New Next Now (Trends for December 2016)

15 Decem­ber 2016 | Keep­ing Up with the Trends

Game chang­er? @Nintendo leads our tech trends as it has set the gam­ing world on fire with the reveal of its lat­est inno­va­tion in the video game mar­ket: the Nin­ten­do Switch. Why all the com­mo­tion? When Switch hits shelves next year, it’ll be the first gam­ing device to bring con­sole and mobile gam­ing togeth­er into one unique pack­age. The reveal trail­er opens with a tra­di­tion­al gam­ing set up — a TV and con­troller — but wastes no time show­cas­ing the “switch”, which allows gamers to pick up the device and go mobile, and even bring friends into the mix, all with­out ever leav­ing the game.

This is clas­sic Nin­ten­do, writes Nick Wing­field (@nickwingfield) for @nytimes: “…Nin­ten­do often zigs while its rivals zag.… [and] has been more con­cerned with giv­ing gamers nov­el ways of play­ing games, rather than cre­at­ing the most immer­sive expe­ri­ences pos­si­ble”. With the mete­oric rise of mobile gam­ing, and Sony and Microsoft already crowd­ing the “hard­core” gam­ing mar­ket, it’s hard to argue against Nin­ten­do’s strat­e­gy. But some have, includ­ing mobile ana­lyst Dr. Serkan Toto (@serkantoto), who recent­ly shared his thoughts with James Bright­man (@Bright_Pixels) at @GIBiz: “The Switch lacks a killer fea­ture, and I think it will be very dif­fi­cult for Nin­ten­do to win back the casu­al gamers that are most­ly on mobile now”. [Read More Now] 

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Turn off the TV! When The Nextsens­ing Project pub­lished its find­ings on the future of tele­vi­sion [link], many prob­a­bly doubt­ed whether its pre­dic­tions would come to pass. Well, they are! One more sign: The Dis­ney-owned sports net­work, @ESPN, is see­ing record dropoff in sub­scribers. Says Bri­an Fung (@b_fung) in @washingtonpost: “The stag­ger­ing loss­es have led to calls by ana­lysts for Dis­ney to spin off or sell the belea­guered net­work, which has lost 9 mil­lion sub­scribers in three years.” The pow­er of social media seems to be over­tak­ing the TV indus­try behe­moths. Thanks for spot­ting this, @dougscripts! [Read More Now]

Say “au revoir” to the office. This month, @Upwork CEO Stephane Kas­riel (@skasriel) penned an op-ed for @wef about the future of the glob­al work­place. He writes: “By 2030, mil­len­ni­als will have senior posi­tions. They will bring with them this men­tal­i­ty that work does­n’t need to be 9‑to‑5 nor does it have to be done in an office space”. It’s imper­a­tive for both man­agers and com­pa­nies to be ready for this shift, Kas­riel believes, and to keep employ­ees engaged and learn­ing. But that’s not all. Kas­riel also sees the “urgent” need for a more open, col­lab­o­ra­tive approach, where “men and women can achieve their poten­tial irre­spec­tive of race, eth­nic­i­ty, reli­gion, coun­try of ori­gin or coun­try of res­i­dence” and “where pay is fair and there is an appro­pri­ate safe­ty net for all”. [Read More Now]

Respon­sive lead­er­ship! Pow­er­ful arti­cle by Zaman­tung­wa Khu­ma­lo (@Zamantungwa_K): “This is what respon­sive lead­er­ship real­ly means”. See if this open­ing para­graph does­n’t make you want to check it out: “A few months ago I was pro­duc­ing a talk radio show on one of the most lis­tened to mid-morn­ing radio shows in Gaut­eng, South Africa. The first hour of the show is an open line, where lis­ten­ers can reflect on some of the sto­ries that have made head­lines in the pre­vi­ous day and share with us what they think are solu­tions to our country’s press­ing chal­lenges. An old man, Mand­la, called into the show and want­ed to share his sto­ry with our lis­ten­ers. What fol­lowed was the epit­o­me of what respon­sive lead­er­ship means to me and a tes­ti­mo­ny that lead­er­ship isn’t exclu­sive­ly for peo­ple in posi­tions of pow­er, but applies to every one of us, regard­less of age, pro­fes­sion and title.” This is a spe­cial bonus link from World Eco­nom­ic Forum. [Read More Now]

Lis­ten up. Any bio­log­ic trends? Sure. Our bod­ies have a lot to say, if we’re will­ing to lis­ten. Avi­va Rutkin (@realavivahr) at @NewScientist reports that an incred­i­ble new “smart” mon­i­tor­ing device might soon help doc­tors detect ill­ness­es using sounds. The device is tiny – just 20 mil­lime­tres – and sticks to the skin like a tem­po­rary tat­too, but it’s pow­er­ful enough to pick up a wide range of vibra­tions, includ­ing heart­beats. The built-in sen­sors can accu­rate­ly iden­ti­fy heart mur­murs and blood clots and can even be pro­grammed to deter­mine spo­ken words. Says Dr. Reza Bah­man­yar from the Impe­r­i­al Col­lege in Lon­don: “[This tech­nol­o­gy]… basi­cal­ly opens a new dimen­sion of infor­ma­tion”, imply­ing that the device could pro­vide a break­through in the ear­ly detec­tion of seri­ous med­ical issues. [Read More Now]

