat on the edge of my seat, my cup of tea left unusually to one side.
As I scrolled down I found what I was hoping to see. Ton had announced the coatings and chemical company’s sustainability strategy as an integral part of the overall strategic direction of the business.
“[The] strategy centers around customer focus, operational excellence and sustainability” said the AkzoNobel media briefing.
The financial world of 2030 as seen in the Consumers in 2030 report we produced with Which? magazine is radically different from that of today with the emphasis on shared endeavour and a disintermediation of large financial institutions. The Crowd House Mortgage idea couldn’t be more removed from the model of today. The capital lent is sourced from people who know the borrowers – possibly only in a virtual sense – and the lending decision is taken not by computer but by those lenders. “Computer can’t say no, co-worker can say yes.”
"If you can imagine a ride on a roller-coaster at a fairground, then this winter, we are at the top of the circuit and we head downhill – fast." Not the words you want to hear from the Chief Executive of Ofgem about the UK's energy supplies.
Next month 10% of the UK electricity supply capacity (from coal and oil) will be decommissioned to meet carbon and air pollution targets, cutting out two-thirds of the spare capacity. This is just one of the latest factors hitting UK energy security.
The Indian Companies Bill 2012 (en route to becoming an Act) requires companies worth ₹500 Crore (or just over $9M) to spend at least 2% of their average net profits on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), or report on the reasons why not. This is creating quite a buzz amongst businesses in India, and a lot of questions too.
In my last blog for our E21C Project (now called Tomorrow Makers) I said I’d write another update in May. Well, perhaps it was fate or just the sheer amount of work we covered in the project – but I’ve only just had a chance to sit down and write!
Over the last year, The E21C Journeys team have been trying to improve decision making for medium distance journeys (10-50 miles) by understanding the role information plays in shaping people’s travel decisions. That’s a bit of a mouthful, so let me break it down a bit and highlight some of our research too.
Banks have taken lots of flak over the last couple of years, for the size of their bonuses, for the products they sold, for the risks that they took. Yet despite all the criticism, we have seen very little by way of proactive, public response from the financial sector.
This week, Antony Jenkins, the CEO of Barclays, said that he wanted his bank to change, to be more focused on the long-term and to meeting society’s needs. And he set out his strategic review and the first set of steps to take Barclays in the new direction.
It may not be as far away as you think. Last week, we launched the Consumers in 2030 report in partnership with Which? magazine. The project was designed to spark debate about the changing needs of UK consumers in the 21st century as we adapt to some of the mega trends and big challenges coming our way.
The project asked the question: what might UK consumers need in 2030? And as part of our exploration we’ve developed five ‘artefacts’ to help us to think about and creatively explore the issues raised. The stimulus we used included home life mega trends, Which? consumer principles, economic projections and future scenarios.
Over the next five weeks we’ll be sharing each of the five artefacts – and the first is Bathroom GP.
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