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⏮ [ Looking back at ] our world in crisis

Still looking back at what I wrote this summer to help you kick off September with a curated list of ideas and views on innovation that you might have missed.
⏮ [ Looking back at ] our world in crisis
Photo by Jon Tyson / Unsplash

If innovation fosters change in the market, change periodically happens brutally on its own. A fascist populist elected in 2016 in the U.S., a global pandemic in 2020, a war in Europe in 2022, the planet finally realizing that climate change is real... Quite the unprecedented stream of shit storms if you ask me.

These last months I had the opportunity to write about some of these changes to try to wrap my mind around them at first (writing is a catharsis) and maybe to offer some perspective too as an innovation strategist dealing with unpredictability daily.

A post-2020 society

Saying that twenty years of societal changes have been compressed within these last two years is an understatement. From the way we eat, make love, find housing, or work, every aspect of our lives has been impacted by a crisis or another.

😎 Remote work? It sticks.
An interesting strong signal today is about a second order of consequences of Covid-19. If we still don’t know how hard the pandemic will hit us back this winter, it seems that remote work is now a key societal change. Employers fighting at the same time for productivity gains and
💼 Are TikTok jobs the future of the economy?
From Instagram to Youtube, creating out of nothing an economic feedback loop is the dream of every social media platform. The core promise is making thousands of dollars a month on the value of your stream of consciousness, which in turn will attract more brands and money to the platform.
🚐 Vanlife: pure hype or long-term social change?
Another great article from our friends at L’Atelier. One that is really in season when you see all other social medias this explosion of young adults selling their apartments (or refusing to own one to start with) and taking the road in a van. Life is a highway, let’s

In all this, always pay attention to what's going on in the U.S. as their societal transformation is always imported by Europe (I was about to write "for better or worse," but who am I kidding, it's always for the worse, isn't it?).

💣 Will Roe reversal change tech forever?
Well, here we are – or more precisely, here they are. Be assured that I’m not going to add comments to the flood of discussions and analysis. Not to mention that although my personal feelings about how the U.S. is dangerously becoming a sh*thole country (to quote one of

Markets adopting new paradigms

As we watch in real time an old world unraveling and a new one trying to shape up, many critical signals are broadcasted, but most corporations are slow to read and use them. Here are a few I discussed this summer:

🛫 Airports are morphing for a pandemic world
Two years ago, while working with executives from one of the top luxury brands worldwide, we discussed how the world would adapt post-pandemic. The concern was mainly at the time for travel retail which accounts for quite a surprisingly high share of international luxury sales. Without anyone travel…
🤠 Facebook and Apple enter a bank...
Some stories read like a joke but also illustrate entirely different corporate cultures and innovation strategies. In 2019, Facebook (now Meta) announced the launch of Libra, a proprietary cryptocurrency to be launched in 2020. After the second or third rebranding (Novi), trying to package the whol…

Not to forget one of our most read articles this summer:

💔 The war for tech talents is only beginning
You’ve been hearing a lot about the despair of the hospitality sector to get new hires, but the lack of talents to recruit is now widespread. Only a few months ago Revelio Lab was publishing statistics on how the last two years of pandemic affected the banking and tech sector.

And for our subscribers, a deep-dive on why platforms such as Amazon have no choice but to get into healthcare (yes, also in Europe):

🔴 Is Amazon Healthcare inevitable in Europe? (Yes)
With the acquisition of One Medical, Amazon might become one of the most powerful American healthcare providers. While it might finally fix some of the U.S. life expectancy steady decline, Europe should realize that Amazon barging into our medical system is also inevitable (it already started).

Tech and startups in turmoil

We should take time someday to discuss how the tech world and startup ecosystems are vastly inefficient. But for now, suffice to reckon that this whole sector will face an unprecedented wave of changes. And no, I'm not very optimistic about the outcome.  

🥸 Is the startup craze coming to a halt?
In an unexpected move, Y Combinator, the historic mothership of the startup economy, will downsize its next wave of startup funding to 250 companies, down from more than 400. This is one event in an avalanche of recent news about startups downsizing or VC funds going bust (Softbank Vision Fund
🛒 Why inflation is an unprecedented challenge for tech
Most of what is call the tech sector that went under explosive growth these last ten years has been built around digital consumer platforms; what I often derogatorily call the pizza-delivery sector. The underlying reasons have been pretty clear for a while: the incredible power of network effects bu…
💶 Europe has a new plan for innovation ecosystems; most will struggle
The European Commission is about to present a new policy roadmap for innovation ecosystems called “A New European Innovation Agenda.” The incentive is clear: European innovation ecosystems are still not on par with US ones. It would be a long (undoubtedly interesting) discussion to understand what’s…

But if you want to be optimistic, you should remember that for business, destruction is OK as it can spawn extraordinary creativity (👋 Schumpeter):

🌩 7 Perfect storms startups to launch this summer
After two years of covid, a war in Europe, and now a significant recession, are you tired of startups that only aim at solving pizza delivery? I know I am. As it happens, troubled times have some upside; while incumbents are down, they favor up-start businesses and level the competitive

And if you're a private or corporate investor (and a subscriber), you might want to check how we now see the soft spot for innovation amidst so many crises. It's all about being not too early while timing late entries:

🔴 From Deeptech to Diptech
For the last years, most startup ecosystems accepted that trying to birth the next Facebook was mission impossible. The password to the future was deeptech. Not anymore. Let’s try to understand why “diptech” is the new black.

Is there a big picture?

In conclusion, it might be worth remembering that what we call 'progress' is a concept invented in the 18th century, not a law of physics by any stretch. Questioning its reality is one thing, but understanding why it can be misleading and what, in the end, having a good life means might be more important.

🔴 Does innovation deliver progress? (It’s complicated)
We collectively still conflate progress and innovation. Not that progress doesn’t exist, but it’s anything but an immutable law of physics, like gravity or the speed of light. Here are my two cents on science, technology, innovation, and progress.