As a very busy summer turns into an industrious fall we’ve grabbed some time for a well over-due edition of Sparks & Kindling. Focussing on the quick reads this time, here are some of the articles which have be inspiring (and amusing) us.
Ignoring the terrible pun for the moment, there are more and more signs that corporate social responsibility needs to focus on the supply chain and to really tackle our dangerous addiction to plastic. The incredible images the world saw in Blue Planet 2 may have been the catalyst but the commercial impact of being on the wrong side of this movement is becoming more and more apparent. This research suggests that for the first time price might no longer be the main driver for British shoppers so maybe the time to shift focus from presentation to sustainability is really here (and the briefs in our inbox seem to support this). But even if the situation is not that cut and dried, the opportunity to innovate at this inflection point will surely provide us with many examples of how retail can begin to thrive on a fraction of the waste it is currently producing.
E-sports are already huge: at a live event last year 175k live attendees were joined by 43million streaming fans. Sports scholarships are now available for US universities in e-sports and it’s on the consideration list to join the 2024 Olympics. To help Ikea break into this global gaming market they have developed an ergonomic gaming chair offering unbridled customisation through the marriage of fast body scanning and 3d printing. Developed as a concept right now, by the early 20s we’ll all be heading down to a blue and yellow superstore, ready to put our tushi into their scanner ready for that completely personalised stool experience. (As I write that I am just going to check the date of the article isn’t April 1.)
So someone had to go first, and surprisingly in the UK it is Argos who are going to be the first retailer to offer a shopping service via Google Assistant. Clearly motivated in part by the competition they face from Amazon, this will be a toe in the water worth keeping an eye on. We are just off to ask “Hey Google. What could possibly go wrong?”
Ok so the fishmonger in Kuwait wasn't fooling anyone…
but Jaguar Land Rover clearly think they were on to something. As you will see, a car which has eyes which follow you across the road will never replace the poster of a Lamborghini Huracan in a 10 year old’s bedroom but cognitive scientists are convinced we will trust autonomous cars more as a result. For us it was another interesting example of ignoring the conventions of a market in order to address a potentially market limiting friction.