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Culture Vulture

Ikon NZ's pulse on the Then, Now, and how it will affect our Future.

We highlight three fields that we've observed change or disruption in. We pick two stand-out stories from each field and share our thoughts on them, ranging from the professional to the outright fan-boyish (or fan-girly). We invite you to learn, discuss, and share your thoughts too. Remember to download pictures for the best experience.
Click on pictures for links to the source

Curated by Vanessa, Client Service

Social networking site Meetup is taking a leap into the Trump resistance by helping millions who share a plethora of interests to come together on a single interest: protesting Trump. This reflects an increasing willingness of major technology firms to take a political stance. Whether brands benefit long term from wading into this extremely polarising and emotionally charged space is up for debate.

Vanessa: The ability to mobilise protests on a global scale in response to decisions by the current POTUS has been marvelled upon worldwide. While this is no new feat for social networks, brands have tended to steer clear. Whether riding on the passion that the current political climate is creating, or having genuine concerns about how policies affect business, taking a stance can be double-edged sword. Arguably the best ads of the 2017 Super Bowl got political. Brand success relies on becoming part of culture to better connect with consumers; in unchartered political territory it can be a risk.

Look out for a new brain-computer interface venture called Neuralink. The company (although still in the earliest stages of existence and has no public presence) is centered on creating devices that can be implanted in the human brain. The eventual purpose: merging human beings with software keeping pace with advancements in AI.

Vanessa: Given the serious investment by some renowned futurists, the stuff of science fiction movies such as Luc Besson's 2014 flick, Lucy (who evolves beyond human logic using 100% of her brain capacity) could be made possible in our lifetime. If the merging of AI and the human brain becomes a reality we'd have to expect strict regulations that promote the positive aspects of this advancement, such as reversing the effects of neurological disease. The hefty cost and ethical arguments around artificially enhancing brain functionality for otherwise healthy people, will limit who "benefits" from this technology.

Curated by Holly, Trading Team

Puffer (short for Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robot) is the latest origami-inspired device being applied to Mars exploration. Although no match to Curiosity, or its successor the Mars 2020 rover's scientific capabilities, Puffer can shape shift. About the size of a phone, it can scuttle up inclines and between little nooks. This is critical to exploration of the Red Planet to reach some science-rich spots rovers are currently unable to access.

Holly: The ancient art of origami has become more sophisticated and arguably relevant over time with some of the principles now used for the design of satellites, robots and even stents. The benefit of combining mathematics, engineering, and origami has meant applications like Puffer are possible and humankind can explore more of the unknown.

Hack has released a "millenial" workspace that allows employees the freedom to personalise their space in order to suit their daily needs and working style, outside of the cubicle norm.

Holly: The popularity of companies offering 'new age' office fittings like hot desks, stand up desks and open floor spaces gives rise to a easy, changeable work space; the freedom to customise becoming more and more necessary. Hack believes employees (particular millennials) respond well to non-traditional office spaces, the thought being tearing down literal barriers skyrockets creativity, productivity, and collaboration. Although a 360 could be in sight with Fortune arguing that we need to revisit the cubicle as the preferred format in 2017 to driving productivity.

Curated by Sanjay, Performance Team

The new JoyRun app let's people find out who (nearby) is already heading out to a restaurant that they like, enabling the possibility for the user to tack on an order of their own. If a user accepts the request, they will pick up and deliver the order for a fee or as a favour.

Sanjay: The food-tech-delivery field is cluttered with competition. JoyRun's focus is not the technology but the business model innovation; taking a 'pooled' approach to delivery. High costs, slow delivery times, and inconsistent service plague the delivery market. JoyRun cuts down on costs and delivery increasing the order size for local businesses.

Snapchat offers deeper shopper data by incentivising consumers to upload their offline (i.e. physical store) shopping receipts into its app in exchange for cash-back rewards. This personal information is turned into consumer insight reports for Snapchat's roster of 75+ brands - including L'Oreal, Nestle and Unilever.

Sanjay: E-commerce continues to grow in South-East Asia, particularly with the likes of Alibaba and Amazon expanding. However, with the sheer number of physical retailers, offline commerce is still difficult to track. Repeated usage of this app allows clients to have access to faster, real time data that is constantly updated by consumer themselves.