The first post I wrote on this blog, in April this year, was on the arts and technology consultancy Proboscis and their Snout collaboration, designed to help communities develop “environmental authoring” tools to monitor their local environments. Now Nokia has trialed a phone which would do some of the same things, including some environment monitoring, along with health and weather – albeit only a concept at this stage.
Trends and futures are related, of course, but they are used in different ways. Trends-watchers tend to be looking for short-run innovation opportunities in products and services. Futures is longer-term, or ought to be, and more about structural shifts, and should be more connected with strategy. The same underlying drivers of change can lead to different trends. All of which was brought to mind by a frothy seasonal trends-watching piece in The Guardian.
I blogged earlier this year on the toy industry and Chinese production, and on the idea of ‘toxic consumption‘ – that the things we buy are bad for our health. Christmas seems a good time to come back to it, and Core 77 (thanks) points me in the direction of a long article by Jonathan Dee in the New York Times on Mattel and its attempts to manage reputation in low cost global markets.
The magazine Resurgence has a special edition to mark the 60th anniversay of Gandhi’s death in 1948. On the inside front page it includes a note written by Gandhi to his grandson, Arun, a few weeks before his assination, on the ‘seven blunders’ which promote violence. It seems as a good a way as any to mark the season of goodwill.
According to new figures from Ofcom, 4 out of 10 of British internet users now use social networking sites – and those that do spend more than 5 hours a month on social networking sites, and return 23 times a month. Usage is heavier than elsewhere in Europe, and above the USA, but behind Canada. The social networking data for the 2007 International Communications Report is from the summer, but more recent figures from Hitwise suggested that in November UK use of social networking sites overtook that of web-based email for the first time.
A team of researchers at Oxford University has recalculated Britain’s carbon emissions since 1990 – and found that they have increased by 19%. (News report here.) The official figures – calculated according to the UN’s method – say that emissions have fallen by 15% over the period. However, the researchers, led by Dieter Helm, included UK contributions to international aviation demand, tourism and overseas business, and emissions generated abroad in the production and distribution of goods destined for the UK market. (more…)