Opinion: A peek into the future

We are all finding ways to retain our working connectivity and culture throughout this period, and while our environmental constraints continue to evolve on a daily basis, and many of you, like myself, now find yourselves working from home. One hopes that across the communications industry, challenging times will become a springboard for creativity and innovation.

One of my inspiration "appointment to reads" is the Fast Company 50 most innovative companies in the world for 2020. I started marking it in my diary relatively late, so have only been following since 2013, but over that period some were already household names, that adapted and modified their models such as Nike, Ford, Target, Apple and Microsoft. Whereas some have been nascent and now truly changed the way we communicate, buy, get from A to B, or all of these things – be that Facebook, Amazon, Uber, Snap, Spotify, Tencent and Meituan Dianping.

I was very to see pleased that Chinese brands have been recognised more of late, other than simply US HQ’ed tech giants. Whilst some businesses from the list have fallen by the wayside, there is always something to learn and admire in amazingly diverse categories.

The big Silicon Valley venture capital gurus such as Mark Andreessen who literally get pitched thousands of ideas a year decide to invest in few, but many on this list will have already caught their attention.

The list is definitely as a bit of a peek into the future. Be that AR, VR, peer-to-peer lending, communication, commerce - and stuff that will impact us all as consumers, and many of (y)our clients businesses now and into the next few years. This year’s things that have caught my eye:

#12: Beyond Meat - plant based foods

Whilst far less significant contributors to global warming than fossil fuel combustion, animal agriculture and meat consumption are still having a major impact. Beyond Meats is now working with three of the world’s major quick service restaurants, McDonald’s - a PLT as opposed to BLT(!) subway meatball sub and KFC fried chicken to provide plant-based foods.

#24-26: CaaStle, Thred Up and Trove - recycling and renting of clothes

There are amazing things happening in more sustainably aware, less disposable world. Apparel producers consume 108 million tons of non-renewable resources every year and emit 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gases, more than all international flights and maritime shipping trips combined. Meanwhile, a truckload of clothes is either sent to the landfill or incinerated every second.

#38: Footprint - tackling single use plastics

According to Fast Company, the trillion-dollar (and growing) CPG industry’s meat trays, shelf- stable bowls, disposable cups, and other containers account for almost 150 million tons of single-use plastics each year. It added that this equals about 25 Great Pyramids of Giza - and less than 14% of it is recycled each year. The remainder is landfilled, burned into the atmosphere, or left in the environment.

#29: Strava – helping make our cities more inclusive

Social and location data have always inspired app innovation so great that as I am starting to run again (slowly and not far) ,great that Strava which has been recommended to be and downloaded last week is on the list. It sells access to the world’s largest anonymous active transportation data set to city planners, who use it to make “cities better for cycling and running so more people can participate".

#36: Color of Change is looking to transform the criminal justice system

By looking more closely at the district attorneys who prosecute people of colour for political gain, the non-profit has helped more than a dozen reform-minded district attorneys win office: “We’re changing the landscape of what is acceptable behaviour among prosecutors.”

Truly fascinating and inspiring stuff. There is something that you will read and go WOW...I promise.

The writer is Leigh Terry, CEO, IPG Mediabrands Asia Pacific.