Smart cement? From @nwtls: Michael Irv­ing has a fas­ci­nat­ing sto­ry on cement that can now be “pro­grammed”. “The mod­ern world is like­ly home to more con­crete jun­gles than nat­ur­al ones, and although we’ve been using the mate­r­i­al for hun­dreds of years, the recipe can always use some improve­ment. Researchers at Rice Uni­ver­si­ty have found a way to “pro­gram” cement par­ti­cles into spe­cif­ic shapes in order to make con­crete that’s stronger, less porous, and more envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly.” [Read More Now]

Art of the… smell? Sis­sel Tolaas is not like oth­er artists. For more than 20 years, the Berlin­er with a back­ground in math­e­mat­ics and chem­istry has used the medi­um of smell to cre­ate her elab­o­rate “SmellScapes”, accord­ing to Jor­dan Todor­ov (@jordan_todorov) writ­ing for @atlasobscura. The val­ue, Tolaas explains, is tremen­dous: smells can tell us a lot about who we are and the issues we face at any giv­en time in his­to­ry. Her cur­rent focus lies in map­ping the smells of major cities across the globe. “Every city has an iden­ti­ty… the odor depends on things like cli­mate change, geog­ra­phy, demog­ra­phy, and so on”, says Tolaas, who has col­lect­ed every­thing from body odor to auto exhaust. She believes her data will allow future gen­er­a­tions to learn about (and expe­ri­ence, if they dare) some mea­sure of today’s real­i­ty. [Read More Now]

Pin­ing for the sky. The avi­a­tion indus­try qui­et­ly record­ed a new “first” last week. @AlaskaAir Flight 4, cross­ing the Unit­ed States from Seat­tle to Wash­ing­ton, D.C., became the first-ever com­mer­cial flight to use bio­fu­el made from wood waste. It’s the first step in a new ini­tia­tive to reach zero car­bon emis­sions by 2020, reports Kris­ten Schmitt (@kristen_schmitt) for @SmithsonianMag. The wood is har­vest­ed from pri­vate forests in the US and processed through a new chem­i­cal tech­nique that speeds up fer­men­ta­tion of the wood sug­ars, which are then used to cre­ate the bio­fu­el. Patrick Gru­ber (@PatrickGruber), CEO of bio­fu­els com­pa­ny @Gevo_Inc, is the one to thank for the inno­va­tion, but he’s hun­gry for more: “We can do wood or corn starch or beet sug­ar… what­ev­er car­bo­hy­drate source from any­where in the world”. Project co-direc­tor Mike Wol­cott sees the tech­nol­o­gy hav­ing a greater impact: “…a 70 per cent reduc­tion in green­house gas emis­sions in com­par­i­son to our con­ven­tion­al petro­le­um fuel”. [Read More Now]

Quick­ly, now. Three trends to keep an eye on: (1) “A robot is being devel­oped to wash, dry, sort and fold your clothes.” [Read More Now] (2) Want to read a nov­el in the form of… a text mes­sage? Antho­ny Ha (@anthonyha) says you can. [Read More Now] (3) Inter­est­ed in a quick sum­ma­ry of the dif­fer­ences between old and new med­i­cine? Check this tweet by @EricTopol. [Read More Now] 

Women on the rise. Some excit­ing news from our Asian friends: accord­ing to man­age­ment con­sult­ing firm @OliverWyman, over 30 per cent of asset/fund man­agers in Asia are women. That fig­ure eas­i­ly dwarfs the glob­al aver­age (15 per cent). In Chi­na alone, female man­agers run about one-quar­ter of the coun­try’s funds. Why the recent trend? Reports Li Xiang for @ChinaDaily: “Rapid eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment” and a still-bur­geon­ing finan­cial indus­try in Asia have result­ed in a short­age of both expe­ri­ence and rel­e­vant man­age­ment skills. “…[we] need­ed lots of new pro­fes­sion­als quick­ly and firms were will­ing to search beyond the tra­di­tion­al tal­ent pool to recruit and pro­mote female invest­ment pro­fes­sion­als”, says @Fidelity port­fo­lio man­ag­er Gillian Kwek. But it’s not all about gen­der. Says @DianrongChina CMO Pat Jing: “This has cre­at­ed more oppor­tu­ni­ties for women to move for­ward in their careers, not because they are women but because they are good man­agers”. [Read More Now]

