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Need to know 09 : 08 : 17

09.08.2017 Food : Retail : Technology

In today’s daily digest: Muji ventures into perishables, introducing slow-melting ice lollies, how employees are thriving under female leadership and other top stories.

1. Audience takes the lead at Jian Li Ju Theatre

Jian Li Ju Theatre by More Design Office, Shanghai. Photography by Dirk Weiblen Jian Li Ju Theatre by More Design Office, Shanghai. Photography by Dirk Weiblen
Jian Li Ju Theatre by MoreDesignOffice, Shanghai. Photography by Dick Weiblen Jian Li Ju Theatre by More Design Office, Shanghai. Photography by Dirk Weiblen
Jian Li Ju Theatre by MoreDesignOffice, Shanghai. Photography by Dick Weiblen Jian Li Ju Theatre by More Design Office, Shanghai. Photography by Dirk Weiblen
Jian Li Ju Theatre by MoreDesignOffice, Shanghai. Photography by Dick Weiblen Jian Li Ju Theatre by More Design Office, Shanghai. Photography by Dirk Weiblen

Shanghai – The new immersive theatre concept envelops the audience in the show, placing them at centre stage with their own lines to learn and costumes to wear. Before the performance, participants access the theatre through an unassuming door on a side street. They are provided with only a time, location and number, and discover more as the narrative unfolds.

The film noir interior has been specifically designed around the performance, exploring the relationship between space, event and movement to create a sense of disorientation and melodrama. In a predominantly digital world, this form of immersive Futuretainment demonstrates the enduring importance of physical performances.

2. Aquapioneers provides cheap home-grown food

Aquapioneers Ecosystem, Barcelona Aquapioneers Ecosystem, Barcelona

Barcelona – The start-up Aquapioneers Ecosystem has made its fish tank design open-source to give city dwellers access to home-grown vegetables at a reasonable price. The plywood aquarium can be printed and built at any of Fab Labs’ more than 1,000 global workshops to eliminate any shipping emissions.

Once constructed and filled with fish, the kit establishes a natural cycle in which micro-organisms convert the fish excrement into fertiliser, and as the plants feed they naturally clean the aquarium.

An LED light attached to the tank emits only the spectrum of light the plants need to grow, and the process uses 90% less water than traditional gardening. Companies such as Brandless and Aquapioneers demonstrate a shift towards democratising good-quality food produce. For more, buy our Food and Drink Futures Report 2016 here.

3. Muji’s latest flagship store now offers groceries

Muji flagship store, Tokyo Muji flagship store, Tokyo
Muji flagship store, Tokyo Muji flagship store, Tokyo
Muji flagship store, Tokyo Muji flagship store, Tokyo
Muji flagship store, Tokyo Muji flagship store, Tokyo

Tokyo – The store, in the heart of Japan’s capital city, has been redesigned to better connect urban dwellers with where their food comes from. City dwellers ‘have come to consume food simply as a commodity’, reads the website.

All of the fruit and vegetables have been sourced directly from the producers to ensure minimal pesticides and chemicals have been used, and all of the produce is only available when in season.

The move is a marked change for Muji, which until now has been known for its home furnishings and apparel, and signifies the brand’s desire to diversify its offer and improve its brand stretch. For more, see our macrotrend The Convergence Economy.

4. The new ice lolly that takes longer to melt

Kanazawa, Japan – The world’s first ‘non-melting’ ice lolly is on sale at the Kanazawa Ice store in the popular tourist district of Higashi-Chaya. Created by the Biotherapy Development Research Center Co, the ice lolly has been developed to resist the effects of heat by using a polyphenol liquid extracted from strawberries.

The substance makes it difficult for oil and water to separate, which in turn makes it more difficult for the ice lolly to melt. Although eventually the product does melt, it is still able to keep its shape after being left under a hairdryer for five minutes. As demonstrated in our recent Insight report, ice cream consumption is on the rise in hot countries such as India and China, where this new food innovation could help to drive sales further.

Kanawaza Ice, Japan Kanazawa Ice, Japan

5. Female leadership at work preferred by both genders

PayScale and Redfin have surveyed 31 of the largest technology companies in America, assigning a high rate to those that have an executive team made up of 25% or more women and a low rate to those with fewer than 20%. The findings showed that both males and females working somewhere with a high percentage of women in leadership positions were less likely to consider leaving in the next six months. For more on female leadership in the workplace, download our free Female Futures Report 2017 here.

6. Thought-starter: Why AI will wipe out traditional advertising

In a future world in which decision-making has been allocated to AI, there will be no need for traditional attention-grabbing campaigns, explains senior journalist Maks Fus Mickiewicz.

An AI device that could understand everything from a person’s music tastes to his or her beauty routines would be incredibly appealing to consumers. We would no longer live in an economy dependent on advertising or marketing, but one that offered intelligent recommendations screened by personalised AI devices. If sufficient trust was built up, consumers would surely give up decision-making to AI.

It is also easy to see how this could change the nature of communication between brands and consumers. At present it is essential to reach out to consumers, and this requires an almost infinite amount of content production. In the future it will be essential to reach out to their bots, creating a media landscape that is far slower, but more targeted, personal and inspiring.

To find out more about why artificial intelligence will change the marketing and advertising landscape, read the full opinion piece here.

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