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A bio-serum turns plants into artworks, UK start-up launches oat milk powder, foresight analyst Marta Indeka’s weekly debrief and Gen Z are loyal at work.

Bio-based serum transforms plants into fluorescent artworks

Aglaé, France

France ­– What if plants could naturally glow in the dark? Bio-research company Aglaé has engineered a nutritive bio-based serum able to give plants fluorescent properties that make them do just that.

The unique biodegradable serum has been developed without genetic modification or chemical additives, making it harmless to plants and to the environment. Once absorbed, the formula makes plants such as cut flowers or green plants emit light for almost three months. Infiltrating capillaries, the elixir reveals natural veins of petals and leaves, and transforms plants into biophilic living artworks, a unique sensorial experience in dark places for viewers. Aglaé has been using the technology to create immersive and enchanting experience for events or retail, like a glowing tunnel leading to an avatar movie screening.

At the intersection of arts and science, glowing plants are sure to inspire a feeling of awe, but most importantly the breakthrough could have larger implications; the start-up is looking at ways to apply this technology to develop alternative electricity-free city light solutions using trees as natural lamp-posts.

Strategic opportunity

Integrating elements of biophilia into public spaces – whether it be hospitality, workspace or entertainment venues – and using immersive environments to reconnect visitors with nature can go a long way ­in generating a much sought-after sense of wellbeing

Overherd powder makes oat milk more sustainable

UK – Yorkshire-based start-up Overherd has created an oat milk powder in an effort to make oat milk consumption more sustainable. The ‘just add water’ solution trades in conventional milk cartons for a lightweight, recyclable pouch. Each pouch is capable of producing eight litres of instant oat milk, representing a 91% reduction in packaging weight compared to cartons.

Overherd is manufacturing the oat milk powder itself in collaboration with its UK production partner, while the lighter pouches mean its products are easier to transport with reduced emissions. Oat milk powder also contributes to a reduction in food waste because it has a longer shelf life than carton oat milk, which typically lasts two months unopened but once opened needs to be consumed within seven days. Overherd claims its milk powder is still good to use five months after it has been opened and can stay on the shelf unopened for up to a year.

Consumers understand that building new food habits is one of the best ways they can contribute to the health of the planet. They are supportive of food brands taking the lead in their industries to refine production processes for maximum positive global impact.

Overherd, UK

Strategic opportunity

Sustainability is high on the list for consumers when it comes to food consumption. They trust food brands to enthusiastically innovate and offer them a variety of ways to consume food eco-consciously – and economically.

Weekly Brief: Marta Indeka, foresight analyst

The Future Laboratory The Future Laboratory

The Future Laboratory team offer an end-of-week snapshot of the topics, issues, ideas and virals that we’re all talking about. This week, LS:N Global’s foresight analyst Marta Indeka shares the reads, TikTok threads and podcasts on her radar.

: We are in the age of the meta-cringe – awkward is the new cool and nothing is too private on TikTok (not even a mice-infested apartment). The line between unfiltered spontaneity and future cringe is narrowing

: The S*** You Should Care About podcast strikes the right balance between informative and entertaining, navigating the sh*t show that politics, news and pop culture can be, with a touch of humour and randomness that makes it palatable

: Next-level hedonism is coming for self-care ­– Discothèque has created luxury scented candles inspired by legendary nightclubs from the 1970s and 1980s – a disco feel away from the frills

: Intersectionality is dividing the internet again. Both Sam Smith’s superbly camp music video and this Burberry campaign celebrating fluidity for Valentine’s Day sparked both a backlash and waves of support – polarised populations in action

: JW Anderson frog clogs, Drake's merman slides, Botter’s 3D-printed trainers, AI kicks – footwear is getting loose

Quote of the Week

‘Life is collaboration. Where I think art can be sort of misguided is that it propagates this idea of itself as a solo love affair – one person, one idea, no one else involved.’

This quote from Virgil Abloh comes to mind with regard to the current discussions about the role of AI in creativity

Stat: Gen Z are loyal employees but many are looking for a new job

Photography by Cottonbro Photography by Cottonbro

UK/US – A study by the Oliver Wyman Forum exploring Gen Z’s views on employment reveals that work-life balance is their priority. They don’t want perks or opportunities to socialise at the office, but to clock in and out of jobs that offer flexibility and autonomy.

Some 85% of respondents said they prefer hybrid or remote working environments. Although the youngest working generation still think of themselves as conscientious employees, with 70% of Gen Z viewing themselves as loyal to their employer, they also admit to actively or passively seeking new jobs. And almost half of them are engaged in work outside of their employment; 45% of respondents say they have a side line.

The findings suggest Gen Z’s broad attitude to employment is that it is transactional. Jobs are more a means to an end for them than they were for previous generations, and they look to find meaning in their everyday passions not their work.

Although Gen Z have been resisting the status quo around work for a while, this study suggests that their shift in values has been accelerated by the pandemic. To explore emerging ideas on work, RSVP to our Work States Futures online trend preview.

Strategic opportunity

Gen Z want to inhabit the world differently from their older peers, prioritising personal fulfilment. Offer them opportunities to shape the workplace according to their values

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