Need to Know
30 : 09 : 21

Google wants people to ask more questions, Ikea and Swedish House Mafia create music-friendly furnishings and Chinese graduates await their fortunes.

Google's latest ad champions the power of questions

The More We Learn, The Closer We Get by Uncommon Studio for Google

UK – The technology giant is positioning itself as a tool for promoting social change. Its latest advert, which is narrated by socially conscious football player Marcus Rashford, promotes the importance of asking questions to gain greater understanding of UK culture and identity. Created by Uncommon Creative Studio, the campaign features questions such as 'who can say wagwan' and 'what's a ceilidh' to encourage learning from other cultures.

As part of the narration, Rashford says phrases such as: ‘It's OK not to know… to be curious.’ The campaign film is also accompanied by a YouTube series featuring celebrities exploring the nature of allyship. In an increasingly Dislocated World, such initiatives showcase how major companies can facilitate ongoing conversations about diversity, inclusion and altruistic behaviour.

By using its online channels in this way, Google also caters for the need for Veritas Media – as consumers continue to seek trusted information in a world of misinformation.

Strategic opportunity

Technology brands and social media services have a responsibility to promote reliable information that feeds into positive societal change. Take cues from this campaign and spotlight the importance of openness and learning

This chair is designed to comfort people with autism

The Oto armchair by Alexia Audrain, Nantes The Oto armchair by Alexia Audrain, Nantes
The Oto armchair by Alexia Audrain, Nantes The Oto armchair by Alexia Audrain, Nantes

France – Graduate designer Alexia Audrain is supporting the sensory needs of people with autism through the creation of a cocoon-shaped chair. Featuring inflatable walls, the Oto chair, and its accompanying foot rest, enable people to self-soothe when they’re experiencing sensory overload. Users can activate the walls themselves, achieving the sensation of being embraced.

By creating a product that people can control themselves – and could easily be added into a home environment – the designer appeals to the idea of Fulfilment Furnishings that prioritise wellbeing. The cocoon shape and the upholstery provide muffled acoustics that help users to concentrate on their senses and on their body while keeping them isolated from other stimuli,’ explains Audrain. Users, families and the medical teams confirm that it is important to have access to beautiful and non-stigmatising therapeutic furniture to contribute to the soothing effect that it provides.'

Its anti-sterile aesthetic also makes it a more appealing design – and one that normalises the experience of being sensorially overwhelmed among people with autism.

Strategic opportunity

In future, more home furnishings will need to be created with specific health and wellness needs in mind. When creating and marketing such products, ensure that you’re taking a de-medicalised approach

Ikea’s aural collaboration explores the power of music

Sweden – Electronic music group Swedish House Mafia is partnering with homeware giant Ikea to promote the role of music in home environments. The collaboration is working on the launch of a collection of furnishings designed to optimise producing, playing and listening to music at home.

Set for launch in 2022, the collection is aimed at people using music for creating connections and releasing stress, as well as for amateur creators needing a studio environment.

Here, the partnership appeals to the growing behaviour of Music-powerment, especially among young people. ‘We strongly felt a need to collaborate with someone who shared our vision of making it possible for everyone to create music at home,’ says Swedish House Mafia. ‘As artists and producers, we also understand the importance of a home studio set-up and the needs and challenges many up-and-coming artists and creatives have at home.’

Such projects also indicate future demands for home environments, as more consumers rely on their houses for both work and leisure.

Swedish House Mafia and Ikea Swedish House Mafia and Ikea

Strategic opportunity

Beyond music, the product designers in gaming and other entertainment industries should consider opportunities in the interiors sector as people redefine the home

Stat: The majority of Chinese graduates expect to be millionaires

Ning, China. Photography by Lou Escobar Ning, China. Photography by Lou Escobar

College students across China believe they will become very wealthy in the decade following their graduation. An employment survey by China Youth Daily reveals that 68% of college students think that their annual earnings will reach £115,000 (Rmb1m, $155,000, €134,000) within 10 years of graduating.

Interestingly, this topic has also become a popular hashtag in recent months – having appeared in top search lists on social media site Weibo and attracted more than 530m views. The study also reveals that a majority (70%) of college students born after the 2000s plan to prioritise their professional careers over their intimate relationships, highlighting a rise in Uncoupled Living in the nation, with China’s emerging youth increasingly forging their own paths beyond societal expectations.

Strategic opportunity

China’s youth are set to see increasing spending power and higher levels of disposable income in the coming decade. The luxury sector should therefore focus on this generation when designing new products and experiences

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