- Big business consultancies continue to swallow up creative agencies of all kinds - the latest is Deloitte acquiring the digital marketing / ad agency Heat. Anyone who has read this newsletter for awhile knows we're skeptical that these "corporate eating creative" relationships will hold up and provide value in the longer term. It makes sense that business consultancies are looking for ways to build out service offerings to capitalize on what humans continue to do well, namely create new ideas. As software continues to eat the actuarial aspects of their businesses and productivity tools that don't require expert implementation continue to grow, gains have to come from other quarters.
- We almost certainly haven't reached peak internet-of-things, though it can feel like it when companies start putting circuit boards into water pitchers. With so many businesses working to build connectivity into their devices, this could be a good time for the U.S. to implement mandatory producer reprocessing/recycling systems, and an e-waste tax. Just because the dollar cost of components have fallen, it doesn't mean that the externalized environmental costs we're all stuck with have gone down.
- An app to help people of color find out what various makeup brands will look like on their skin before they buy it. It's a smart solution to the problem, but the fashion & cosmetics industries ought to be correcting their flawed processes that assume whiteness - as with many design bias blindspots, it likely comes down to homogeneity in the makeup of decision makers along the way.
- Apparently, when we measure certain activities, we enjoy them less. This doesn't bode well for the quantified self tech of fitness trackers helping us internalize the active behaviors they are supposed to encourage.
- Trader Joe's abstains from social media. A good read on the IRL appeals that Trader Joe's counts on to carve out a competitive identity in the grocery business.
Technology as a Threat:
- Human traffickers are using implanted electronic tags to track the people they prey on, making it more difficult for law enforcement to have opportunities to intervene. Increasingly, health care workers are taking up responsibilities as front-line advocates for victims.
- Appreciating ancient innovations: The Smithsonian gets into some pretty wild nano fabrication techniques developed in Rome.
- Making plastics from chewed gum. It's innovative, it's environmentally responsible....maybe just don't tell us where that plastic fork started out.