Welcome back to Modern Human’s monthly newsletter: Modernity. Thank you for bearing with us through the recent silence, and for staying subscribed. 

At Modern Human we spend a lot of time reading and researching in pursuit of designing products, services and workplaces that make a meaningful difference to people, to our clients and to the world. Along the way we find all kinds of fascinating information that contributes to how we think and shapes what we design. 

We will be publishing Modernity regularly again from now on so until next time: never forget that the process of creating the kind of future you want to see starts today. Stay Brave. Keep being disruptive. Believe in a better future. Reach out for help. Let’s imagine what’s next together.


01_ How Gaming Will Change Humanity as We Know It

“Until now, human institutions and structures have depended on relatively open and overlapping networks of ideas. Gaming is carving up and privatising those spaces. This shift is the big trend that hardly anyone (outside of gaming and crypto) is noticing.” ⭢

02_ Lab-grown meat is supposed to be inevitable. The science tells a different story.

Plant-based alternatives to meat are doing great business, but lab-grown alternatives look increasingly unlikely in the mid-term. The question isn’t whether companies can culture animal protein in the lab – drug companies have been doing that for decades. It’s whether that approach can actually feed a meaningful number of people at a reasonable cost. ⭢

03_ A Field Guide to Music’s Potential Crypto Boom

Crypto advocates want to engineer a new financial system for music that can support real-time revenue streams and ultimately hand much more power back to the individual artist. Rolling Stone magazine walks through some of the potential applications and latest developments. ⭢

04_ The surprising uses of Mushrooms

Fungi could be one of the biodegradable miracle materials that we need in order to reduce our impact on the planet. This brief video shows how the roots of fungi (mycelium) are being used to make compostable versions of common products: packaging, coffins and insulation. ⭢

05_ Why Do Some Buildings in Hong Kong Have Holes in Them?

Have you ever wondered why some buildings in Hong Kong have gaping holes in the centre? The answer lies in the city’s fixation with the ancient Chinese practice of feng shui… ⭢

Studio notes

In preparation for a permanent return to the studio, we’ve been reassessing our needs and refactoring our space. Based on our findings we’re looking to move to a new space which contains a series of small individual project studios, a central shared space for social working and a quiet library space for deep work. We’ll touch on some of the thinking behind our new studio space at both Workplace Trends in London and People Power in Newcastle.

Earlier in the year we completed the product strategy and vision for an EduTech’s flagship product. We’ve since been continuing our work with them with a deep dive into a core functional area of their product. We’ve also been out doing research with educators on 5 continents in the hunt for features that will differentiate their product.

We’ve finished redesigning a bank’s workplace through an experimental, iterative approach that created a unique space based on their distinct needs and ways of working. The approach revealed some interesting observations about how the organisation really worked and some key questions about how they wanted to work together.

What is music for? We’ve been conducting ethnographic research in the UK and South Korea with a client in the music industry. We’ve been observing listening behaviour and identified a new model that describes fan community dynamics to help them understand what might be next for the music industry.

Our PJH joined a conversation with Mo Sullivan of Sullivan Brown, Chris Maddock of Muckle LLP and Shellann Moody of Cadent to talk about opportunities to rethink work. Listen at:

He also took our Playbook For The Disrupted to Product Tank Bristol for his first live and IRL speaking event since November 2019. There’ll be plenty more chances to catch us live and in-person this autumn:

13 OCT: Workplace Trends (London)
Reimagining the Workplace for Future Employee Needs

21 OCT: Service Design Global Conference (Virtual)
Liberating Service Sweatshops: Realising the Value of Human Contact

16 NOV: People Power (Newcastle)
Beyond the Hybrid Model: Reimagining work in the wake of the pandemic to maximise productivity and wellbeing

We hope to see you there!

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