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Innovation
13 June 2024

In May 2024, Shanghai techno club Heim hosted Bassbath, an inclusive clubbing experience geared towards individuals with hearing impairments. Created by curatorial collective Transparent Afternoon, the event was organized by a team comprised of both hearing and deaf members.

The club night saw music augmented with visuals and vibrations, while artists and advocates led activities designed to connect hearing and deaf partygoers, such as a sign language crash course and a sign language rap performance. And as the event's organizers point out, there's an equalizing effect when music is booming — it's too loud to talk, "so we express ourselves with body language." With plans for future events, BassBath aims to create a vibrant movement for the deaf community and its allies.

Read Acacia's trend take on BassBath

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Trend
12 June 2024

Marathon du Mont-Blanc reserves bibs for runners arriving by train

Later this month, 11,000 runners will descend on Chamonix to participate in one of eight races, including the Marathon du Mont-Blanc. Among the world's most famous trail running events, they're set in stunning natural surroundings. So it's not surprising that Le Club des Sports de Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, which organizes the races, is bent on minimizing their environmental impact.

Previously implemented initiatives include banning plastic water bottles and reducing food miles by sourcing from local producers. Recently, Le Club des Sports de Chamonix-Mont-Blanc announced a new measure to drastically cut transport-related emissions: in 2025, 40% of all marathon bibs will be reserved for runners arriving by train. Participants who can't show their train ticket will be disqualified from starting.

Massive Attack offers VIP access and dedicated trains

British band Massive Attack, meanwhile, is wielding carrots instead of sticks for its August 2024 homecoming gig in Bristol — billed as the 'lowest carbon emissions show of its size ever held.' To persuade ticket-holders to travel by train instead of car, the concert's organizers are partnering with Train Hugger to offer a comprehensive set of incentives.

Train tickets can be swapped for a wristband that provides access to a VIP bar and toilets; wristband wearers get a free ride back to the rail station after the show via electric bus; post-show, rail operator GWR will also reserve five 'show special' trains departing from Bristol; and each train ticket will contribute to the planting of 19,150 native oak trees on former farmland near Bristol.

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Innovation
12 June 2024

The UK's National Health Service (NHS) is set to roll out a partnership with Flok Health, the country's first AI-powered physiotherapy clinic, in an effort to reduce waiting times and alleviate pressure on healthcare providers. Flok's platform, which has been approved as a registered healthcare provider, will offer NHS patients same-day access to automated video appointments with an AI physiotherapist via a smartphone app.

Patients seeking treatment for back pain can be referred to Flok Health through their primary care physician or can self-refer directly to the service. During an initial video assessment, the AI physiotherapist evaluates the patient's symptoms and, if approved for treatment, provides on-demand video appointments, prescribes exercises and pain management techniques and adjusts treatments based on the patient's progress.

For now, Flok has only been authorized to treat back pain, but it's working on clinics for other musculoskeletal conditions. The service will be introduced later this year.

Read our trend bite on AI solutions in healthcare
Innovation
11 June 2024

The first product of its kind, Vaseline Pro Derma Transition Body Lotion is explicitly targeted to transgender women. The lotion was created in collaboration with Thailand's transgender community to address the unique skin challenges people face during and after the transition process. Ingredients tackle common skin-related side effects of hormone therapy, such as sensitivity to light, dullness, irritation, uneven skin tone and proneness to allergies.

Available exclusively at Watsons stores across Thailand and Watsons online, Vaseline Pro Derma Transition Body Lotion launched in February 2024. The product, which was suggested to Unilever by Ogilvy Singapore, just made the Glass shortlist for Cannes Lions 2024.

See our trend bite and Ogilvy's ad
Innovation
10 June 2024

In the UK, around 250,000 tents are left behind on music festival grounds every summer, with most ending up in landfills. Addressing that colossal amount of waste, sporting goods retailer Decathlon has relaunched No Tent Left Behind, a campaign incentivizing customers to buy one of its tents and return it for a full refund.

Festival-goers who purchase a tent from the retailer's MH100 range and return it before 13 September 2024 will get their money back in the form of a digital gift card. They can use the tent as often as they like, as long as they don't damage it. The buy-back expands on a scheme initiated by Decathlon in 2023, which only applied to a GBP 29.99 tent.

While eco-friendlier choices often come with higher price tags, Decathlon's initiative aims to make a sustainable option not just accessible but more or less free of charge. The brand is also solving a problem it helped cause — with prices as low as GBP 29.99, consumers are inclined to view cheap tents as single-use items. As for the returned tents? They'll be refurbished and resold through Decathlon's Second Life program.

