Category Future of Work

In the course of our research for clients, we come across emerging technologies, new materials, new chemistries, growing markets, changing regulatory landscapes, innovative business models, and much more. Every other Friday, we pick five articles, videos, or podcasts that we found interesting and send them your way.

BLOCKCHAIN

Once Hailed as Unhackable, Blockchains Are Now Getting Hacked

While the security of blockchain technology has been one of its major selling points, recent hacks of multiple cryptocurrency exchanges have raised alarms. In response to hackers making off with millions by exploiting flaws in the technology, several startups have been created to detect these vulnerabilities and fix the issues before hackers find them. [TECH REVIEW]

MATERIALS SCIENCE | POLYMERS

New Form of Self-Healing Material Discovered

Many self-healing materials are limited by manufacturing costs and complex chemistry, limiting their commercial potential. This new, ethylene-based functionalized polyolefin is much simply to develop and does not required external factors to trigger the self-healing mechanism. The versatile material can be formed into tough elastomers which can be stretched and then return to their original shape even after being subjected to mechanical damage. [DIGITAL JOURNAL]

FUTURE OF WORK | MANAGEMENT

A Harvard Dropout’s Plan to Fix College Admissions With Video Games

Acquiring a degree from college has long been used as the litmus test for entry into the job market. But what if there was a more effective way for employers to identify talent than checking off a list of degrees a prospective employee has earned? The startup Imbellus, founded by a young Harvard dropout, has developed a solution in the form of problem-solving video games that measure critical thinking, adaptability, and decision making skills, qualities economists and employers say are much needed in rapidly changing workplaces across the world. McKinsey is already using the technology to evaluate job candidates and finds that it predicts success better than the written testing they have traditionally done. [BLOOMBERG]

NEUROSCIENCE | ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Columbia Engineers Translate Brain Signals Directly Into Speech

By utilizing artificial intelligence and speech synthesizers, neuroengineers have created technology that translates thought into recognizable speech. This development could spearhead new ways for computers and brains to connect directly and help people who have lost the ability to speak. [COLUMBIA]

TECHNOLOGY

Ten Recent Low-Tech Inventions That Have Changed the World

This non-exhaustive list takes a quick look at low-tech inventions that many probably take for granted. From improved water filters to paper microscopes, these inventions have changed the lives of many. [MIT TECH REVIEW]

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In the course of our research for clients, we come across emerging technologies, new materials, new chemistries, growing markets, changing regulatory landscapes, innovative business models, and much more. Every other Friday, we pick five articles, videos, or podcasts that we found interesting and send them your way.

ENERGY | PAINT

Solar Paint Can Split Water Vapor and Generate Hydrogen

Researchers from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, have developed a solar paint that can absorb water vapor and split it to generate hydrogen. The paint relies on a new synthetic molybdenum-sulfide compound which both absorbs water and also acts as a semiconductor which catalyses the splitting of water molecules. [SCIENCE DAILY]

FUTURE OF WORK | AUTOMATION

Machines Will Create 58 More Million Jobs Than They Replace

As a counterpoint to a story we included back in July describing the millions of workers who are likely to be displaced by automation, the World Economic Forum now reports that while 75 million worldwide jobs may be lost to automation in just the next four years, 133 million will be created over the same period as business develop a new division of labor between people and machines. The report warns, however, that a lose-lose scenario is still possible if businesses do not invest in “upskilling” their workers. [WASHINGTON POST]

LEADERSHIP | MANAGEMENT

The Biggest Mistakes Bosses Make When Making Decisions — and How to Avoid Them

It almost goes without saying that decision making is one of the most crucial aspects of leadership. Now research shows that how bosses make decisions is just as important as what decisions they make. Do it right, and you have employees who are more satisfied with their jobs and bosses. Do it wrong, and you have employees who are frustrated, resentful, angry and confused. Unfortunately, too many bosses do it wrong. Where do decision-making processes go awry? And how can bosses make it right? Here are four ways that bosses trip themselves up. [WSJ]

TEXTILES | TECHNOLOGY | VIDEO

Kjus Launches the First Ski Jacket Powered by a Charged Membrane

Swiss brand Kjus, just launched a new ski jacket powered by a an electronically charged textile membrane that it claims moves sweat away from the body 10 times faster than traditional membranes. This new technology, developed by Osmotex, is known as Hydro_Bot and works using electro-osmosis controlled by a small module inside the garment. The jacket comes with a USB charging cable and—of course—a corresponding smartphone app. It can be yours for $1700. [WEARABLE TECHNOLOGIES]

ASTRONOMY

Six Strange Facts about the Interstellar Visitor ‘Oumuamua

On October 19, 2017, the first interstellar object, ‘Oumuamua, was discovered by the Pan-STARRS survey. It’s even stranger than you think, and we still can’t rule out the possibility that its origin is artificial. [SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN]

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In the course of our research for clients, we come across emerging technologies, new materials, new chemistries, growing markets, changing regulatory landscapes, innovative business models, and much more. Every other Friday, we pick five articles, videos, or podcasts that we found interesting and send them your way.

INNOVATION | LEADERSHIP

What Leaders Need to Do to Boost Innovation

A short, to-the-point post by Alex Osterwalder sharing four elements he believes are crucial for leaders who want to make innovation a reality at their companies. Alex is a clear thinker with deep experience and doesn’t mince words: “Leaders who don’t invest at least 20% of their time into innovation, don’t care about innovation.” [LINKEDIN]

ELECTRONIC MATERIALS | HEALTHCARE | VIDEO

Exploring the Claims of an Electronic Bandage

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a growing and deadly problem. A company called Vomaris Innovations has developed an electric bandage they claim could beat these pathogens. Although the bandage is about a decade old, recent research has shown the technology can destroy hardy, antibiotic-resistant biofilms in pigs. Soon, the makers hope to prove the bandage’s efficacy in human clinical trials, and they also have their eyes on other commercial applications, including sportswear that fights odor-causing bacteria. [C&EN | INTERESTING ENGINEERING]

MATERIALS | TUNABLE SURFACES

Multifunctional Surface Flips from Sticky to Slippery On Demand

Surfaces are usually designed to have a certain topography, and you’ll usually have to choose if they’re sticky or slippery depending on what you need. But now, Harvard scientists have led an international team to develop a new surface that can reconfigure its shape, stickiness or slipperiness on demand, through the application of a magnetic field. [NEW ATLAS]

FUTURE OF WORK | TIPPING POINTS

The Megatrend Everyone Ought to Be Talking About

McKinsey says the combination of automation and IA will displace 38.6 million US workers by 2030, and Bain pegs the number only slightly lower at 32.5 million. The numbers in many other parts of the world are even more dire. Certainly some of these workers will migrate to other employment, but this shift is going to have a greater employment impact on the world than the Industrial Revolution. We’re used to thinking of automation as something that will make our businesses more efficient, and that’s certainly true. But we also need to be thinking about what this massive shift will mean for our customers and the world. This piece from The Conversation does a good job laying out some of the questions we should be asking and reviews what history might be able to teach us. And this recent piece in The New Yorker describes how the job-loss wave is reviving a very old idea: universal basic income. [MCKINSEY | BAIN | THE CONVERSATION | THE NEW YORKER]

STRATEGY | INSIDE OUTSIDERS

Why the Marine Corps Ditched the Best Offense in History

The Marine rifle squad may be the most brilliant tactical formation devised by any team in the last half-century. But evolving technologies and evolving threats can suggest a need to change even the most successful strategy, whether in the military or in industry. The question is: do you have a leader confident enough to make the call? [WALL STREET JOURNAL]

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