Buy dif­fer­ent. Is @Apple chang­ing the way we decide to make pur­chas­es? The tech giant’s Touch ID scan­ner, a new fea­ture found in the lat­est iter­a­tion of the Mac­Book Pro, eschews the dif­fi­cul­ty of pro­tect­ing and man­ag­ing unse­cured cred­it cards, as well as the anti­quat­ed expe­ri­ence of hand­ing over legal ten­der (I’m being glib here). The psy­chol­o­gy can’t be ignored, says con­sumer sci­en­tist Sachin Banker (@sachinbank): “You might assume from a ratio­nal point of view, there should be no dif­fer­ence in spend­ing behav­iour based on how you’re pay­ing for the item, using Touch ID ver­sus a cred­it card”, but the data is begin­ning to sug­gest oth­er­wise. Although con­sumers link Apple Pay to a cred­it or deb­it card, the phys­i­cal act of touch­ing the scan­ner to make a pur­chase is more inti­mate and requires no tan­gi­ble rep­re­sen­ta­tion of pay­ment. Not only does that make the psy­cho­log­i­cal deci­sion to buy eas­i­er, but fin­ger­print scan­ners like the Touch ID tend to place more empha­sis on iden­ti­ty and per­son­al choice. Many thanks to @WIRED’s Andrew P. Han (@ahanGW) for this insight­ful arti­cle. [Read More Now]

A stel­lar hon­our. Depart­ing Unit­ed States Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma recent­ly hon­oured 21 remark­able indi­vid­u­als — ath­letes, enter­tain­ers, phil­an­thropists — with the pres­ti­gious Medal of Free­dom Award. Among those recip­i­ents was Mar­garet Hamil­ton, a sin­gu­lar­ly accom­plished tech pio­neer who “invent­ed the term ‘soft­ware engi­neer’ ”, writes Anisa Pur­basari (@a_purbasari) for @verge. The @MIT-edu­cat­ed Hamil­ton designed crit­i­cal guid­ance and nav­i­ga­tion sys­tems for @NASA space­craft dur­ing the his­toric Apol­lo mis­sions in the 1960s, includ­ing the famed 1963 Apol­lo 11 moon land­ing. Con­grats to Mar­garet Hamil­ton for her much-deserved recog­ni­tion. [Read More Now]

Top lessons, today’s lead­ers. Recent­ly, @FortuneMagazine reached out to its “For­tune 40 under 40” and asked: “What’s the best lead­er­ship advice you have ever received?” Some answers are fresh and fun; oth­ers, time-hon­oured and reli­able. But every leader inter­viewed brought a wealth of ener­gy and sea­soned per­spec­tive to the table. Mike Can­non-Brookes (@mcannonbrookes) of soft­ware devel­op­er @Atlassian says: “Lis­ten to all the advice that you’re giv­en, and be very dis­cern­ing about which to fol­low. Just blind­ly fol­low­ing all the advice you get… is prob­a­bly a path to fail­ure”. My favourite comes from film stu­dio @STXEnt CEO Sophie Watts: “Just be kind to peo­ple. Be kind, and know that peo­ple are your pow­er”. [Read More Now]

Con­fi­dence is key. Accord­ing to @businessinsider, a new study at @unimelb has iden­ti­fied a tan­gi­ble link between con­fi­dence and suc­cess. But how is con­fi­dence achieved? What meth­ods can be employed to stay ahead of ten­ta­tive­ness and self-doubt? Dr. Travis Brad­ber­ry (@talensmarteq) shares 10 help­ful strate­gies that con­fi­dent peo­ple are already using to stay on their game. #1 (speak­ing with cer­tain­ty) and #8 (tak­ing risks) are no-brain­ers, but I like his #4: don’t seek atten­tion. “Con­fi­dent peo­ple know that being your­self is much more effec­tive than try­ing to prove that you’re impor­tant”. [Read More Now]

Lib­er­al arts win­ners? Lis­ten up, fel­low British degree hold­ers. This recent arti­cle from @qz is near-and-dear to my heart, as it proves that even a lib­er­al arts edu­ca­tion can lead to a lucra­tive career. How, you ask? Free­lance copy­writer Cather­ine Baab-Muguira (@Greedzilla1) expounds on the world of direct-response adver­tis­ing, where­in com­pa­nies hire free­lance copy­writ­ers to pen mar­ket­ing let­ters to cus­tomers. “You prob­a­bly know it as ‘junk mail’ or, on the Inter­net, as ‘click-bait,’ Baab-Muguira writes. So what are these young writ­ers earn­ing in exchange for their ser­vices? She con­tin­ues: “I’ve met one-time British majors who… go free agent when their con­trac­t’s up because they’re mak­ing ‘only’ $250,000 a year”. [Read More Now]


Kyle ElzyKyle Thomas Elzy research­es and writes our month­ly fea­ture of what’s hot in the nextsens­ing world. He is a sto­ry­teller by trade. His pro­fes­sion­al back­ground lies in copy­writ­ing, edit­ing, scriptwrit­ing, graphic/web design, and audio/video edit­ing. He has col­lab­o­rat­ed close­ly with numer­ous muse­um, aca­d­e­m­ic, cor­po­rate, and non­prof­it organisations.

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