Stat
10 June 2024

When thinking about the gender gap, pay and employment disparities often top the list. Now, a new divide is emerging, with AI threatening to widen existing inequalities. Deloitte highlights gender-based emotional disparities regarding AI, even among younger people:

📉 Women’s top emotion is uncertainty: 28% of Gen Z and Millennial women express uncertainty about generative AI, compared to 20% of Gen Z men and 24% of Millennial men. 

📈 Men’s top emotion is excitement: 24% of Gen Z men and 26% of Millennial men feel excited about generative AI, while 19% of Gen Z women and 20% of Millennial women say the same.

🧑‍🎓 Women also feel less comfortable working alongside gen AI systems and tools, and are less likely to seek out related training.

So, how can your company bridge the gender gap in AI adoption and comfort levels? Education is key! As the study found, AI knowledge drives trust and interest. Empower all of your employees through training, while honestly addressing their concerns. Ensure that women have equal access to AI-related projects that can help them gain practical experience, and actively seek to include women in key AI initiatives and leadership roles within AI projects.

Sign of the times
7 June 2024

On June 5th, World Environment Day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres declared that humanity is at a "moment of truth" in the fight against climate change. Guterres spoke directly to advertising agencies and PR companies: "Many in the fossil fuel industry have shamelessly greenwashed — even as they have sought to delay climate action — with lobbying, legal threats, and massive ad campaigns. They have been aided and abetted by advertising and PR companies."

Guterres continued: "I call on these companies to stop acting as enablers to planetary destruction. Stop taking on new fossil fuel clients, from today, and set out plans to drop your existing ones. Fossil fuels are not only poisoning our planet — they're toxic for your brand. Your sector is full of creative minds who are already mobilizing around this cause. They are gravitating towards companies that are fighting for our planet — not trashing it."

"Many governments restrict or prohibit advertising for products that harm human health, like tobacco. Some are now doing the same with fossil fuels. I urge every country to ban advertising from fossil fuel companies. And I urge news media and tech companies to stop taking fossil fuel advertising."

Trend
7 June 2024

No-code platforms that leverage AI are plugging a gap that previously only developers could fill — exponentially expanding opportunities for side-hustlers. From drag-and-drop tools to democratized app creation, no-code platforms remove the roadblock of development costs and know-how, and reportedly save creators up to 26 hours a week.

Recent launches include Kajabi, which allows anyone to build their own branded app, KLIQ, which helps creators transition into business owners, game creation platform Jamango, and immersive web experience builder Infinite Reality.

As more people aspire to take the leap into full-time maker/solopreneur mode, how could your brand support them with mentorship, financial capital, community or access to advanced AI tools?

Stat
6 June 2024

From Delhi to Sacramento, temperatures are soaring, with 2024 poised to shatter last year's records for the hottest summer ever, leaving cities sweating and scrambling for cooling solutions… 🥵

A study published in Nature Communications in May 2024 warns that by 2050, the cumulative heat exposure for older people (aged 69+) will triple worldwide, affecting 246 million people. The effect will be particularly pronounced in low- and middle-income countries in Asia and Africa that are more prone to climate change-induced heatwaves. Coinciding trends of aging populations and rapidly rising temperatures are set to create hotspots of vulnerability.

As the study explains, "Increases in the intensity, duration and frequency of heat spells pose direct threats to physical health and mortality risk, with especially severe consequences for older adults, given their heightened susceptibility to hyperthermia and common health conditions worsened by heat exposure, such as cardiovascular disease."

In the face of these new climate realities, what's your strategy for supporting vulnerable aging populations in your region?

Innovation
6 June 2024

Instead of a tome about Swedish stugas or the origin of meatballs, IKEA Poland has published a Lexicon of Good Language. It's a guide promoting inclusive language and challenging harmful and exclusionary rhetoric in everyday communication. The lexicon was created with seven NGOs as part of IKEA's ongoing #ChangingTheNarrative campaign. Each section focuses on language related to different groups vulnerable to discrimination: people with disabilities, the LGBT+ community, national and ethnic minorities, refugees, younger and older people.

The Lexicon of Good Language was designed to be accessible and easy to understand. Each chapter lists which words are discouraged and why, along with suggested alternatives. By sharing the document as a free download, IKEA aims to inspire people to check whether they're being unintentionally hurtful, and to rethink which terms and phrases they incorporate into casual conversations and workplace interactions.

