Each week, Padilla’s Insights + Strategy team stands at the intersection of people, culture and brands to bring you five stories that you can read in five minutes.
1. Signing at Starbucks.
Starbucks announced that they will open their first “signing store” in the United States on H Street in Washington D.C. where all staff will be proficient in American Sign Language. Why should you care? The store was launched specifically in response to a local community need. Home to Gallaudet University, the only university in the world “designed for deaf and hard-of-hearing students,” this neighborhood houses many other businesses who have made concerted efforts to be more inclusive to Gallaudet’s students. This is a great example of an international brand finding genuine ways to connect with the local communities they serve and be more inclusive for both their customers and employees. [The Washington Post]
2. Lounge with Jeff Goldblum in London.
To honor the 25th anniversary of Jurassic Park, a 25-foot statue of a shirtless Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm, has been installed in Potters Field next to the Tower Bridge in London. Why should you care? I don’t have some highbrow commentary for this one. It’s fun, quirky and just a bit cheeky – perfect for Jurassic Park and a ready-made selfie machine for Instagram. [Matador Network]
3. Trolling wildfires.
A startup called Descartes Labs has created a Twitterbot that tracks wildfires using satellite images from a government database. Why should you care? Twitterbots tend to get a bad rap for all of the election meddling and trolling they do. As an interesting counterexample, @WildfireSignal will track changes and provide updates on Twitter every six hours on the movements of the fires. In New Mexico, this is currently being used to monitor the fires as they approach buildings with the hope of better informing first responders and ultimately saving lives. [MIT Technology Review]
4. AI vs. the power of the people.
Thousands of top scientists and developers of AI signed a pledge stating that they will not build “lethal autonomous weapons systems.” Why should you care? The signatories believe that by signing this pledge they can create a preemptive ban of sorts on these types of weapons by not building them for militaries. If theoretically preventing potential mass destruction on a global scale wasn’t enough, this is interesting because it isn’t the first instance of protest with the tech sector around weapons systems this year. Last month Google decided not to renew a contract with the Pentagon after employee protests and resignations. Most notably, it aligns with broader trends we’ve seen this year on evolving perceptions of technologies and ongoing debates around “good” or “bad” tech. [The Guardian]
5. Mindful sizing.
J.Crew has partnered with Universal Standard to redesign the sizes, in one of their collections, so items will no longer be sized up from the smallest item, but rather designed specifically for people at each individual size. Why should you care? Two important things to consider here. First, not many brands are effectively operating in the plus size market. This itself is a fairly radical initiative for a mainstream brand to rethink their clothing lines to address different configurations of bodies at every size and to do so with out singling out the plus size market. Second, this is an interesting step between mass production and personalization. Logistically, J.Crew can still operate in a mass production mindset, but by restructuring their clothes, they can also address customer needs for a more personalized and tailored fit. [J.Crew]
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