innovation

Tech Innovation: The Latest Insights & Innovations From Unbound Festival London 2019

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Our world is shaped by the markets that facilitate it. And with a roughly four trillion pound tech market supplying the global demand for things that make life easier or more enjoyable, it’s clear it’s shaping it in a pretty big way.

Among the negative press about tech, from AI taking over the workforce to online consumerism disconnecting people, Tech for Good is showing some light in the robot-data-algorithm tunnel of darkness. And not only that: by nature of tech being able to dip its toes into multiple markets across the ecosystem, from recreation and self-care to healthcare and sustainability, the reach of its benefits are vast and the future of its lifespan is long.

Unbound Festival this year – a celebration of tech innovation – saw an influx of brilliant ways to make life easier, more sustainable and/or more fun. Filling gaps in the market and disrupting already filled ones, are several exciting startups that are designing the blueprint for the future, with innovation. 

The Technical Roundup

Undeniably the most groundbreaking tech seen at Unbound was the innovation that directly enhanced people’s quality of life, from virtual reality that improves neurological mobility difficulties, to digitally integrated walking canes that increase independence for the visually impaired.

Spearheading the current mainstream market is a boom in self-care apps like mindfulness and sleep assistance, while location-based apps designed to tackle physical inactivity are making scenic walking as easy as an Uber is to order. Environmental tech is making sophisticated and automated waste recycling a reality, as well as renewable energy, through apps and products increasing its usage, purchase and sale. 

Tech That’s …..For Good

Solving social, environmental and health problems with tech solutions is one of the most relevant and important applications of the 21stcentury. It’s a sign of exciting feats yet to come, with disruptive start-ups paving the way for tech innovation, showing the magnitude of its potential for the future.

For Environment

Resilience Energy aims to increase solar energy usage through an app that allows homeowners to produce, store and sell energy. Other notable tech innovators include Deciwatt: a portable renewable energy company where pulling a cord (as opposed to needing sunlight or electricity) can create light and power. Emsol is an air and noise pollution monitoring solution that tracks and measures the impact of transport emissions. AI company Grey Parrot, uses computer vision solutions to identify different types of waste that have the potential to revolutionise waste management and automation. Lastly, Cogzconnects food producers directly with trade buyers on their website, to sell surplus produce before it becomes food waste.

For Wellbeing

The height of human innovation is being able to replace, improve or accompany human mental or physical disability, with technology that becomes an indispensable part of their body, or an indispensable aid to their mind. One of the biggest downfalls to mental or physical difficulty is the debilitating lack of independence, which causes extreme states of stress and frustration.

Tech that’s been pioneered to assist in restoring some of that independence and the freedom of choice, pleasure and sense of strength that goes with it, holds a contribution to society so compassionate that its future potential is immeasurable. This section should alternatively be called, “Tech that’s For WellbeingIndependence”.

Andiamo provides 3D bespoke-made supports for disabled children, while Avenna, provides tech that works on the causal pathways and early detection of chronic inflammatory diseases. Walk with Path, has designed a shoe attachment equipped with visual cues to assist people with walking problems caused by neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. Another walking-assisted invention is WeWalk, which aims to help the estimated 250+ million visually impaired people worldwide with a technologically advanced voice-controlled cane, where objects above chest height can be detected by ultrasound, and a phone app and Google Maps are integrated to aid navigation. In terms of physiological rehabilitation, Immersive Rehab uses VR physiotherapy programmes to help sufferers of neurological mobility issues, or those with balancing difficulties resulting from the likes of strokes, spinal cord injuries or multiple sclerosis. 

For Mentality 

Go Jauntly’smission to alleviate inactivity, stress and depression by finding interesting location-targeted walks based on your location, is categorised by preference, such as walks under 45 minutes, walks with views, and walks that are child-friendly. A fantastic piece of tech for good innovation is Storyball: a screen-free smart toy for kids that uses dynamic games and challenges to get kids moving and learning.

Tech That’s…Crucial For Day to Day Convenience

Within the transport and smart cities talks, one of which was attended by heads at TFL, Citymapper, Uber and Drivy, the focus was on making systems more streamlined and safe through insights derived from big data, revealing stresses on different parts of transport systems.

Micro-consolidation of freight and vehicle delivery through automated and more eco-friendly means, was also outlined as a pressing need. In discussion about private car ownership versus shared ownership, head of Drivy’s UK branch Katy Medlock outlined the importance of introducing the use of more shared-car ownerships, due to private ownerships causing tendencies to travel by car out of convenience, rather than necessity.

Tech That’s…Enjoyable

The app WeShop is the equivalent of Shazam for shopping, and enables users to compare, find and purchase loved items through photos they take and a digital feed they curate. Rewards in the form of ‘WeCoins’ can be gained through posting, shopping and getting likes or comments, which can then be spent at more than 100 of WeShop’s partner stores. The other FinTech app Thyngs, allows users to turn their phone into anactive shopping device, where ‘…anything physical – from packaging to products – can become a cashless payment point’, among other features.

Over in the hospitality and activities corner, app Hollabox realises  the best way to decide whether you want to do something in London, is to visually see it first. Videos of experiences and venues in London are uploaded, meaning you can visually try and test places and activities before you book them. Once you’ve decided, you can then book through the app. Venues include restaurants, bars, cafes, pubs and markets, while experiences include cinemas, galleries and adventure sports.

