News 17.08.2022

Need to Know

Nike promotes post-partum positive exercise, an air-powered hand promises accessible prosthetics, and misconceptions about carbon neutrality abound.

Lego’s play installation celebrates children’s imaginations

Fly Away Isles by The Lego Group in collaboration with Hebru Brantley US
Fly Away Isles by The Lego Group in collaboration with Hebru Brantley, US
Fly Away Isles by The Lego Group in collaboration with Herb Brantley US

New York – The toy manufacturer is partnering with artist Hebru Brantley to create an immersive play space in the heart of West Harlem, inspired by the creativity of local children. Brantley and Lego invited children to use Lego bricks to build ideas for spaces that would help members of the community to play together more. The colourful designs they created – including rocket ships, volcano pyramids and island stepping stones – were used as a starting point for Brantley to bring the children’s imagination to life.

Named Fly Away Isles, the inclusive installation comes in response to Lego research that found that a third of US parents say they don’t play together enough as a family, and that 82% of children in New York wish for more play. ‘I wanted to create something that offered the local community a chance to come together regardless of their background or culture, leave the pressures of the busy world we live in behind and explore what the work looks like through the optimistic eyes of children,’ explains Brantley.

The installation highlights how a new raft of pliable playscapes are seizing on an energetic and vibrant visual language to reflect the rising Alpha generation's confidence, optimism and passion for change.

Strategic opportunity

Look at spaces through the eyes of children to create imaginative and immersive playful moments in stores and in public areas

A gentle workout programme for post-partum parents

 Nike (M)ove Like a Mother programme, US  Nike (M)ove Like a Mother programme, US
 Nike (M)ove Like a Mother programme, US  Nike (M)ove Like a Mother programme, US

US – Nike may be famous for its ‘Just Do It’ slogan, but with its (M)ove Like a Mother campaign, the sportswear company is encouraging a gentler attitude to exercise. The workout regimen, which has been developed for post-partum mothers, rejects punishment, guilt or comparison in favour of a more mindful approach to movement.

Fighting harmful societal expectations, the programme is designed to help women create a healthier relationship with exercise, eliminating the unrealistic narrative that women have to get their ‘pre-pregnancy’ bodies back quickly, if ever. Instead of high-intensity workouts, the company encourages taking a stroll outside, celebrating post-partum physical differences, and even skipping a workout entirely if it does not serve mothers in the moment.

Encouraging new mothers to ditch the idea of bodily perfection that is all too pervasive in society after giving birth, Nike is becoming an advocate for Pregnancy Wellness. By creating a programme that focuses on the challenging transition from pregnancy to parent, it’s also securing its status as a Life-stage Brand.

Strategic opportunity

How can gyms take inspiration from Nike and begin to offer classes that are centred on post-partum wellness rather than extreme exertion?

This air-powered hand could revolutionise access to prosthetics

UK – Researchers at the University of Oxford have developed a breath-controlled prosthetic hand device that is easy to use and requires little maintenance. By regulating the pattern of their breathing, wearers power a small Tesla turbine that can accurately control the movements of the prosthetic fingers. The lightweight device requires minimal training and is suitable for use by children and people in low- and middle-income countries.

The team worked alongside LimbBo Foundation, a UK-based charity for children with limb differences, to refine the design of the device and ensure its suitability for young users. Senior author of the research, professor Jeroen Bergmann, from the University of Oxford’s Department of Engineering Science, says: ‘Our breathing-powered device provides a novel prosthetic option that can be used without limiting any of the user’s body movements. It is one of the first truly new design approaches for power and control of a body-powered prosthetic since the emergence of the cable-driven system over two centuries ago.’

As everyday tech gets an inclusive overhaul, the announcement highlights a global need for more accessible innovations that can overcome issues with existing options.

Airbender by University of Oxford, UK

Strategic opportunity

With demand for accessible tech soaring worldwide, work alongside charities and research institutions to build solutions that meet unmet needs

Stat: Environmentalists are unable to define carbon-neutral

Feeling the Energy by Carlo Ratti Associati and Italo Rota for Plenitude as part of the Design Week’s INTERNI Re.Generation exhibition, Italy Feeling the Energy by Carlo Ratti Associati and Italo Rota for Plenitude as part of the Design Week’s INTERNI Re.Generation exhibition, Italy

Although the term ‘carbon-neutral’ appears frequently across the consumer landscape, research by Morning Consult reveals that few people can define it correctly. According to the survey, even among those respondents who self-identify as environmentalists in the US, only 45% were able to accurately define what the term carbon-neutral means.

While companies are labelling products as carbon-neutral to attract climate-conscious consumers, a lack of understanding suggests that such efforts might not be as effective as brands might hope. Even environmentalists – who are defined as people who have changed their lifestyles ‘some’ or ‘a lot’ because of concerns about the climate crisis – struggled to define the word as ‘a company that produces carbon emissions but uses carbon-offset programmes to remove as much carbon as they produce from the atmosphere’.

What’s more, the efficacy of offsetting is itself under question. ‘Offsets are rather murky,’ says Doug Stephens, founder of Retail Prophet. ‘If you say your product is carbon-neutral, does that include your vendors and your vendors’ vendors?’. The study shows that a more comprehensive end-to-end analysis of carbon offsets is required, and that more should be done to inform the average consumer about how to build a more Sustainable Future.

Strategic opportunity

When including a term like carbon-neutral on a product’s packaging, consider supplying a definition that outlines exactly what it means

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