News 27.10.2021

Need to Know

The Unseen pioneers phygital beauty, Blue Origin to launch a shopping centre in Earth’s orbit, and wealthy Americans snap up stocks during the pandemic.

This phygital make-up blurs beauty realities

Spectra by The Unseen Beauty
Spectra by The Unseen Beauty
Spectra by The Unseen Beauty

London – Experimental materials company The Unseen is breaking boundaries in the beauty sector with its dual reality make-up. Its Unseen Beauty brand is initially launching Spectra, an eye cream that transforms from a grey or black colour into a reflective silver when exposed to the flash of a phone camera. This scientific innovation allows wearers to capture an aesthetic that can only be viewed via digital means.

Building on its history of producing experimental materials, The Unseen Beauty represents the company’s first move into branded consumer products. By bringing its pioneering approach to mass audiences, The Unseen is allowing people to programme their realities.I just thought, wouldn’t it be funny if you created a colour that physically existed, but was only ever seen in the digital space?' states Lauren Bowker, founder of The Unseen. So it became an interesting question of that digital [versus] physical reality. How can I create something that exists in both worlds?’

As we consider future directions for beauty and wellness, the sector will increasingly be led by products that adapt to offer different experiences in the physical and digital worlds.

Strategic opportunity

The beauty and fashion sectors can explore how scientific innovation can meet people’s aesthetic desires – from cosmetics to hair colour and tattoos – without invasive or permanent treatments

Blue Origin to open a space business park

Orbital Reef by Blue Origin Orbital Reef by Blue Origin
Orbital Reef by Blue Origin Orbital Reef by Blue Origin

Washington and Kentucky – Laying the foundation for outer space research, travel and commerce, aerospace companies Blue Origin and Sierra Space are teaming up to develop Orbital Reef, a mixed-use business park and premier commercial destination in the low Earth orbit (LEO).

Due to open by the second half of this decade, the multi-purpose space station aims to establish a business model for the future of space travel, habitation and business operations. According to the Orbital Reef site: 'Whether film-making in microgravity, opening a space hotel, or conducting cutting-edge research, Orbital Reef will lease locations that scale to fit your vision.' The destination will seek to democratise access, lower the cost, and provide all the services and amenities needed to normalise space flight. ‘A vibrant business eco-system will grow in low Earth orbit, generating new discoveries, new products, new entertainments and global awareness,' explains Brent Sherwood, senior vice-president of advanced development programs for Blue Origin.

The outpost will be designed to serve as an important business hub for future spacefarers, providing the essential infrastructure necessary to meet the needs of emerging customers and appeal to The Workplace of 2030.

Strategic opportunity

While most companies aren't on the cusp of space exploration, employers can take inspiration from Blue Origin and consider how remote, full-service outposts could benefit their business or clients

Tinder is helping people find a wedding ‘plus one’

US – Expanding beyond its roots as a dating app, Tinder is launching a feature to help people find a 'plus one' for weddings. To signal interest in finding a guest to attend with, Tinder users must visit its recently launched Explore page, created to match people based on shared interests.

For the launch, Tinder is also partnering with wedding planning website WeddingWire, offering a short-term initiative to help single guests cover the cost of attending ceremonies. It also arrives at a time when the wedding sector is rebuilding in the inter-Covid period. WeddingWire expects to see up to a 20% increase in weddings in 2021 and 2022, compared to typical levels,’ explain Tinder and WeddingWire in a press release. This impending uptick seems to have already been felt by unattached invitees, with mentions of plus one in Tinder bios increasing 45% since the beginning of the year.

By promoting the idea of plus one arrangements and recognising that solo living can incur additional costs, this initiative reflects the rise in Uncoupled Living, as people navigate life beyond traditional partnerships.

Tinder Plus One

Strategic opportunity

Dating apps and social media platforms can explore how to normalise meeting temporary partners for specific needs; for example, offering dates for birthday parties, networking events or travel

Stat: Wealthy Americans are monopolising stocks

Envisaging Fintech Futures by Playful for The Future Laboratory Envisaging Fintech Futures by Playful for The Future Laboratory

Research by CNBC shows that financial disparity between high-net-worth individuals and the rest of the American population is becoming starker amid the pandemic, with 89% of all US stocks now owned by the wealthiest 10% of Americans.

After the stock market crashed at the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020, the American government and the Federal Reserve stepped in to keep the economy afloat. The result was one of the most rapid wealth booms in recent history, with the top 1% of the population gaining over £4.7 trillion ($6.5 trillion, €5.6 trillion) in corporate equities and mutual funds during the pandemic. By contrast, 90% of Americans gained £870bn ($1.2 trillion, €1 trillion) in wealth, highlighting the stock market’s role in rising wealth inequality.

Although a range of apps including Robinhood and Coinbase emerged during the pandemic to incentivise a new generation of investors, most young traders do not have the experience or the resources to challenge financial hierarchies. To learn more about next-generation investment, consult our Generation Z Money Market.

Strategic opportunity

The average age of investors is falling. Companies looking to attract and retain young users should develop informational guides and resources that could be useful for beginners

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