Good design provides solutions to problems that to some degree enhance quality of life, with a blueprint designed to make life easier, healthier or more enjoyable. By filling untapped gaps in the market and disrupting already filled ones, tech is changing the landscape of business, and the consequent society dictating it. For more information on tech innovation visit Unbound London or support for your start or scale-up, visit the CoStartup & Go website

 

Business Psychology At Unbound Festival: 3 Tips On How To Succeed

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It’s not often 5,000 start-ups, scale-ups, investors and industry leaders, gather to discuss the latest tech trends that are shaping our world. Unbound Festival London covers six pillars of innovation from the front lines of the tech industry:

immersive experience, smart cities, investment and scaling of start-ups, Tech For Good, AI and finance. Technology is the engine room of modern society and leaves an industry brimming with seasoned expertise and fresh young talent, on track to be worth over four trillion pounds. How to succeed then, in this competitive, lucrative, rapidly growing market, is down to not only innovative tech, but innovative mindsets, facilitating the tech.

Here are 3 tips from Unbound Festival on business psychology, to help you succeed in an industry that’s moving faster than us.

1.     Business Psychology

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Psychological traits considered crucial to the survival of a business today, are less focused on adventurous inventions and bold ideas and more focused on adaptability, re-invention, and the relentless execution of a bold idea. There’s a surprising amount of businesses still running on regulations and methods that are 10 years old or more.

Considering the rapidly evolving landscape where product updates, upgrades and brand transformations are regular, nothing lasts 10 years anymore, you’d be lucky if they even last five. So to keep up with the blistering pace that digital tools, designed to speed up communication and the sharing of information, have accelerated, companies must re-invent their cultural values and branding regularly.

This way, employees are kept engaged, old customers are kept coming back, recent customers interested, and new leads’ attracted.

2.     Productive Psychology: Critical Brain Vs. Experiential Brain

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Re-calibrating our decisions to choose what’s best for long-term critical interests over what’s best for short-term gain, is what Mark Adams, Chief of Innovation at Vice and Martin Adams, CEO of AI tech company Codec, call the continuous intrapersonal war between our critical and experiential self. The case in point, is through the ferocious acceleration of big tech companies and the reliant consumption of online stimulus, algorithms –laden with systems and data designed to understand us better than we understand ourselves– are in a dangerous position of control over the decisions we make. Most of these decisions are not in our best interest, they’re of the interest of any typical business model: money. ‘Psyops’ (psychological operations) is the military term for weapons-grade communication tactics, used in modern warfare where research is collected and used to influence the decisions of hostile groups. The problem is, that it’s been dipping its toes in public mainstream territory, and has been accused of exploiting average Joes’ online information to influence decisions, both on mass and individually, for financial business and political ends. 

We as humans have a unique balance of experiential processes: actions that are preconscious and mediated through experience, ‘feel’ and emotion; and critical processes: actions that are conscious, intentional, and mediated through consideration of future interests. Outlined at Unbound, were some practical (albeit radical) ways to take control over prioritising the critical self over the experiential, to ward off increasing effects of technological intelligence, looming in the midst of an increasingly data-driven world. 

Innovation is largely psychological, with the focus shifted away from external ventures like inventing and acquiring academic knowledge, and more towards the likes of self-awareness and radical changes in lifestyle, as a result of that self-awareness. In order to reach true innovation, according to brothers Mark and Martin Adams, some key stages need following:

1.    Firstly, identify your critical needs, which are the things that bring real value and meaning to your life. Critical needs are what make you want to get up in the morning or happy to work long days for because it’s in pursuit of a critical ambition personally or within family. Once you’ve identified this set of needs, you have a unique blueprint for your own success.

2.    Identify what triggers experiential urges, for example, what makes you feel good now such as postponing that creative project until tomorrow, launching that startup next year instead of this year, or buying more, eating more, smoking or drinking more at the times when more pressing matters need your attention.

3.    By restricting your environmental triggers accordingly, it will become easier to do what you critically need and harder to do what you instantly feel like over time. 

4.    Radical methods such as making irreversible decisions that contractually bind you to pursue your critical goals even if weeks or months later you don’t want to, were also explained. Many of the most pioneering people in history have harnessed radical approaches to getting what’s most valuable done, and generated remarkable success from it, which Mark stresses is where true innovation lies.

Innovation starts in the mind, after an individual accurately identifies their unique set of critical goals, radically changes their life’s set up to reach that goal, and diligently turns these goals into material outcomes*. Only then is a larger potential is uncovered, and with it, a deeper level of satisfaction and accomplishment on fulfilling it.

3.     Leadership Psychology

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Leadership is another word for good team management. And a mindset malleable enough to cater to different ways employees feel most empowered, relaxed and valued, is the measure of a good leader. The happier employees feel, the more enabled they’ll be to do their best work. Ways to achieve this include (but are not limited to): re-thinking how current working methods in your business contribute to productivity, implementing flexible and remote working environments, and looking at how different environments can maximise productivity.

Unbound Festival celebrates tech innovation across a wealth of industries and is crucial for its insight into the future of digital. The latest innovative trends in tech are not just products, services and inventions; they are mindsets, dispositions and diligent states of self-analysis. Before external success can come, internal innovation must inform and action it. And with the tech industry trailblazing the markets forming the foundations of our future society, it’s never been as crucial to adapt, fine-tune and innovate our ways of thinking. For more in-depth information on innovation and productivity, watch talks from Unbound Festival 2019 or the additional talk on extreme productivity By Vice Innovation Chief Mark Adams on Tedx.

For directional coaching and initial assessment of your business and mindsets, feel free to get in touch here

*The ‘relentless pursuit of an idea’ from 1. Business Psychology 

 

Endless Innovation

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When an entrepreneur can recognise that his or her start-up or small business is in a constant state of innovation, the pressure moves from building a product or service that lasts, to building a product or service that can evolve as our world changes around us.

It's only natural that your organisational support should be just as adaptable and flexible as the market. Get in touch today to learn more about how PA&GO is redefining virtual support services and to see how we can help you accelerate your business.