News 24.11.2023

Need to Know

Wu-Tang Clan's RZA spices up the scene with Scotch whisky-inspired sriracha sauce, Olivia Houghton's Foresight Friday and why Gen Z will surpass Boomers in full-time workforce by early 2024.

Ballantine’s is courting damp drinkers with this whisky-inspired sriracha sauce

Ballantine's x Flying Goose Sriracha, Global

UK – Renowned Wu-Tang Clan frontman RZA joined forces with Ballantine’s and Flying Goose to introduce a limited-edition sriracha sauce in November 2023. Crafted without alcohol, this mouth-tingling condiment draws inspiration from Ballantine’s 7 American Barrel, a blended Scotch whisky aged for a minimum of seven years.

The sauce fuses of soft red apples, ripe pear and creamy caramel, delivering a bold and unique sriracha sauce. Available for purchase at £4.99 ($6.22, €5.72), the bottles can be ordered via Sous Chef and Ballantine’s official website. This release marks the final collaboration between RZA and Ballantine’s, following the successful launch of a limited-edition Crosley record player and a fashion line with Neighbourhood, a Japanese streetwear brand.

'I’m bringing Ballantine’s and Flying Goose together to break the mould of what incredible flavour should taste like, to bring something truly original, surprising, and unexpected to the world,' said RZA.

In Five Brands Rejuvenating Whisky, we previously analysed how hip-hop figures such as A$AP Rocky are rebranding whisky as a lifestyle and hype culture to reach Gen Z consumers – including those who don't drink alcohol.

Strategic opportunity

Wine and spirits businesses should consider how they can be elastic brands. Think developing non-alcoholic or alcohol-free products inspired by their flavours and know-how, catering for growing consumer interest in health-conscious and alcohol-free food and drinks

Meet the AI robot-dog designed for space travel

Laika AI Robot by Jihee Kim, South Korea Laika AI Robot by Jihee Kim, South Korea
Laika AI Robot by Jihee Kim, South Korea Laika AI Robot by Jihee Kim, South Korea

US - Dogs are a man's best friend, but can the same be said of robot dogs? A concept design for a life-like AI robot dog that can interact with humans has been created ahead of upcoming space projects. Laika – named after the first dog to journey into space in 1957 – was designed by Jihee Kim as part of a thesis project at Hongik University Industrial Design. The multifunctional robot can connect with humans on an emotional level, act as a companion during activities such as jogging or assist in case of an emergency.

Developed to be the ultimate space companion, Laika is crafted from robust titanium to endure the harsh conditions of outer space and is equipped with an array of sensors, including depth cameras, thermal imaging, ultrasonic sensors and slam cameras. ECG sensors on Laika’s neck (in place of a collar) also allow the dog to monitor the astronaut’s health metrics during physical interaction.

Whilst the project is initially focused on robotic companions for space travel, there is potential for application to domestic settings in the future. From guide dogs to support animals, Laika could provide a valuable addition to the AI Companionship Market, particularly for those with health concerns.

Strategic opportunity

Mental and physical health come hand-in-hand. When developing AI-powered health devices consider implementing interfaces that can respond to human emotion and provide an aspect of companionship for users

Foresight Friday: Olivia Houghton, deputy creative foresight editor

Community Commerce visuals by Pitch Studios for The Future Laboratory Community Commerce visuals by Pitch Studios for The Future Laboratory

Every Friday, we offer an end-of-week wrap-up of the topics, issues, ideas and virals we’re all talking about. This week, deputy creative foresight editor Olivia Houghton delves into high-profile job hops that are claiming recent headlines.

: Sam Altman created a buzz this week after his swift exit and return at OpenAI, but the past month has witnessed other significant career events. Karlie Kloss has expanded her media presence by acquiring I-D Magazine and stepping in as CEO, while ex-British Prime Minister David Cameron made a shock return to frontline politics as Foreign Secretary - a move not seen in over 50 years.

: While industries such as civil service and politics traditionally warrant high frequency of job changes, an increasing number of individuals are now adopting a more elastic approach when in comes to their career. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that the average number of job changes for workers aged 18-48 has risen from 10.7 to 11.4 in the last ten years, and in 2022 over 22% of workers aged 20 and older spent a year or less at their jobs, according to Employee Benefit Research Institute. Sam Altman’s brief successor Emmett Shear didn’t even last one week, let alone 52. Best known for co-founding streaming platform Twitch, the AI-doomer was re-replaced with the OG CEO after Altman's brief trip to Microsoft. OpenAI will now leverage the enhanced connection between Altman and Microsoft to accelerate innovation in the field of AI.

: Elsewhere, Kloss has recovered cultural publication I-D after it filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. According to a statement, Kloss’ deep passion for technology and the intersection of fashion, media and culture’ will enable them to ‘create interconnectivity between the digital and physical worlds’. Perhaps she’ll consider a Generative AI Magazine as her first issue..

Quote of the week

‘Women naturally work in collectives. I've talked to a number of women who are older than me who made it as CEO, or CFO, in their company. And there's some regret that they didn't do it in concert with other women. They didn't pull other women up and along with them.'

Melinda French Gates

Stat: Gen Z to surpass Boomers in full-time workforce by early 2024

Photography by Cottonbro Photography by Cottonbro

US – A November 2023 report by Glassdoor on 2024 Workplace Trends suggests Gen Z workers are poised to overtake Baby Boomers in the full-time workforce by early 2024. Despite ongoing labour market fluctuations, this transition marks a pivotal moment in workforce demographics, signalling the rise of the younger generation.

For decades, Boomers held sway as the largest generation in the full-time workforce, a position they maintained from the late 1970s until the latter part of 2011. Subsequently, Gen X briefly claimed dominance from 2012 to 2018 before being overtaken by Millennials. Millennials still outnumber Gen Z, however, with projections suggesting their continued dominance well into the 2040s.

Nevertheless, Gen Z’s ascent signifies a cultural transformation that US companies cannot afford to overlook. Known for their emphasis on community connections, a desire for a voice in the workplace, a demand for transparent leadership, and a focus on diversity and inclusion, Gen Z’s rapid integration into the workforce promises a significant impact on corporate culture and operations.

‘Companies inevitably tailor their culture and their benefits to the types of workers that they are trying to attract and trying to retain,’ Glassdoor’s chief economist Aaron Terrazas told Business Insider. ‘We know that the types of workplace culture and benefits that Gen Z value are different than Baby Boomers.’

As explored in our Work States Futures macrotrend, businesses must adapt to the evolving values and expectations of this emerging workforce generation to remain sustainable and relevant employers.

Strategic opportunity

Employers should consider how to retain Gen Z employees who will require a corporate culture that embraces community, open communication, transparent leadership, and a focus on diversity and inclusion

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