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  • Sebastien Van Laere

Future Digest - October 5th

BIG AI CITY for Terminus Group in Chongqing, China

This week’s Future Digest explores how luxury dining is adapting to social distancing and still delivering premium experiences, contradictory data on sustainability and Gen Z, how hospitality is adapting to provide us with much-needed healthy escapism and how capitalism as we know it is facing calls to become a broader force for progress beyond financial gain.


  • On-going social distancing measures in hospitality are pushing the industry to explore complimentary revenue streams. Interestingly, high-end dining, which depends so heavily on the restaurant experience has been able to develop new propositions that even have the potential to survive the pandemic. Through innovative use of digital some restaurants like Jean-George at the Connaught and platforms like Resy have managed to create even more intimate and unique experiences for foodies. From exclusive virtual cooking demos with award-winning chefs, access to rare wines and champagnes to inspiration behind the menu and private wine consultations, they are making gastronomic eating at home possible and desirable. 

  • The rise of home-working has led to an increase in software that helps employers track their employees and in some cases even monitor their screens at any time. 

  • Whilst many have decried the end of the office, the data doesn’t completely agree. Gensler found that only 12% of U.S. workers want to work from home full time. Additionally, the survey revealed that younger generations (Gen Y and Gen Z) struggle the most. 36% finds working from home stressful and 25% feels they get less done at home compared to at the office (more at the World Economic Forum). There are now even dedicated office sounds playlists for those with office nostalgia. 

  • Last week saw Nike officially taking its first steps into e-sports. As part of the 2020 League of Legends tournament in China Nike released an ad with e-sports super stars to suggest that even gamers will perform better with physical training.


  • Gen Z with Greta Tunberg as one of its most prominent and well-known members has become synonymous with activism and sustainability. In line with these values Vogue business found that they are willing to pay up to 50% more sustainable fashion. However, the great performance in H1 of this year from ultra fast fashion brands such as Boohoo and ASOS who mainly cater to Gen Z questions whether the reality is more nuanced. 

  • Deepfakes are taking over advertising: deepfakes of Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un are used to encourage voting in the US while a deep fake of Joaquin Oliver, a victim of the Florida Parkland shooting, comes back to life digitally to encourage people to support gun safety legislation. 

  • The outlook for travel and hospitality remains uncertain as most of the world is still struggling to contain the spread of the pandemic. This is forcing the industry, to rethink its value propositions. Gensler sees one potential future for hospitality in healthy escapism. They see a big role for local fresh food, sleep optimisation and in-room fitness as well as just being away from the daily pandemic doom and gloom. Meanwhile hotels are also promoting WHF - working from hotel - offering serene environments to work in and premium services to bring some variety to your workday.   


  • Elisabeth Warren voiced her frustration at corporations making big statements without meaningful action. She is now pushing for responsibility in corporate America and is sharing her agenda with citizens to get more traction for her Accountable Capitalism Act. 

  • Capitalism as we know it has been under scrutiny for the last years. This week saw more economists adding to a paradigm shift in economics that puts greater emphasis on managing uncertainty, circular business models, balanced capitalism and resilience

  • Danish architecture studio BIG released a bio tech utopian vision for an AI campus in China. "Cloud Valley is envisioned as a city where people, technology and nature thrive together – with spaces designed for all types of life: human life, plant life, animal life and even artificial life." Everything in the mini city, from the fire service to personal butlers will be operated by an artificial intelligence system called Terminus AI City Operating System, or TACOS. 

  • HP released more information on the VR headset it is developing, the HP Omnicept. The device is the first VR headset to be equipped with biometric readers. This will allow it to respond to the user, e.g. in the case you start to feel overwhelmed. It will remain to be seen if the use of biometric adaptation can help boost adoption of this technology.  



  • Luxury experiences have gone phygital by giving people access to exclusive products as well as digital access to sought-after experts. While many physical premises still operate with a limited capacity, explore now how your brand can create unique and valuable experiences in your consumer’s home. 

  • Gaming has been growing consistently in the last couple of years and this has been boosted even further by the pandemic. This makes it an increasingly important media channel for brands to be a part of. Start to explore which games fit your brand and how you can play an authentic role therein. 

  • The office is more than a physical place of work. Explore how in the future, when work will be even more flexible, you will deliver the other elements that make an office such as culture, focus and collaboration to your employees. 

  • Stakeholders in government, consumers and increasingly shareholders expect more from business than short-term financial returns. Now is the time to plan how your business will have a social and environmental impact. 

  • Gen Z and to a certain extent Gen Y are often hailed as conscious consumers. However, the data doesn’t always add up between their values and their behaviour. Explore now what is causing this mismatch to ensure you engage with these consumers the right way. 


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