Weekly 'Pulse' Issue 60


Middle East Disruption


A new wave of entrepreneurialism in the Middle East is giving rise to a unique breed of innovations cultivated to address the regions specific needs. From a music streaming platform which uses browser-based downloading (because mobile data can be expensive); to a mobile phone-based GPS technology that enables packages to be delivered to places without a functional street address system; creators in the Middle East are looking at the restrictions which traditionally hampered new products and services from thriving in their region and capitalising on those same challenges to spur creativity and ingenuity.

At the same time, the start-up environment across the region is thriving. Earlier this month, RiseUp the regions premier entrepreneurship summit hit its fifth year. Venture funding within the region has grown from $200 million to $1 billion between 2016 and 2016, Meanwhile, the government of the region is pushing to diversify from oil - creating a perfect storm of start-up cultures to rival the West. 

Read more here.

How will new pockets of entrepreneurialism reframe challenges and create force innovators to think differently about their solutions in the coming years? 

Edible Activism


In an effort to combat the millions of plastic single-use straws that make their way into our landfill and oceans every day, the US-based Loliware is tackling a wasteful drinking habit head-on with an edible alternative.

Born from the notion that providing consumers with a better product experience will drive behaviour change better than asking them to refrain for the sake of the environment, the companies innovative Lolistraws are edible, completely compostable alternatives designed to be playful - not a chore. Available in clear (to mimic your standard drinking straw) or coloured, the seaweed-based straws come in at 0 calories, can be flavoured to match your drink and can even be imbued with added nutrients - a genuine step up on your standard plastic model (whether you're worried about the environment or not).

Read more here.

How can we reframe sustainability initiatives by focusing on superior product design that can power behaviour change - regardless of consumer's environmental motivations? 

Social Improvisation


Wildfires across Southern California have scorched over 700 square kilometres and destroyed around 800 homes to date. In the midst of this crisis, Snapchat has taken on an unlikely role - with residents snapping their experiences and posting on social media site, the platform is proving an efficient way of documenting the destruction of the fires and ensuring residents stay connected. What's more the new Snap Map feature is harnessing the data provided by users to warning others of wildfire movements and track locations in real time.

Read more here.

How can we harness the user data captured by mainstream social media platforms by building new tools and extensions that amplify their usefulness?