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16 : 10 : 20

Sweden’s No Douche Bag promotes safer public movement, a new university preparing students for digital careers and British workers postpone retirement.

Inspiring social distancing with the No Douche Bag

No Douche Bag by Foresman & Bodenfors in partnership with Västtrafik, Sweden

Sweden – Agency Forsman & Bodenfors' simple tote bag design in aimed at promoting safer travel on public transport.

Created in light of Covid-19, the No Douche Bag is the result of a partnership with Swedish public transport operator Västtrafik. On its launch, the agency gave away 1,000 bags for free at the Central Station in Gothenburg, Sweden. Using bright colours and text reading ‘I’d love to sit next to you, just not right now. Thank you for keeping your distance’, the intent of the bag is to create a physical yet humorous barrier between travellers.

‘With this bag we want to, in an unexpected way, remind our travellers that we need to continue to work with social distancing,’ explains Lars Backström, CEO of Västtrafik. ‘Usually, bags on the seat are certainly not something we promote. But during a pandemic, it’s actually an act of consideration.’

Explore how design is being used to encourage safer navigation and wayfinding during the pandemic in our latest Design Direction, Positive Barriers.

Reebok’s blank canvas shoe promotes DIY dressing

 The Club C trainer by Reebok, Size? and Rit, UK  The Club C trainer by Reebok, Size? and Rit, UK
 The Club C trainer by Reebok, Size? and Rit, UK  The Club C trainer by Reebok, Size? and Rit, UK

UK – Sports brand Reebok is teaming up with retailer Size? and fabric dye brand Rit on sneakers that customers can dye themselves.

The Club C trainer is made with 100% cotton, replacing the brand’s usual leather coating to allow for customisation. In celebration of the collaboration, Reebok and Size? developed custom-made dyes and online tutorials for customers to follow. With options including solid dye, dip dye and tie dye, wearers are given carte blanche to create the final appearance of their shoes.

To inspire customers, Size? is posting dye tutorials on its blog and social posts, as well as showcasing designs for followers to see and share. Through this launch, Reebok is tapping into consumers’ growing interest in personalisation and customisation – something that has grown during the pandemic as people embrace creative hobbies.

With sustainability concerns acting as a key catalyst for the growth in DIY Dressing, Reebok’s material rework and creative potential is likely to resonate with consumers.

A university preparing students for e-commerce careers

China – With Covid-19 emphasising the importance of digital services, China's Himalaya University aims to prepare students for careers in the online economy.

This new educational institute offers, among its courses, professional education in podcast hosting, live-streaming sales and the cultivation of online personalities. Jointly developed by the Putuo government, Shanghai Huayi Group and Shanghai-based podcast platform Himalaya, the university targets high-level candidates, developing them for multi-faceted careers in the online economy.

Focused mainly on e-commerce, eSports and smart education, the online economy continues to grow during the inter-Covid period, providing employment opportunities for the university's graduates. ‘The university will help more young people find employment and make achievements in the new economy era,’ explains Jiang Peiyi, vice-president of Shanghai Himalaya Tech College.

Driven by Covid-19 and the shift to acquisition of products and services online, new digital solutions continue to emerge. As seen recently, for local retailers new platforms are emerging that are digitising Neighbourhood Stores.

Himalaya University, China

Stat: Covid-19 inspires later retirement among Britons

Senior Spaces by Studio LONK and Ditt in collaboration with Brightpensioen for TSH Collab. Photography by Michiel Landeweerd Senior Spaces by Studio LONK and Ditt in collaboration with Brightpensioen for TSH Collab. Photography by Michiel Landeweerd

Older workers are planning to retire later than previously intended, amid financial concerns and changing work patterns caused by the pandemic.

Recent research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows that one in eight (13%) of older workers in the UK have already changed their planned retirement age as a result of Covid-19. Among this group, 8% are now planning to retire later than they had previously intended, with this decision being more common among those with a pension fund that has fallen in value – as well as for those working from home.

With almost a third of older workers reporting that their financial situation had worsened as a result of the crisis, much of this shift can be related to monetary concerns. However, some workers may be appreciating the renewed flexibility that has come with remote working – and are in turn feeling more willing to work until later in life.

As we examine in our Baby Boomers Money Market, those aged 55 and over have been breaking retirement stereotypes in recent years, with many taking a Flat Age approach to career milestones.

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