Conlang, farcical situations and derisking digital

Welcome to this first issue of our newsletter “Weak Signals and other Trends”. I am still fidgeting with the format and the content scope, so your comments are welcome, here, or on our site

This is what we noticed this week – some new, some old ( who says an article written a few weeks ago is out of date?). Thank you for reading.

Business disrupted

Illustrations and examples that show our industries and business models are changing…

Leica, the 107 German camera company, survives. 11 sources of disruption. Furniture start-up Outer uses customer homes as showrooms. Amazon’s fitted T-shirts: it’s not about the T-shirt, it’s about your data. Marketing agencies are launching their own brands. Cooks are turning Instagram into the world’s takeout menuEquity financing for influencers. Hiring without resumes… or interviews. Technology is finally telling farmers things they did not already know. Nike taps into the “touchless” trend and launches a hands-free sneaker. Sotheby’s brought to you by Bulgari—product placement at auction has arrived, with limitless potential. Shopping On YouTube Will Soon Be Possible. How DTC brands will approach physical retail in 2021

Competitive Intelligence

Lots on privacy this week: Those apps that spy on your pasteboard. Facebook Ad Service lets anyone target military personnel. Kapersky’s cyberthreat real-time map.

Sources to test: Twitter opens it full tweet archive to academic researchers for free. The new social mediaPatent drop scans patents filed by big Tech and it’s giving you a head-start on the future. Search Elephind for the world’s historical newspapers. Asia’s largest database of B2B contacts and company data. Never say you’re restating anything, the machines will hold it against you. Hedge funds rush to get to grips with retail message boards ( it’s about time we pay attention to social media intelligence!)

New tools we explored: Roamresearch, a note taking tool for networked thought. Notability, to combine hand written notes with sketching. Obsidian, to mindmap your knowledge. Eventregistry organizes news and world events to analyze their impact, we like their news summary search engineAhmia opens the backdoor to the deep web, and in particular hidden services on the Tor network. Littlesis maps networks of power. A promising search engine for corporate data: time will tell how Iris will do. Oh, and if you want in the future to be the first when Reddit mentions pop up, install the app for Hootsuite.

Our next course on Competitive Intelligence research techniques is here. We have a cohort starting in February ( 10am-12pm on Feb 15-16 and 19).

Our Future

Robotic police officers. A collaborative flying taxi port. Automotive sanctuaries. The problem with prediction. Getting a fresh start from the press. How nothingness became everything we wanted. How Covid made car culture cool again. Dystopian Future Securities Fraud ($). Among many trends reports published each year, the 2021 Fjord Trends is worth your time. The dictionary of science-fiction: did you know what a conlang was? The healthy building surge. Liquid machine-learning systems adapt to changing conditions. Lab-grown plants. Are you using future intelligenceUnbundling 2021 by Benedict Evans. And you can download the latest 228 page 2021 trends report by Trendhunter. Zoom Launches Tools Focused on Post-Lockdown Health, Safety – such as remote receptionist – smart move.

We also shared a list of 30 trends reports for 2021 on our Twitter feed earlier this month.

Weak signals

Weak signals are indicators of a change, a trend or an emerging risk that might become significant for the future. They allow us to run hypothesis, expand our thinking, and challenge assumptions. How will you interpret those in your industry?

The wild world of trust funds for pets. The consolatory pleasure of jigsaws when the world is in bits. Ratatouille, the Tik-Tok Musical to become actual show. Farcical situations and culture clashes; when Japan met with modern Europe in 1862.  Meet Flipper, the Tamagotchi you feed by hacking stuff. Social media whistleblowing takes off and boards should pay attention. Wework and SPAC, what could go wrong? Walmart’s media business. Microsoft turned its sustainability report into a Minecraft mapCovid tourism is booming. TikTok is obsessed with rating NYC’s sinks.

Resources: since our favorite news scanner, Google Newsmap, does not exist any more as Flash support has been discontinued, you can new scan weak signals here, by reading the small boxesExploding topics shares the rapidly growing topics, a great glimpse at emerging trends and signals.

Join us on Clubhouse to discuss how to interpret some of those weak signals next Friday, Feb 12 at 9am EST.

In our radar

In this section, I will share some of the content I come across as I work on specific mandates for our clients. This week:

Silver Economy – as I work at how we take care of an aging population, I read: Seniors are the wealthiest age cohort in the world . Boomer creating a silver surge in the economy ($). Menotech ditches stereotypes for the menopaused generation. Thinkerbell, an Australia-based creative agency, launched Thrive@55: an internship program exclusively available to applicants over 55 years old. We ordered the book Prospective Longevity. Silver to Gold: The Business of Aging.

Future of the Arts – as I prepare for a series of webcasts in March for the Manitoba Arts Council that include a review of the future of arts and culture and the related blindspots, I read: the art of mixing images. Supreme and Nike are cracking the auction market. Venice Innovation Labs creates an app to read sentiment analysis before a song is released. Immersive arts centers take off. The bankerization of the Art Market. The use of artificial intelligence in the cultural and creative sectors. How the Invite-Only Social-Media App Clubhouse Is Making the Art World Fun Again. The resilience and innovation of the screen industry in a moment of profound change , an annual analysis by the Canada Media Fund.

Digital transformation – as I am finalizing this week my notes for a keynote panel taking place in Calgary on Feb 12 on digital transformation oversight for boards, I read: Derisking digital and analytics transformations. How’s your Data Factory? A guide for corporate directors to understand digital transformation oversight.


Subscribe to Trends! And Weak Signals newsletter

Subscribe on Substack