New Next Now (July 2016)

5 July 2016 | Keeping Up with the Trends

It’s July and here is our monthly review of some of the too-numerous-to-track stimulating articles, books, videos, and ideas-in-other-forms that we have tagged for you. Nextsensing minds are always stretching to see beyond the marketplace horizon. Our principal researcher for this feature is Kyle Elzy, a man of many talents and our deputy editor, who assembles this listing each month. You can learn more about Kyle [here]. Hope you enjoy this edition of…



Ocean of possibility. A new “wave” of renewable energy might be on the horizon, reports Mark Lammey (@marklammey) for @EnergyVoiceNews. The European Commission has awarded a £3.1 million grant to explore new advancements in wave and tidal energy technology. Two companies will test their systems on the open sea near the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland. Says Oliver Wragg, commercial director at @EMEC_Orkney: “I’m delighted that the EU is supporting full-scale testing and demonstration to help progress towards a commercially-viable industry.” [Read More Now]


Lab-grown lustre. After thousands of years, the diamond industry shows no signs of slowing down — and now the trade is taking a bold leap forward. According to Chavie Leiber (@ChavieLeiber) at @Racked, several American companies have begun to offer “nearly flawless” synthetic diamonds, thanks to a revolutionary process that can churn out lab-grown diamond crystals in a matter of weeks. “There’s no way to look at it and know it’s not natural,” says one purveyor, Ariel Baruch. For him, that’s a step in the right direction. “The lab-grown is the safer option. It’s eco-friendly and there are no negative connotations….” [Read More Now]


Cut and run. A new @LinkedIn article is shedding some light on why companies see their best employees abruptly leave in search of greener pastures. It’s a gradual process, says author Dr. Travis Bradberry (@talentsmarteq), and a big problem: “A survey by CEB found that one-third of star employees feel disengaged from their employer and are already looking for a new job.” Some of the blame lies with unsupportive practices — not sharing the big picture, not letting employees pursue their passions — but Bradberry readily pinpoints another important factor: “people don’t leave jobs; they leave managers.” [Read More Now]


Sick statistic. “Researchers: Medical errors now third leading cause of death in United States” per article by @arianaeunjung in @washingtonpost. [Read More Now]


Beam us up! Many thanks to @Kotaku for sharing their first look at Star Trek: Bridge Crew, an upcoming virtual reality video game that puts players in command of a Federation starship. Reports Mike Fahey (@bunnyspatial): four players assume the role of bridge officers with the freedom to take on missions any way they see fit. “Do they utilize the Kirk approach, or react like sensible, non-crazy people? It’s up to them.” Talk about leadership skills! Developer @Ubisoft revealed the game at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (@E3) and is promising a Fall 2016 release for Vive, Oculus Rift, and Playstation VR. [Read More Now]


Let them eat cake. Walmart is making a serious investment in its workers in 2016, reports Phil Wahba (@philwahba) for @FortuneMagazine — and it’s paying off. The retail giant has spent roughly $2.7 billion in wage increases and has doubled its efforts on customer service: friendliness of staff, availability of merchandise, speed at checkout, and more. “It’s the tiny, noticeable things that should be in our DNA,” says Walmart U.S. COO Judith McKenna. As a result, the company has posted rising sales in each of its last seven quarters. [Read More Now]


More cowbell! The sound of drums is in the air — literally! A pair of tech developers from Liverpool has developed a digital drum kit that allows drummers to play a wide range of percussion arrangements without ever touching a solid surface. Aerodrums uses motion-sensor technology and a computer system that allows players to record over music and use headphones for silent sessions. But what’s the value of a virtual drum kit? Besides keeping the neighbours happy, @deutschewelle indicates that Aerodrums are likely best used “with music that contains more electronic sounds or drum machine sounds.” What an exciting prospect! [Read More Now]


Mars Poster


Mars attracts! Thanks to Maria Popova (@explorer) for some astounding artworks, free: “NASA’s glorious Mars exploration recruitment posters are free to download, with print-quality hi-resolution files available.” [Read More Now]


Listen up, listen in. Podcasts are more popular than ever, but @Strachery founder Ben Thompson (@benthompson) wants to know — what does the future hold? The monetisation of the podcast market seems to be on the horizon, but Thompson cautions against a single-source app solution for all podcasts: “…publishers should offer podcasts through their own app that measures listens, and either sell ads themselves if they have the scale or outsource it…” [Read More Now]


A digital masterpiece? Is the Internet more than just a vast collection of media in virtual form? According to Anna Wiener (@annawiener) for @NewRepublic, that’s precisely what one American journalist believes. Virginia Heffernan’s (@page88) new book, Magic and Loss: The Internet as Art extols the virtues of the World Wide Web as an honest-to-goodness work of art equal to “the pyramid, the aqueduct, the highway, the novel….” What sets the Internet apart, Heffernan argues, is that it’s an endless collaboration. But Wiener points out that the book ignores mountains of tedious online systems — financial software, spreadsheets — which dominate many users’ working lives. “The web is at its best a platform for art,” she counters, “but certainly not art itself.” What do you think? [Read More Now]


Quote of the Month “It’s not the strongest of species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It’s the one most responsive to change.” That’s a classic quote from Charles Darwin, spotlighted by @SteveCase. [Read More Now]


Ooops! @businessinsider reports that PIRCH CEO Jeffery Sears is speaking out on why long-standing retail giants like JCPenny and Macy’s are floundering. “I don’t think [retail has] done a great job of creating a good experience…,” Sears contends. So what does PIRCH do differently? Customers of the kitchen/bath retailer are greeted with a complimentary drink and every appliance and fixture can be tried in the store. Says Sears: “Our job is to make a person’s time in our store the best part of their day, and along the way if we sell them something: great.” Insightful feature by Dennis Green (@DennisVerde). [Read More Now]


Need a rest? NextSensor Steven D’Souza (@cbcsteve) has a warning that probably many should heed. Check out HBR’s “Don’t Get Surprised by Burnout.” [Read More Now]


Just three words. Heard about the effort to pinpoint everywhere (!) on earth by the use of three-word designations. Fascinating! Thanks Robby Berman (@everyrobby) and @bigthink. [Read More Now]


The world in 100. @MechAgri recently shared a fascinating infographic video that illustrates some of the world’s most defining demographics — nationality, age, religion, economic status — scaled down to just 100 people. One of the most astonishing statistics: only “30” people speak the top five world languages; the remaining “70” speak 6,500 other languages! Another eye-opener: just “one” person (1% of the population) controls half of all money on Earth. Unbelievable! [Watch More Now]


SPECIAL NOTE: Joseph Pistrui, founder of The Nextsensing Project, will be overseeing the academic content of a first-of-its-kind curriculum for senior executives. [Read More Now]