Futures 100 Innovators : The Shortlist

sector - food & drink
sector - beauty
category - design
category - society
sector - media & technology
type - futures 100 innovators awards
Futures 100 Innovators Awards
We present the shortlist for our Futures 100 Innovators awards, featuring the 10 leading innovators, disruptors and change-makers, across 10 industry sectors

We present the shortlist for our Futures 100 Innovators awards, featuring the 10 leading innovators, disruptors, activists and change-makers across 10 industry sectors.

Each month on LS:N Global, we have profiled 10 people that our team of researchers and analysts have identified as driving forward industries ranging from beauty and wellness to luxury, design, retail and travel. We are proud to present the shortlist below, featuring our 10 key innovators for 2022.

On Thursday 6th October, our shortlist will be presented to a panel of industry judges who will select and award their winner at our Trend Briefing event at the Royal Academy of Arts.

The winner will be announced on LS:N Global on Friday 7th October 2022.

Published by:

5 October 2022

Author: The Future Laboratory

Image: The Future Laboratory


Left: The Institute of Digital Fashion in collaboration with Richard Quinn and whisky label Royal Salute . Right: Ritesh Gupta, founder of Useful School.

Luxury: Leanne Elliott Young

Democratising luxury and building an inclusive metaverse vocabulary through digital fashion AR and NFTs

With a background in fashion and its intersection with technology, Leanne Elliott Young is on course to transform how we not only experience luxury and fashion, but how we consume it, in her role as co-founder of the Institute of Digital Fashion (IoDF).

A response to the patriarchal structures, lack of diversity, failing innovations and bland activations in fash-tech sector, the IoDF recognises the need to use technology to democratise and elevate digital fashion and luxury as a form of artisanship in its own right, both now and among future generations of fashion designers, luxury houses and consumers.

To grab the luxury market’s attention, the IoDF has worked on a number of inclusive activations, including a red carpet takeover at the 2021 Fashion Awards; creating a world-first meta-garment moment then minted as a historic NFT. The augmented reality (AR) accessory worn by all those attending as well as those at home, opened up the conversation between creators and collectors about the future of digital fashion and metaverse at the intersection or IRL and URL. Taking a tiered structure allowed entry level accessible NFTs prices starting from from £17 ($22, €20). Of note, a third of all IoDF projects have so far been philanthropic.

Design: Ritesh Gupta

Championing representation for people of colour in the design sector

In response to the lack of representation in the design industry, Ritesh Gupta is behind the creation of Useful School, an online design curriculum that focuses on people of colour. Through the school, he wants to ensure that those who design products are as present, involved and visible as those who use them. This extends as far as the fonts used by Useful School – created by people of colour – to crowdsourcing support and mentorship for students of colour entering the world of work.

Further to this, Useful School has a pay-what-you-can model for its students, democratising access to both education and future roles in the design industry. ‘Useful School is on a mission to increase representation of people of colour in creative industries, while having fun doing it,’ says Gupta. ‘We want to increase the total talent pool as well as improve chances of promotions and opening practices.’

‘We want to increase the total talent pool as well as improve chances of promotions and opening practices.’
Ritesh Gupta, founder of Useful School
Softer, Copenhagen

Media & Tech: Nicole Jonasson and Ida Lissner

Fostering a more inclusive tech space

Digital designer Nicole Jonasson and 3D artist Ida Lissner are the co-founders of Softer, a ‘work-in-progress' platform committed to promoting values such as care, empathy and community in order to create a more inclusive environment in the tech sector.

‘We’re so used to thinking about tech as always having to be better and faster, that it’s the solution to every problem. Soft values are often neglected in this field, so we're trying to shift the focus towards slowing down and taking care of each other,’ Lissner tells Editor X.

When they’re not re-imagining the possibilities for how websites can look with futuristic san serif fonts and 3D design, the pair can be found hosting live-streams, virtual exhibitions, and recently, the network’s first real-life event. Panellists came together at the gathering, dubbed Softer Digital Futures, to discuss softer visions for tech and how to challenge existing issues in the industry.

Beauty: Jasmina Aganovic

Using biotech to re-engineer ingredients and experiences

Jasmina Aganovic is an MIT-trained chemical engineer and founder of Arcaea, a biotech beauty company that is aligning nature and science to expand the potential of ingredients in the skin, hair and cosmetics categories.

Having recently raised £59m ($78m, €70m) in funding from companies including Chanel and Givaudan, Jasmina and her team of mostly women scientists use fermentation, DNA sequencing and biological engineering to create new chemical substances for skincare, haircare and cosmetics.

‘Over my career, I’ve witnessed growing challenges and limitations in the ingredients we use,’ explains Jasmina. ‘I became inspired by biology because it presents entirely new possibilities and solutions to the big problems facing our industry.’ In turn, Arcaea’s ambition is to create a future of beauty ingredients that are less environmentally impactful and resource-heavy, while also unlocking previously unimaginable products; for example, formulas that turn straight hair curly, draw from animal biology to advance SPF or help us to control body odour.

Left: Alexia and Margot de Broglie founders of Your Juno, UK. Right: OneRare, US.

Media & Tech: Alexia and Margot de Broglie

Creating a one-stop-shop for women’s financial education

These sisters are the brains behind Your Juno, a UK-based fintech company they launched in 2020. As a financial education and community platform for women and non-binary people, Your Juno acts as a reference point for anyone who has a question about money – a key aspect of adulthood that is often forgotten about in the mainstream education system.

