What's Emerging mid-March 2021

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


Welcome to our mid-March newsletter for 2021.

In the next few weeks, Paul will continue with two councils on their community vision, work with a new leadership team in the food sector, and work on strategy and foresight for a listed ASX company. Paul will also be working with Save the Children on strategy and organisational design, presenting at an economic development forum in Longreach and addressing a leading sheep farmers dinner while he is there. He will also be recording a new podcast (see more under what are we writing about).

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.

We continue to build our Red Teaming initiative. You can read more about Red Teaming here or you can see the amazing breadth of our team here. More members will be added in coming weeks.

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

The Emergent Futures Team

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

Desalination breakthrough could lead to cheaper water filtration

Producing clean water at a lower cost could be on the horizon after researchers from The University of Texas at Austin and Penn State solved a complex problem that has baffled scientists for decades, until now…. Read More

What are we Writing About?

Paul will be recording a new podcast for the Future Pod Series straight after Easter. We will add that link to our newsletter when it is ready. meanwhile you can listen to his two previous podcasts with Future Pod:

Preaching to the Choir

Foresight in a Time of Coronavirus

What’s Emerging?

Autonomous drone maker Skydio raises $170M led by Andreessen Horowitz

Skydio’s fresh capital comes on the heels of its expansion last year into the enterprise market, and it intends to use the considerable pile of cash to help it expand globally and accelerate product development. ….. Read More

Guaranteed Income Increases Employment, Improves Financial and Physical Health

Results released from the first year of the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) show guaranteed income drastically improves job prospects, financial stability and overall well being of recipients.….. Read more

Australia told ExxonMobil CEO 'no easy exit' before $3B Bass Strait sale canned

ExxonMobil abandoned the sale of its Bass Strait operation just two weeks after the Australian Government told the US major it would be liable for decommissioning the 50-year-old operation if a new owner failed to. Paul: stranded assets becoming stranded liabilities?..…. Read more

How screen scraping and TinyML can turn any dial into an API

This image shows a traditional water meter that’s been converted into a web API, using a cheap ESP32 camera and machine learning to understand the dials and numbers. Paul: A really interesting and low cost way to convert stuff to smart stuff. ….. Read more

Australia's first satellite that can help detect bushfires within one minute of ignition set for launch

Scheduled for launch a year from now, the satellite is the first of a planned constellation of 24 that will monitor Australia from low Earth orbit.

Once the full system, including ground-based cameras and aerial drones, is up and running, Fireball says it will be able to spot any fires within one minute of ignition.…. Read more

Hermès Bets on Mushroom-Based ‘Leather’

The leather-goods powerhouse is testing alternative materials in a break with tradition, reimagining its ‘Victoria’ travel bag in a lab-grown substitute. ….. Read more

First vaccine to fully immunize against malaria builds on pandemic-driven RNA tech

Researchers have invented a promising blueprint for a new Malaria vaccine based on he novel RNA - based COVID vaccine.….. Read more

GCHQ outlines how it’s going to ensure its (secretive) use of AI is ethical

GCHQ has outlined how it is approaching AI ethics and detailed the concerns it has with regards to what risks it faces in getting this right ...…. Read more

Waymo says autonomous cars could have prevented most fatal Chandler crashes in 10-year period

To conduct the study, Waymo looked at 72 of the fatal accidents from 2008-2017 that took place in the "geofenced" area in which it operates in Chandler. The company had a third party reconstruct them, and then simulated them in a computer environment where the Waymo system could be substituted for the human drivers, some of whom lost their lives. …..Read more

New Study Disavows Marshmallow Test’s Predictive Powers

If your 4-year-old cannot resist eating the marshmallow in front of her, even though you promised more treats if she waits, is she headed for a lifetime of struggle? You’re not alone if you think so, but….….Read more

Stratasys Introduces Multi-Material Dental 3D Printer

The multi-material capability allows the J5 DentaJet to 3D print different kinds of dental appliances within the same print job. This means they can leverage Stratasys’ extensive set of PolyJet materials .…. Read more

Scientists unlock mysteries of world's oldest 'computer'

The back of the mechanism was solved by earlier studies, but the nature of its complex gearing system at the front has remained a mystery.

Scientists from University College London (UCL) believe they have finally cracked the puzzle using 3D computer modelling. They have recreated the entire front panel, and now hope to build a full-scale replica of the Antikythera using modern materials.. …. Read more

Canoo unveils tradies’ electric ute to be launched in 2023

Known as a pickup truck in the US, the unusual-looking workhorse features a bully cabin with a convex windscreen to provide plenty of headroom and was debuted at the US-based Motor Press Guild’s Virtual Media Day in collaboration with Automobility LA.   …..Read more

This Soft Robot Stingray Just Explored the Deepest Point in the Ocean

Inspired by a deep sea fish, a team from China engineered a soft autonomous robot that can withstand the punishing conditions of the lowest low—the bottom of the Mariana Trench. The robot’s body roughly resembles a stingray, with two large flapping fins and a tail that allows it to easily maneuver through the surrounding waters ...… Read more

Business Tips

The Myth of ‘Learning Styles’

Willingham goes so far as to say people should stop thinking of themselves as visual, verbal, or some other kind of learner. “It’s not like anything terrible is going to happen to you [if you do buy into learning styles],” he says, but there’s not any benefit to it, either. “Everyone is able to think in words, everyone is able to think in mental images. It’s much better to think of everyone having a toolbox of ways to think, and think to yourself, which tool is best?” .…..Read more


The new concept is designed to enable guests around the world to adapt to the new ways of working that are expected to be an enduring legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic.…… Read more

Wonder is a virtual space where people can meet and talk

Paul: An interesting take on virtual meetings/conferences and networking. If you move you avatar close to a group then your video pops up in their group. You can move away and you will leave that group Issues here of privacy and trolls but that can eb sorted out social I am sure. Going to try it for our first Red Teaming Community meet up.   …. Read more

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