⏩ Future Normal: Fast Forward #8

Carbon-neutral car moonshots; AI-created songs from dead artists; a $300 million live-stream show; offices that look like homes and more...

This week, five compelling glimpses of The Future Normal for you, from tech to retail to economics. Each one illustrates a big underlying shift in how we will live, work and shop.

Will one of them inspire you to think differently about where you head from here? The future is ours to build, together.


Polestar aims to develop offset-free, climate-neutral car

🔮 #FutureNormal // “The Polestar 0“ project exposes corporate Net Zero’s big dirty secret: relying on CO2 offsets. Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar’s CEO, says, “offsetting is a cop-out. By pushing ourselves to create a completely climate-neutral car, we are forced to reach beyond what is possible today.” Today’s moonshot, tomorrow’s reality?  

💡#TrendTruth // Just when you’ve made your big Net Zero declaration…a plucky upstart comes and goes one step further. And just like that, you need to aim higher to avoid falling behind customer expectations. Welcome to the ever-spiralling world of trends :)

U.K. Says Its Seabed Is More Valuable for Environment Than Oil

🔮 #FutureNormal //  At a time when traditional economics has been heavily criticised (by everyone from Daniel Kahneman to Kate Raworth), this feels like a hugely positive step in the right direction.

💡#TrendTruth // What gets measured gets managed. Can integrating the natural environment into our economic models help us avoid a climate disaster?

An AI has written ‘new’ songs by Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix and Amy Winehouse

🔮 #FutureNormal //  Okay, so it’s actually a clever stunt by a Toronto non-profit to draw attention to mental health issues in the music industry. But it shows the kind of fascinating questions we will soon be asking about creativity, post-death IP and artistic authenticity in the AI era.

💡#TrendTruth // True fans won’t be delighted by these replicas. The tangible ‘thing’ today is rarely the ‘thing’. Can you squint past the half-baked, early prototype and see where this leads? What needs does this cater to? What new possibilities could this create?

China’s disgraced live-streaming ‘sales king’ sells $300 million worth of goods in a 12 hour show

🔮 #FutureNormal //  This is just one sign of where retail is headed. Scott Galloway writes of ‘The Great Dispersion’, where the converging disruptions of D2C, social media, and the creator economy redraw the map of consumerism and the world of work.

💡#TrendTruth // Despite all the much-needed focus on sustainability and conscious consumption, the (sad) truth is that we still spend far too much time hunched over our screens, spending money on sh*t we don’t need. We’re can’t resist the social connection and entertainment that livestreaming provides. We’re confused.

The workplace of the future: more like home?

🔮 #FutureNormal //  If the Future of Work is more hybrid and more flexible, how will this change the spaces in which we work? The obvious answer is that there will be more breakout spaces for face-to-face collaboration. The less obvious is that the design of the office will become more comfortable and appealing (at least for pampered white collar workers). My favourite from JWT’s round up? The Citi Wealth Hub in Singapore, pictured above.

💡#TrendTruth // Of course, not everyone’s workplace will have immersive meditation chambers and biophilic design. But what starts at the luxury end of the market will inevitably start to filter down and influence the wider market, too.

Thanks for reading,