Described as the ‘Duolingo of finance’, the sisters are using gamification to make the financial experience more playful, which is especially important at a time when only 33% of women see themselves as investors (source: Fidelity). Having both worked in the finance industry, they have first-hand knowledge of this gender gap: ‘[If] you look at cryptocurrency… women only make up 7% of cryptocurrency holders,’ explains Alexia de Broglie. ‘The divide is getting bigger and bigger and it’s really important that we tackle that as soon as possible.’

Food & Drink: Supreet Raju

Promoting food education in the Betterverse

While restaurant chains from McDonald’s to Panera have been experimenting with marketing stunts in the metaverse, Supreet Raju is seizing the opportunity to create an entire virtual world centred on food. Together with her husband, Raju co-founded OneRare, a virtual platform described as ‘the world’s first food metaverse’.

Launching with a food game focused on collecting non-fungible token (NFT) ingredients, OneRare has ambitions to become a platform promoting greater access to and awareness of food and cookery. The platform currently hosts four areas, including a virtual farm for learning about food-growing, a kitchen to discover recipes, and a playground for NFT owners to do battle through mini-games.

In future, Raju hopes to expand OneRare to augment real-world food access. She says: ‘As we grow, users will also be able to swap these NFTs for real meals and deals – amalgamating our real and virtual lives.’

‘As we grow, users will also be able to swap these NFTs for real meals and deals – amalgamating our real and virtual lives’
Supreet Raju, co-founder of OneRare
Manor DAO by Poolsuite, US

Travel & Hospitality: Marty Bell

Cultivating community to redefine the travel sector

Although holiday-themed radio station Poolsuite might look like it stems from sunnier climes, its founder Marty Bell dreamed up the concept as a form of escapism on a winter’s day in Scotland.

This spirit has underpinned a number of initiatives emerging under the Poolsuite banner, including sunglasses and Vacation, a retro-inspired suncream that 'bottles summer'.

Now, the self-described 'internet leisure corporation' has its sights set on physical hospitality experiences with the formation of a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) collective known as Manor DAO.

Bell’s aim is to crowdfund the purchase of a luxury guesthouse somewhere in Europe. By empowering Manor DAO members to make key decisions about ‘everything from the location of the manor to the interiors’, Bell sets an example to the wider travel and hospitality sector in the power of cultivating community and the tech-first future of hospitality. As well as informing these key decisions, backers will earn allocated time slots to stay at the guesthouse, highlighting the real-life benefits to investing in Web3.

Food & Drink: Dr Catherine Nakalembe

Using satellites and machine learning to future-proof African farming

As Africa programme director at NASA Harvest, Catherine Nakalembe is working to secure the future of crops and farming across East Africa – with a little help from satellites and machine learning.

Recipient of the 2020 Africa Food Prize, Nakalembe’s work is protecting farmers from crop failure at a time when the climate emergency is pushing farming further north and demanding radical technological interventions combined with people-centric solutions. Her work with NASA uses data from farmers and satellite imagery to ascertain how crops are faring in countries such as Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, giving instant insight to governments and helping to mitigate food shortages where crop failures could occur.

Now, Nakalembe is creating a framework that will unite her research and knowledge gained so far, with the ambition that countries will use it to launch their own crop-monitoring systems or early warning systems using satellites and on-the-ground data.

Left: Harsha L’Acqua, founder of Saira Hospitality. Right: David Orlic, co-founder of Anyone, Europe.

Travel & Hospitality: Harsha L’Acqua

Boosting skills and career opportunities for overlooked people

An alum of Six Senses Hotels and Aman Hotels, Harsha L’Acqua is combining her experience in luxury hospitality with inspiration drawn from her father’s philanthropic career to create Saira Hospitality. This non-profit organisation partners with the world’s leading hospitality brands – including The Standard, Four Seasons and Rosewood Hotels – to give local people and those from overlooked communities access to skills and knowledge as a gateway to a career in the sector.

Having launched with pop-up programmes hosted at hotels, in 2022 Saira Hospitality will open its first permanent school in the UK, with partner hotels including The Hoxton, Nobu Hotel Portman Square and Town Hall Hotel offering life-changing opportunities for those who need them most. Crucially, Saira’s work will also help to counter the staffing crisis that has hit British hospitality during the pandemic.

Media & Tech : David Orlic

Connecting people via an audio advice network

Imagine calling anyone in the world to ask for advice. That’s the premise behind Anyone, a platform co-created by David Orlic that gives people exactly five-minute phone calls in which they receive advice.

Anyone is the product of several converging social trends: the rise of audio as a medium of communication, the growing global market for talking therapy, the rise of bite-size learning platforms, and the time-pressed lives that many people lead.

By championing convenience, Anyone’s non-visual interface also seeks to be less threatening, making micro-mentoring more accessible for both users and givers. ‘Our belief is that there are a lot of five-minute problems that we could be solving – whereas there are a lot of 30- or 60-minute problems that have solutions designed for them already. So we’re kind of building this for those conversations that aren’t happening,’ Orlic tells Tech Crunch.

There’s also potential, Orlic notes, for Anyone to become a sounding board for personal concerns – something that could connect people with advice if they aren’t able to speak to friends or family. ‘[Some] people will call a lot of people and ask them basically the same question or bounce ideas… it’s like building an advisory board for yourself.’

‘Soft values are often neglected in this field [tech], so we're trying to shift the focus towards slowing down and taking care of each other’
Ida Lissner, co-founder of Softer

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