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Essential or non-essential? That is the question

What will change as we re-order essentials? Re-evaluations of what comprises essential infrastructure in a post-COVID world is already happening. So, the question of essential versus non-essential is not a Shakespearean question; but rather a very practical calculation that guides corporate budgets, household spending priorities and government planning to shape cities and civil infrastructure.

The sobering lessons for climate change that COVID-19 teaches us – but is anyone listening?

The biggest difference between climate change and COVID-19 is immediacy, both in terms of time and space. The virus kills people today and we can see and understand the consequences on TV, radio, internet and social media. But climate change is incremental, discussed in terms of 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius of warming over decades. Perhaps the lingering memories of today’s pain points will become the seeds of more definitive action addressing the climate change challenge. What can we learn from this?

What will happen to reading as listening rises?

Many of us are now constantly plugged into a portable device, listening to a podcast, an audio book, or news broadcast, often streamed, providing on-demand content at any time of the day or night. Listening is something we can do while doing other things. It is the perfect multi-tasking enabler. But what does our obsession with listening mean for reading? Will we outsource all our reading to a listening device? Are rumours of the end of books true?

Learning to soar on the current of change

No animal loves a storm more than an eagle. Unlike other birds, eagles get wildly excited as they sense a change in the movement of the wind and spot the formation of clouds on the horizon. They know: a storm is coming. Without an ounce of fear, eagles fly into the storm with courage and zest, leveraging the wind gusts to lift above the clouds, enabling them to rest their wings as they soar higher to search for prey.

How do we manage Project Future?

Today’s project managers face far more risks and complications and cannot afford to make the same mistake. All the more so, as we increasingly move to a project economy, in which people have the skills and capabilities they need to turn ideas into reality. It seems that everything is becoming a project – from buildings to roads, bridges, a business’ digital transformation, to literally every piece of technology that we have and will have. But the future, as we know, remains a moving target, filled with changes, uncertainties and surprises. Our traditional project management practices just won’t suffice. So, how can we equip ourselves to deliver projects successfully in a future that is as elusive as ever?

A rail journey from dinosaur to digital

The history of rail goes back more than 2600 years when the first vehicles ran in limestone grooves in ancient Greece. After tremendous advances in George Stephenson and Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s time, Japan’s introduction of the Shinkansen bullet train for the 1964 Olympics became the next evolution of railways, a 210 km/h driving force that took Japan from post-WW II ruin to the world’s second biggest economy at the time. The railways have proven their ‘metal’ as the backbone of economies from ancient times through to the modern era. But as technology changes our way of life at an exponential rate, the rail industry, considered by some the last form of dinosaur, will have to evolve and adapt as fast (or even faster) than a bullet train to survive and keep up with people’s needs.

It takes a vertical village to raise the future

Around the turn of the 19th century, the first skyscraper was born. All ten storeys of Chicago’s iconic Home Insurance Building comprised a wondrous skeleton of iron and steel, wrapped in a facade of glass and pane. It wasn’t only the building’s breakthrough engineering that paved our future city skylines; it was the story that each storey told. In this case, the story was insurance – every facet of the building was designed to celebrate that singular purpose.

Will railways suffer the autonomous axe?

Almost two centuries ago, the Victorian age descended on Great Britain. It was a tale of two Charles’s (Darwin and Dickens), an era of ingenuity, an age of political reform and social change, and a dawning of the first Industrial Age. It was a time of smokestacks and sweeping development – and it coincided with the rise of the British railways. All throughout the country, train tracks were rolled out like a red carpet to industrial progress, connecting cities to towns and shorelines to inland areas. Rail wore the second crown for over a century, revolutionising travel, industry and broader concepts of human connectivity…until the day the automobile rolled into town.

Reinventing the third place for the digital dimension

Long, long ago, when games still needed dice and phones required cords, the average teenager was a very different breed of human. Awkward experiments in social behaviour were conducted face to face, and migration patterns usually revolved around food courts and bowling alleys. And for those of us who grew up in a metropolitan area, the mall was the ‘ground zero’ for the community – a place of common gathering and interaction, where pimple-pocked youth could strut and flash their proverbial peacock feathers, and arcade games provided endless entertainment.

Designing for the future: Generation… ‘Next’!

There’s nothing that screams ‘millennial’ quite like a selfie. But then again, there’s nothing that hasn’t screamed ‘millennial’ for the past two decades. Along with their tattoos, hipster vibes, smashed avo, Birkenstock loyalties and other clichéd affectations, millennials (those born 1982-1993) have captured the attention of popular culture like no other generation in history. This global tribe of digital optimists, now almost 2.5 billion-strong, has influenced every sphere of society and called the workforce to a new standard of engagement and management.

Parking lots: an urban endangered species

We all know them: those custodians of the pavement, often donned in reflective uniforms and armed with their weapon of ticketry. Everywhere you go in the world, parking inspectors tend to provoke the same irritations and avoidance responses. This kerbside dynamic is pretty universal. Yet it’s becoming increasingly dated too. What will we do with all those car parks and kerbs, as automated vehicles (AVs) and shared vehicles increasingly dominate the road?

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