STATE OF AMERICA
Adult Playgrounds Coming To A City Near You – The quest to live a healthier, more active lifestyle has come to this: playgrounds for adults. Such playgrounds not only have the look of traditional children’s play spaces but in some cases are built by the same manufacturers. Though there are no swings or slides, these playgrounds are essentially outdoor gyms for grown-ups. The adult playground concept is borrowed from China and parts of Europe where outdoor fitness areas for adults have become as routine as high-fiber diets or vitamin D supplements in preventive care, particularly for older people. Now a growing number of health experts, community leaders, and city and park officials throughout the U.S. are praising the health and social benefits of adult playgrounds. They say that the playgrounds will succeed where treadmills have failed in combating rising rates of obesity and related illnesses by enticing the grown-ups out for play dates.
BRAVE NEW CONSUMER
Why People Don’t Buy Stuff Anymore – People are starting to think differently about what it means to “own” something. As all forms of media make their journey into a digital, de-corporeal space, research shows that people are beginning to actually prefer this disconnected reality to owning a physical product. To “own something” in the traditional sense is becoming less important because what’s scarce has changed. Trying to own a product is no longer seen as a challenge. People can now find and own practically anything they want thanks to the internet. Because of this, the balance between supply and demand has been altered and the value has moved elsewhere. The value in ownership has shifted from products to connections. Today, a product or service is powerful because of how it connects people to something or someone. Connection is what is now considered scarce and that’s something worth paying for.
Retailers Fight Showrooming-
As online shopping has surged, traditional retailers have lost millions in sales to so-called showrooming – when shoppers check out products in stores that they then buy from sites like Amazon. Now some big retailers are taking a new approach to the dreaded showrooming by transforming their stores into extensions of their own online operations. Walmart, Macy’s, Best Buy, Sears, the Container Store and other retailers are stepping up efforts to add Web return centers, pickup locations, free shipping outlets, payment booths and even drive-through customer service centers for online sales to their brick-and-mortar buildings. “We are living in the age of the customer, and you can either fight these trends that are happening – showrooming is one – or you can embrace them,” said Joel Anderson, the chief executive of Walmart.com for the United States. “We have a lot of assets, but they’re only assets if you embrace the trends of the customers.”
The Pivot- Before Twitter became a microblogging sensation it was a podcasting business. YouTube’s founders were convinced they’d hit the jackpot with a video-dating site. PayPal’s original mission was to beam IOU’s from Palm Pilot to Palm Pilot. These companies, like many others, are examples of startups that “pivoted” from their original visions. Pivoting has become part of the business and technology lexicon. Only a soothsayer can know what will happen before it happens, and only the savviest (or luckiest) entrepreneur can take an idea from the initial inspiration to market and beyond without a few hiccups along the way. So perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that pivoting isn’t just common, it’s become the rule more than the exception. History shows that it’s more likely a tech company will undergo a steep course correction at one point or another than stay true to their founders’ original vision. Pivots are rooted in learning what works and what doesn’t, keeping “one foot in in the past” and “one foot in a new possible future.”
ON THE RADAR
Culture Observation: Worldwide, YouTube is becoming a major platform for viewing news. According to a 15-month study conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, news events now account for one-third (39%) of the most-searched terms on YouTube, a site once best known as a place where people posted personal videos. Journalism.org| July 16, 2012
Watch This: Google’s Project Glass – a wearable pair of augmented reality glasses – will be available to the public in 2014. The specific technology shown in this video may be a few additional years away, but the idea is to use augmented reality to deliver information that’s directly relevant to your surroundings and have it appear in front of you whenever you need it.
Try This App: The popularity of internet memes reflects consumers’ desires to create their own cultural content. I’d Cap That is an entertaining app that takes your basic iPhone photos and slaps random captions on them. The app follows the set up of some of the most popular memes: a simple, concise text written over a photo that turns the photo on its head or adds a humorous context.