thenextwave

Nokia and the ‘eco-sensor’ phone

Posted in digital, emerging issues, Nokia, sustainability, technology, Uncategorized by thenextwavefutures on 30 December, 2007

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.

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Selling the highways dream – 50s style

Posted in cars, future, history, social, transport by thenextwavefutures on 29 December, 2007

If you’re interested in how the future is portrayed in the past – or in transport – this is certainly worth nine minutes of your time. From 1958, a section of a Disney show on the future of transportati0n. Or, as it turns out, the future of highways and cars.

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Trends versus futures

Posted in consumers, digital, future, trends by thenextwavefutures on 28 December, 2007

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.

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Toy stories and global ethics

Posted in affluence, business, consumers, emerging issues, ethics, trade by thenextwavefutures on 27 December, 2007

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.

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Gandhi and the conditions which create violence

Posted in future, history, quotes by thenextwavefutures on 26 December, 2007

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.

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Ice skating rinks and the ‘return of the repressed’

Posted in climate change, consumers, leisure, social, sustainability, trends by thenextwavefutures on 21 December, 2007

Obviously the winter outdoor ice skating rinks which increasingly crowd the UK’s public spaces are right on trend. Just tick them off: the shift from services to experiences, the rise of shared social meaning, and the commercialisation of parts of the public realm that would otherwise be commons. But – having just come back from an ice skating session at London’s Natural History Museum – it’s hard not to conclude that there’s a deeper social meaning playing out as well.

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Declining competitiveness of English football

Posted in football, social, trends by thenextwavefutures on 16 December, 2007

A day when the so-called ‘Big Four’ of English football met on what Sky was promoting as ‘Grand Slam Sunday’ seems a good time to post on the declining competition in the English Premiership. Every fan knows it’s happening – I wanted to demonstrate it for a client for whom it was relevant.

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Why social networking goes from boom to bust (and back?)

Posted in digital, gender, media, technology, trends, web 2.0 by thenextwavefutures on 15 December, 2007

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.

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Britain’s carbon emissions – rising not falling

Posted in climate change, consumers, environment, reports, sustainability, tourism by thenextwavefutures on 15 December, 2007

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…)

Smoking and artistic integrity

Posted in culture, health, social, trends by thenextwavefutures on 13 December, 2007

I was at a play last night in which the fact that a character smokes cigars is important to the characterisation, if not essential to the plot. Now, since July 2007 in England it has been illegal to smoke in a public place, but it turns out that there’s clause in the Act which allows a performer to smoke where the artistic integrity of a performance makes it appropriate.

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