Synthetic biology moves us from reading to writing DNA, allowing us to design biological systems from scratch for any number of applications. Its capabilities are becoming clearer, its first products and processes emerging. Synthetic biology’s reach already extends from reducing our dependence on oil to transforming how we develop medicines and food crops. It is being heralded as the next big thing; whether it fulfils that expectation remains to be seen. It will require collaboration and multi-disciplinary approaches to development, application and regulation. Interesting times ahead!
Sheila has over 20 years experience helping clients capitalise on change - identifying changes in their business environment, assessing the implications and responding effectively to them. As Research Director at Shaping Tomorrow she has completed many futures projects on topics as diverse as health care, telecommunications, innovation management, and premium products for clients in the public and private sectors. Sheila also writes a weekly Trend Alert to highlight changes that might affect a wide range of organisations. www.ShapingTomorrow.com
All articles by Sheila Moorcroft:
May 2, 2013 | In: Trend Alert
Chronic pain affects millions of people’s lives; millions more have operations every year, needing anaesthetics and pain relief. New approaches to managing pain ranging from watching films during operations to playing with inflated rubber gloves or virtual reality games are proving powerful tools in managing pain. While drug companies may face a challenge to their markets, patients could benefit, suffering fewer adverse side effects and healing better; and health care services may be able to reduce costs. Opportunities for home based approaches may also grow.
April 17, 2013 | In: Trend Alert
The blue economy, the term ascribed to a wide range of activities such as fishing, shipping, coastal tourism, energy, cable laying and mining, presents huge opportunities. Estimates of the current value vary from $6-$21trillion; a recent study put the value added arising from the EU opportunity alone at €500 billion, rising to €600 billion by 2020. Investment is growing, but also environmental concern. Deep sea mining is at present a small but increasingly significant element of that economy.
March 27, 2013 | In: Trend Alert
2013 has been heralded as the year of SoLoMo – Social, Local, Mobile – really takes off. SoLoMo could bring a revolution in retailing, marketing, consumer research, public relations – to name a few, as it becomes the ultimate loyalty card, direct mailshot, secret shopper, and feedback loop. Companies will need to be more agile, able to provide real-time relevance to hyper-connected consumers.
March 20, 2013 | In: Trend Alert
Concern about how long we spend sitting is rising: new research indicates that it may be a greater health risk than smoking. Mobile technologies are also changing how we sit – badly is the answer, with new pains and problems. New lifestyles, work patterns and designs needed.
February 27, 2013 | In: Trend Alert
Africa is growing – economically, in terms of population, and more importantly in terms of investment and market opportunities. Investments in internet and mobile technologies are critical to enabling that growth and these are growing too. Some are also suggesting that Africa could leapfrog other markets and jump straight to the cognitive computing era, enabled by the latest technologies and rapid expansion of big data, which would be a real game changer not just in Africa, but world-wide.
February 20, 2013 | In: Trend Alert
Wearable technology – smart watches and smart glasses especially, but others too – are being touted as the next big thing. And the race is well and truly on with giants such as Apple and Google entering the field but also smaller companies such as Pebble and mc10. The challenge will be to overcome the geek image much wearable technology has had until now and make us ‘want’ another device. Specialist applications may indicate the way forward at first, especially in sport and health.
January 30, 2013 | In: Trend Alert
Growing numbers of pets world-wide, and an increasing willingness among their owners to spend large sums of money on them, present significant opportunities. However, there are also growing concerns about health risks to humans and the need to monitor pets more effectively. Pet owners may be willing to help.
January 9, 2013 | In: Trend Alert
Governments could be described as the largest and longest running crowd-funding schemes in existence. Sadly, whereas crowd-funding is seen as innovative, flexible, responsive, bottom up, transparent, enabling – among other things; governments would be hard pushed to receive similar accolades. However, times are changing and governments are beginning to adopt some of the characteristics of crowd-funding and crowdsourcing. But there is a long way to go.
December 4, 2012 | In: Trend Alert
Big data is a hot topic in the business press. Its promise of greater insights and efficiency, improved innovation and competiveness, not to mention income streams for the providers of data analytics tools are a rich source of discussion. Several recent developments indicate the power of using data analysis and statistics effectively to reach conclusions, and we almost certainly ‘ain’t seen nothing yet’ as big data techniques emerge. However, statistics do not necessarily tell the whole story and are open to radically different interpretations. That said, the power of numbers and modelling is rising.
November 21, 2012 | In: Trend Alert
Major catastrophic events aside, we are and will continue to be an urban planet; by 2030 60% of us will live in cities. Ensuring that those cities are economically successful, liveable and functional will enhance human health and wellbeing; pleasant places is becoming a focus of research, technological investment and policy discussions on a grand scale. Art and artistic endeavour in all its guises, from major public works to small scale neighbourhood schemes, will also have a major role to play in creating attractive places and economic vitality.
October 31, 2012 | In: Trend Alert
Between now and 2020, Chinese consumers will become the main driver of China’s economy, and probably also the global economy. The opportunities are enormous, worth billions of dollars as per capita incomes treble, and disposable income tops $10 billion per year. Meeting Chinese consumers’ needs is perhaps one of the greatest opportunities ever; it is also one of the greatest challenges, if we are not to deplete the planet disastrously; nor create debt fuelled bubbles, or high inflation.
October 10, 2012 | In: Trend Alert
Embedded intelligence and sensors are set to revolutionise many aspects of healthcare and support for older people. Some of those technologies, which are wearable, ingestible, responsive and communicative, herald significant changes and benefits ahead, and could reduce the growing costs of falls among older people.
September 26, 2012 | In: Trend Alert
Small scale green spaces are springing up in place of parking spaces. So called parklets are proving popular both as an annual temporary event, but also as community driven and enabled developments. They can enhance community, quality of life, potentially clean the air and provide recharging – for humans and our mobiles.
- May 28 in Netherlands 2013 University-Industry Interaction Conference
- Jun 5 in Germany 5th New Product Development and Innovation Management
- Jun 16 in Finland The XXIV ISPIM Conference – Innovating in Global Markets: Challenges for Sustainable Growth
- Jun 20 in Turkey 6th International Conference for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Regional Development (ICEIRD)
- Jun 26 in United Kingdom R&D Management Conference 2013
- Jun 26 in Germany Alliance Management for Open Innovation in Pharma