US – Remember toaster pastries, those childhood breakfast delights that you could enjoy without adult supervision? Flings, a new brand, seeks to capture the essence of those classic treats while meeting the nutritional demands of adults and health-conscious consumers.
Flings turned to the Blurr Bureau, a New York- and Melbourne-based brand design and venture studio, for a makeover that blends nostalgia with modern dietary needs. The result is a high-protein, low-carb, low-sugar and keto-friendly version of the beloved toaster pastry.
After more than two years of development and extensive market research, the brand identity and packaging evoke a 1980s vibe with a playful logo and retro colour palette. The brand’s name, Fling, not only pays homage to the snack’s ease and portability, but also adds a hint of naughtiness, referencing a short, non-committal rendezvous.
In the dynamic landscape of luxury brands, a new wave of innovation is reshaping the concept of brand loyalty through the integration of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Iconic names such as Prada, Gucci, Lacoste, Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Maison Margiela are leveraging NFTs to offer exclusive digital and physical experiences to their customers.
From limited-time drops to real-world perks, these brands are navigating the Web3 space, providing unique incentives and rewards to foster a deeper connection with their audience. Join us in delving into the creative ways these luxury houses are embracing NFTs to redefine loyalty in an ever-evolving market.
US – Global coffee giant Starbucks has rolled out 50 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at 15 locations along the Denver to Seattle route in collaboration with Swedish car-maker Volvo. The charging stations, strategically positioned in Starbucks stores across Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, cater for electric cars equipped with CCS1 or CHAdeMO connectors.
Starbucks and Volvo initiated the project to tackle the shortage of EV charging infrastructure in North America, where only 32,000 DC fast chargers are available for the country’s 2.3m electric cars. A Starbucks spokesperson noted: ‘Seattle and Denver are two fast-growing EV markets, but importantly, the corridor that connects the cities is underserved when it comes to existing infrastructure, so we saw an opportunity to connect them.’
Starbucks aims to introduce charging stations compatible with Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) connectors and explore further partnerships with car-makers. Other major brands, including Taco Bell, Whole Foods Market, 7-Eleven and Subway, are also joining the trend by incorporating EV chargers outside their establishments. For more insights on the rising interest in electric vehicles, visit our Mobility topic.
Global – Bottega Veneta’s dedication to preserving craftsmanship extends beyond the brand’s own IP. For the third time, the Italian luxury house is honouring craftsmen from around the globe with the Bottega for Bottegas initiative.
In past years, the Neo-collectivist activation spotlighted Italian workshops and interpretations of Italian culture by global artisans. The 2023 edition sheds light on four bottegas that are ‘experts of unique craft, who use their creativity and their inimitable skillsets to empower imagination and inspire togetherness’. In this year’s line-up, you will find Taiwanese artist Cheng Tsung Feng, kite artisan Kitai Rhee, Chinese artist Liu Wenhui and Italian bottega Modiano.
The brand explains that ‘Bottega’ translates in essence to ‘workshop’. As one of the world’s most visible bottegas, Bottega Veneta is committed to supporting other workshops based around the world. Since the start of December, the brand’s website, newsletter and Milan flagship store have spotlighted the four selected bottegas. The renaissance of craft celebration by the luxury sector is a shift we have explored in depth in our Luxury Recrafted macrotrend.
More than 2,500 futures professionals from more than 100 countries gathered at the Dubai Future Forum – so what did this rare confluence of futures thinkers, creatives, strategists, leaders and innovators have to say about how businesses and organisations can better anticipate future scenarios in a world of fast-paced flux?
The emphasis was on the need to transcend barriers to collaboration, to ensure sustainability becomes a holistic practice and to adopt more inclusive foresight methods in order to achieve more equitable transformations.
Three of the big themes that unfolded over two days and 70 sessions were: being comfortable with uncertainty and unpredictable change, but also accepting responsibility for taking ethical actions in building fairer futures for all; repairing and regenerating our eco-systems by utilising emerging technology carefully and consciously; and finally, ensuring that foresight adapts to newer realities by collaborating across generations, world views, values and sectors.
Global – IBM is pushing the boundaries of quantum computing with the introduction of Condor, the world’s largest quantum chip, boasting 1,121 qubits, and Heron, its highest-performing quantum chip to date, with 133 qubits.
Qubits, the fundamental units of information in quantum computing, can exist in multiple states simultaneously. This property enables quantum computers to tackle complex calculations that classical computers struggle with, potentially revolutionising fields like astronomy and medicine, as revealed in our market report on Quantum Futures: How Ready Are You?
IBM’s ambitious goal is to develop a 100,000-qubit system by 2033. Condor represents a significant milestone in this endeavour. In addition, Heron outperforms its predecessor, Eagle, by three to five times. Heron will be accessible to IBM customers via the company’s cloud platform.
IBM already deploys three Heron chips in its quantum computing platform, IBM Quantum System Two, at its Yorktown Heights laboratory in New York, furthering the advancement of quantum computing technology.
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