Nonmachinables, PET-ernity and ASMRs

Welcome to this 18th issue of our newsletter “Weak Signals and other Trends”. Each week, I sift through hundreds of sources of inspiration to track where we’re heading. We discuss those trends and signals every Saturday at 9am EST on Clubhouse.

You can subscribe to this newsletter here to get it directly by mail most Fridays:

This is what I noticed this week, thank you for reading and sharing this newsletter to those who look into the future.


Blindspots are costly biases that can lead companies to underestimate future risks or fail to take advantage of emerging opportunities:

We love the inverted thinking here: LineCon—the conference that takes place while waiting in lines. Millions of Americans could face eviction as housing protection expires in June. Intel CEO reiterates warning that global chip shortage could last years. Cyberattack hits world’s largest meat supplier. What if your device would register every screenshot that you grabbed of a text conversation, and notify the other participants. Plan Continuation Bias. Major Shipping Firms Warn of Worsening Congestion at China’s Yantian Port. Japan’s karoshi culture was a warning. We didn’t listen.

We have scheduled the dates for our “Strategic Blindspots” course which will take place in an hybrid format in the fall.

Strategy making

This is a new section, which will pop-up once in a while. It highlights provocative thoughts on strategy formulation and innovation:

Adding is favoured over subtracting in problem solving. Von Clausewitz on War: Six Lessons for the Modern Strategist. Mastering the building blocks of strategy. The business value of design. Here Are the 17 Ways You Make Illogical Decisions ($ – for the French-speaking readers, I recommend this book on illogical decisions) The new digital edge: Rethinking strategy for the postpandemic era.

We assembled 193 strategic frameworks and analysis techniques on Pinterest. Competia also offers a course on Advanced Analysis Techniques.

Our future

From smart to people-first cities (Cities are collapsing into our homes). How data is changing the future of beauty. Eating As Dialogue, Food As Technology. Spotify wants to suggest songs based on your emotions ( and the patent is here). Incremental housing projects. A ‘catalog for the post-human’ imagines body augmentation products of the future. Scientists Just Proved the Human Brain Can Support an Extra Body Part. Life in 2050: A Look at the Homes of the Future. This company thinks wood pulp could be the future of EV batteries. Lifestyle trends 2021-2022 ( we like the “New era of care”). ‘The silver tsunami is coming’: Inside the quest to help seniors age at home.

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 or field of expertise?

Meme-based dating. We all need a positive environment: Affirmative Club to share art and receive affirmative feedback. PET-ernity. Funerals for expired domain names. A new oil-cryptocurrency alliance. String beads. Le retour du bibelot. Designer Creates Wearable Third Eye That Lets You Walk Safely While Looking at Your Phone. ASMR sounds to reinforce product safety perception ( hint: there are 235,000 members in this Reddit ASMR chat). Floating Coworking Space That Looks Like Organic Cells. Chinese Gen-Z’s addiction to bubble tea. The Great Camp Cooking Boom. How the boom in pet ownership is shaping hospitality. Twitter teams with climate vet to launch local weather news service. The Great American Cleanup: Deodorant, Teeth Whitener Fly Off the Shelves. Italian Artist Sells Invisible Sculpture for More Than $18,000.

I like new words. This week, I read about “cozy futurism”.

On 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 is what I worked on this week:

I am updating the course “What social media matters for boards” I developed for the Institute of Corporate Director, and which I will teach in the next couple of weeks in Montreal, Winnipeg and Halifax. Here are the latest social media crisis: AI-powered insurance gone wrong (here is the original thread). Nestle is in a middle of a new controversy about healthy products. SEC said Elon Musk’s Tesla tweets violated settlement agreement. Spain’s New Postage Stamps Were Meant To Call Out Racism. Instead They Drew Outrage.

I am working on a project about shop-streaming and new digital habits and am looking towards Asia for insights: Live video-shopping. As brands take livestreaming more seriously, hosts become a hot commodity. What the West Can Learn From China’s Live Commerce Success. Customer retention with chat ( more stats here). Ten trends for China e-commerce. How Taobao Turned Product Listings Into Entertainment. Inside Kate Spade’s influencer-driven strategy.

Our consulting engagements can be found here.

Hodgepodge discovery

Articles for the curious mind as you like to cross over to new fields:

The Nonmachinables. Decomposition of Materiality and Identities.The Secret Psychology of Sneaker Colors. The cheapest luxury. The gout du moche. A deep dive into the physics of bowling-ball design. The busy trap. Fonts analytics. The impact of nature co-design (pdf). Science fiction thinking for tech & film. How a combustion engine works. Interested in math? Hundreds of research seminars are available online.

You have asked me to suggest newsletters that inspire me, so I will suggest one each week: I really like “Your daily digest of youth culture”.

Feeling Good

Urbex explorations. Do you speak GenZ. The Stanford geospatial network model of the Roman world. United Airlines Wants to Bring Back Supersonic Air Travel.

En francais: dériver


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