See our trend bite on IKEA's push for inclusivity
Insight
5 June 2024

A newly-published survey by Slack's Workforce Lab reveals that over two-thirds of office workers in the US, Australia, France, Germany, Japan and the UK have yet to use AI tools on the job. Of those who do use AI, 81% report increased productivity (and just 7% consider AI outputs completely trustworthy).

Other insights gleaned from the survey:

  • Execs race to embrace "Nearly all executives (96%) now feel an urgency to incorporate AI into business operations. The share of leaders aiming to do this 'in the next 18 months' has grown 7x since September 2023, rising from 5% to 35% of all executives"
  • White workers lagging "AI use is accelerating at a faster clip among workers of color, with 43% of Hispanic/Latinx desk workers, 42% of Black desk workers and 36% of Asian American desk workers having tried AI tools at work, compared with 29% of white desk workers"
  • Gen Z gender gap "While young people are most likely to have experimented with AI tools, Gen Z men are 25% more likely to have tried AI tools compared with Gen Z women"
Innovation
5 June 2024

Chemicals in most sunscreens can kill or bleach coral, even at extremely low concentrations. And an estimated 14,000 tons of sunscreen enter waterways every year. The problem is especially acute in areas with heavy tourism and recreation. While reef-safe sunscreens are slowly gaining market share, a new formulation called Reef Relief goes a step further with ingredients that actively support coral health.

Two years in the making, Reef Relief was developed by global ad agency McCann in partnership with sunscreen brand Stream2Sea. In addition to being reef-safe and protecting humans from UV rays, the product contains 'a unique blend of marine nutrients' that help coral thrive. Six months of testing by Dr Michael Sweet at the University of Derby found that the sunscreen can boost coral growth by up to 8% in some species.

Reef Relief will be available for purchase soon, with a waitlist now open.

Read our trend take on Reef Relief
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Innovation
4 June 2024

The UK's pioneering walk-in mental health shop, Self Space, is offering a new series of events called Walk Club, designed to help people break out of their ruts. Tapping into the insight that over half of Brits feel stuck and in need of change, these therapist-guided group walks encourage taking a step towards renewed momentum and social connection.

Walk Club participants are paired up and provided with conversation prompts to facilitate meaningful exchanges as they stroll through various parts of London. Beyond stretching legs, the guided walks also flex emotional and social muscles, practicing vulnerability, active listening and empathy. For people outside London, Self Space is offering a free download of 1,000 conversation prompts "to facilitate walkie talkies from wherever you are. With the people you love." Categories range from 'For parents with empty nests' to 'For busy people who never rest.'

By blending light physical activity with emotional exploration, the Walk Club format lowers the barrier to entry for those daunted by more formal mental health settings while providing a dose of analog community and IRL connection. As Self Space says, "Come as strangers, leave as friends." 

Loneliness epidemic? Maybe not. Check out Liesbeth's trend take on Walk Club
Innovation
4 June 2024

A free AI-powered wallet called Kudos automatically calculates credit card rewards and benefits to help shoppers maximize their cards' potential. It operates as a browser extension and iOS app, optimizing online shopping by determining each item's potential credit card rewards. By paying with the best card for a specific purchase, consumers reap more points and other benefits.

Users can set up a Kudos wallet by selecting their debit and credit cards from an extensive database. The accompanying browser extension displays a yellow badge when they're shopping; clicking it reveals their wallet and showcases the optimal card to employ at checkout. 

Kudos supports over 2 million merchants and is compatible with more than 3,000 credit and debit cards. While currently exclusive to the US, Kudos plans to expand globally. Launched in 2022, the startup has since grown to 200,000 registered users, as reported by TechCrunch, and just raised USD 10 million in series A funding to build out its capabilities as an AI-driven personal finance assistant.

Trend
3 June 2024

The 2024 Paris Olympics aren't just about sports but aim to showcase sustainable food, too. With over 13 million meals to be served during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, organizers see a monumental opportunity to spotlight cuisine that's not just delectable but also comes with a lower environmental impact.

France intends to leverage its culinary reputation to inspire more eco-friendly eating habits, both at major sporting events and at home. A prime example is the Athletes' Village dining hall, which will offer 500 recipes and make over a third of dishes entirely plant-based when it opens as the 'world's largest restaurant.' Spectators will see more meatless options, too. At the La Concorde venue, 100% of food served to visitors will be vegetarian. 

Additionally, 80% of the ingredients used will come from France, and 30% from organic farms or those in the process of converting. In canteens, both the nutritional values and environmental impact of each course will be displayed. By dramatically increasing meat-free options, Paris 2024 aims to halve the carbon footprint of catering at the Olympics.

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