On the Origin of Things

In 1859, Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species and described the means by which populations evolve—that environmental pressures naturally select the individuals best suited to their habitat to procreate. Culminating from this work was a phylogenetic tree of life, graphically illustrating and describing the relationships between the species of the world and how…

Hierarchy of Possibilities: Designing Smart IoT Products

In simplifying complex systems that involve humans, frameworks such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs are often used to model product and service features based on various predetermined scenarios. Such frameworks are often taken out of context of their original proposition, and lack empirical evidence. For example, Maslow originally proposed his hierarchy as a set of…

How IoT Can Help Feed 9 Billion People

The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) predicts that by 2050, the world population will rise by 2.3 billion and, to effectively feed that population, our food production needs to increase by 70%. According to research conducted by the University of Minnesota, production for essential crops—such as maize and rice—is currently increasing by increments…

Ocean of Noise: The Sharing of Emotions Through Brain-to-Brain Communication

As we stand today, the ways in which humans communicate emotion are mediated by tools, such as pictures, body language, and spoken and written language morphologies constructed of recombinatory signs. Imaginative refinement of these base communications, combined with advancements in technology, have resulted in poems, songs, books, telegraph messaging, telephone calling, radio and television broadcasting,…

Power in Numbers: IoT and the Quantified Self

Self-knowledge through numbers has long been the unspoken slogan of the Quantified Self Movement (QSM). Since its inception, the movement’s goal has been to enable a better understanding of ourselves and our actions and motivators through a quantified lens. However, as wearables give us access to personalized data, they also allow the sharing of this…

A Human History of IoT

A basic procedure in thinking about the future is to look back into our shared history and understand how people did something in the past. This hindsight allows us to learn from the way humans have approached change and apply this knowledge to future situations. Not only does it allow us to avoid the problem…

The Bias of Digital Transformation

Exploring the Link Between Digital Transformation and the Experience of Work Once there was an English word whose meaning had to do with fingers and toes. Over time, that word evolved to mean something quite different; abstracted away from the human body, “digital” was transformed into a way of talking about data in the form of…

What’s Feeding You?

An Exploration of the Food Experience Today and Tomorrow Think about how you eat today, and then try to reimagine the future of the food experience. How might we eat in 5, 10, or 20 years? What will we eat? When? Why? Whichever table you find yourself at, one thing is certain: One cannot reimagine…

The Brave New World of Work

There was a time when our futures were predictable. When the economy was stable and employment rates were relatively good, we enjoyed some degree of expectation that this would continue. The past dictated the future and it was the same view of the future our parents, teachers, and business leaders continued to nurture. “Get a…

The Human Advantage in the Age of AI

Self-driving cars. Robot advisers. Surgery-performing robots. The wildest imaginations of our grandparents are gradually becoming a reality. As AI becomes more prevalent in the news, we see its endless possibilities for it to improve the quality of our lives. However, hidden beneath these opportunities lies a frightening version of the future. Researchers at the Oxford…

Pursuit of Excellence / Paradox of Perfection

The New Yorker ran an essay by Tad Friend describing the growing effect of entrepreneurial boot camp Y Combinator on the prevailing ethos of Silicon Valley and the funding practices of venture capitalists. The piece profiled Sam Altman, the successor to Y Combinator’s founder and its guiding spirit, Paul Graham. If Graham’s name sounds familiar,…

The Soul in the New Machine? Try Delight

What is the nature of delight? A principle of pleasure. Perhaps a sense of mystery unfurled. A tinge of magic. Consider this: today your vehicle alerts you when the oil needs to be changed, the tires are low, or it needs service. But in tomorrow’s world, the onboard computer sends an alert to the dealer…

The Future of Truth in Business

“Truths are illusions of which one has forgotten that they are illusions.”  — Friedrich Nietzsche, from “On Truth and Lying in a Non-Moral Sense” “Never tell a lie when you can bullshit your way through.”  — Eric Ambler, from “The Dirty Story”   Ever since the US Presidential election, it has become fashionable to lament that we…

What Is an Excellent Insight?

In the economy of innovation consulting, insights are an important currency. Insights are how we package our understandings of human experience, and they are bought and sold every day because business leaders know that the human context is the heart and soul of meaningful and differentiated offerings. Insight is core to how consultancies deliver value…