What's Emerging July 2021

A newsletter on interesting stuff that is emerging around the world so you can think about strategy


Welcome to our July newsletter for 2021.

In the next few weeks, Paul will continue working with a council on their community vision, and work with a new leadership team in the food sector. He will also be working on a value adding strategy for agriculture in Queensland and working with the AFL Players Association on their next strategic plan (with futurist Reanna Browne who is the lead consultant). Paul will also continue working in his role as advisor for foresight and strategy to Save the Children Australia. He will also be presenting to The CEO Institute Certified Management Program on foresight for practical strategy.

Paul is also acting as lead partner for a Social Venture Partners Melbourne pro bono project with Little Dreamers, a fantastic organisation helping young people who are caring for a family member. He will also be working on strategy with the Boys to the Bush, a not for profit organisation that runs programs for disengaged boys. He is also facilitating the creation of a new strategic plan for Social Venture Partners Melbourne.

We continue to build our Red Teaming initiative and more outside experts have been added since the last newsletter. You can read more about Red Teaming here or you can see the amazing breadth of our team here.

If you want to talk about the use of foresight or red teaming in your strategy for 2021 then please Contact Us.

To all our subscribers in NSW our thoughts are with you. Here in Melbourne we know how tough it is to be in lockdown for COVID for an extended period but until we get much higher vaccination rates there is no alternative but to grind it out. Please stay safe.

The Emergent Futures Team

In case you missed it. The most popular link from the last edition:

“Impossible:” Tesla Model S does 400,000km on one set of brake pads... read more

What are we Writing About?

Paul wrote: A Speculation: Has the UK reached herd immunity and what does it mean for Australia? What happens in the UK in the next 2-4 weeks will be very instructive for Australian Pandemic policy…. Read it Here

What’s Emerging

Experimental Brain Implant Lets Man With Paralysis Turn His Thoughts Into Words

The ability comes from an experimental implanted device that decodes signals in the man's brain that once controlled his vocal tract…. Read More

A Perspective on Hydrogen Investment, Deployment and Cost Competitiveness

Hydrogen definitely has a role to play in the energy system of the next century. There is still considerable debate on how big a role. Here is a good perspective..…. Read more

Facebook Is Giving Up on Reading Your Brain, for Now

Facebook is mostly abandoning its plan to hook users’ brains directly into Facebook, at least for now. For the foreseeable future, you’ll have to settle for hooking your wrist directly into an Oculus Rift..….. Read more

Snap buys another company to make AR shopping a reality

The parent company of Snapchat has bought Vertebrae, a company that lets brands create and manage 3D versions of their goods. Vertebrae’s 50-person team will keep developing the platform for existing and new clients, according to a Snap spokesperson. The idea is that a company can easily upload visuals and other information about an item into Vertebrae and have a 3D version made for shoppers to access, and potentially buy directly, within Snapchat...…. Read more

Retail workers are quitting at record rates for higher-paying work

Some are finding less stressful positions at insurance agencies, marijuana dispensaries, banks and local governments, where their customer service skills are rewarded with higher wages and better benefits. Others are going back to school to learn new trades, or waiting until they are able to secure reliable child care...….. Read more

Millions of feral pigs pose bigger threat to environment than previously thought

By uprooting carbon trapped in soil, the research estimates that they're emitting the equivalent of more than a million cars globally each year....….. Read more

DeepMind says it will release the structure of every protein known to science

So far the trove consists of 350,000 newly predicted protein structures. DeepMind says it will predict and release the structures for more than 100 million more in the next few months—more or less all proteins known to science.....…. Read more

In related news: Researchers match DeepMind’s AlphaFold2 protein folding power with faster, freely available model

Let the race commence..….. Read more

Chinese internet giant introduces facial recognition technology in a bid to control underage gaming

Midnight patrol' uses an algorithm to identify underage players based on the time they play, how long they play, and their behaviours in the game. Those users then have their faces scanned. If the scans don't match the photo identification documents provided to the company, the user will be immediately kicked out of their game..…..Read more

Australia’s Vaulta says its battery casing technology is game changer for EVs

The battery casing technology, developed by Brisbane-based company Vaulta, uses a blend of graphene, polymer and other composites to deliver significant improvements in weight, strength, and thermal and electrical conductivity of lithium-ion batteries. ..….….Read more

Miami is the first city in the world with a chief heat officer

One major task she’ll take on is prioritizing the communities most in need. Heat has a disparate impact on low-income and minority populations, often because they work outdoors, have preexisting conditions, lack access to healthcare and private vehicles, and live in substandard housing. “The people least responsible for it are bearing the brunt of it,” Baughman McLeod says. Gilbert also wants to retrofit substandard housing with “weatherizing” tools to help protect residents in heat waves, and to put standards in place that afford outdoor workers cooler conditions and frequent breaks. Going forward, she hopes for the city to start planning its systems and structures through “a lens of heat.” …….Read more

Woodside's plans to convert old offshore oil facility into artificial reef could set precedent for industry

Australia's biggest oil and gas company plans to dump part of an oil facility it failed to properly maintain on the sea floor to create an "artificial reef", less than two kilometres from the Ningaloo Coast Reef World Heritage Area in Western Australia.  …. Read more

The return of superstar cities

As the pandemic emptied out Main Streets and normalized telework, many experts speculated that it would loosen superstar coastal cities' grip on the economy… but ..…..Read more

How the coronavirus infects cells — and why Delta is so dangerous

A fascinating piece in Nature. But be warned, once you see the GIF there it will haunt your dreams: Scientists are unpicking the life cycle of SARS-CoV-2 and how the virus uses tricks to evade detection.……. Read more

Business Tips

How organisations are changing

Paul: This is a summary report for the year long collaborative research project that I have been part of. It is all about identifying the emerging organisational practices that will be competitive advantages in the next 10 years. Contact me if you wash to discuss it.…...Read more


We are living through a revolutionary period in investing and portfolio allocation. All time low-to-no yields here in Australia and across global fixed income markets have upended the foundations of retirement portfolio construction. It is not hyperbole to say that investors face a new investment reality to be reckoned with. …… Read more

Zebras Coop Unite

A founder-led, cooperatively owned movement creating the culture, capital & community for the next economy. Worth looking at for an alternative view on how to organise..…. Read more

Why Greater Sydney's COVID-19 lockdown is likely to be extended again

Worth a read if the length of the restrictions affect your business….. Read More

Please forward this email to anyone you think might be interested in it and they can subscribe using the button below. Or contact us directly if you want to discuss any of the issues.