"  Circle Culture  Circle Culture
AUG 19 - 02


The North Face and Spiber launch the first “biotech” down parka

We at Cc discovered with great excitement that The North Face has joined forces with the Japanese biomaterial company Spiber to produce the world’s first outerwear jacket that is made from proteins designed to be similar to natural spider silk. Yet, instead of spiders producing the parka’s silk, precision-engineered microbes make it. This innovation can be considered as downright spectacular for the manufacturing fashion industry since the unique qualities of natural spider silk have long been considered as unparalleled, to say the least: It is said to be tougher than Kevlar, lighter than carbon fiber and warmer than the densest down, depending on how it is made. But the innovative material also stands out because of its thoroughly sustainable qualities: The textile used for the so-called “Moon Parka” by The North Face x Spiber is produced via a renewable process that meets the demanding The North Face performance requirements, which would commonly involve non-natural, petroleum-based materials to comply with. To put it in a nutshell, the American outdoor giant masters - thanks to its Japanese partner - once again to mark a case in point when it comes to perfectly reconciling innovation and sustainability. We at Cc find the collaboration noteworthy for two primary reasons. First, ever more fashion brands deliberately wish and especially feel the urgent necessity to align their manufacturing processes with the requirements of sustainability, resource preservation and recyclability. Yet, second, such intentions are – particularly within the fashion industry – often measured in terms of scalability. With the Moon Parka successfully satisfying both desires respectively requirements, and with The North Face being a large multinational company who dares to leverage totally new materials, we have great hopes that in the near future ever more fashion brands realize the tremendous potential – in terms of both sustainability and commercialization – that the biotech industry and its seemingly never-ending innovations hold for them.
"  Circle Culture
JUL 19 - 02


New visual identity for Century Therapeutics

We are proud to share with you an insight from one of our latest design projects that we have been trusted with by Century Therapeutics. The Philadelphia-based start-up is dedicated to democratizing cancer therapy by developing both induced pluripotent stem cell-based therapies and novel allogeneic living drugs for oncology that overcome the limitations of first-generation cell therapies. With the mission of developing a relevant brand platform and appealing visual identity for Century Therapeutics’ website, we organized and led a comprehensive stakeholder workshop in Philadelphia. In order to best fuel the creative flow during the workshop, we designed beforehand three visual identities and brought them as a groundwork for the actual ideation process to Philadelphia. One of these routes was then chosen by Century Therapeutics’ team and further elaborated during the workshop itself. We at Cc especially value a common acceleration workshop with all stakeholders concerned to kick-off a joint project in order to create a precise hierarchy of information for an optimal digital communication flow during the entire project and to guarantee a deep understanding of the visual leitmotif of the Century Therapeutics brand. By doing so, we are able to ensure a sustained common ground for the desired brand expression across the whole team, thereby enabling highest levels of quality within short deadlines. Our very successful workshop thus laid the foundations for a differentiating corporate identity as well as for the visual language of the brand’s website. As a result, the latter stands out from competitors in a new and refreshing way by focusing its imagery not exclusively on laboratory pictures – as commonly known within the segment -, but by highlighting the human dimension of the company’s great purpose through the usage of people and community pictures. We at Cc are thrilled to be part of this beautiful brand and to be able to further make Century Therapeutics shine.
"  Circle Culture  Circle Culture  Circle Culture
JUN 19 - 02


Global Product Concept Workshop with Kneipp

We are thrilled to share that we have been invited by Kneipp, Germany's leading producer of bathing products, to pass by an idyllic country estate near to their headquarters in Würzburg and to conduct a workshop there whose aim was to explore product concepts around the ideas of wellness, health and technology that are in line with Sebastian Kneipp’s holistic 5-pillar-philosophy (water, plants, exercise, nutrition and balance), but that would also strongly resonate with demanding customers around the globe. In order to best fuel the creative flow during the workshop, we talked beforehand to distinguished experts from the fields of, amongst others, organic beauty, yoga and breathing techniques. The insights that we gained through these conversations fed into a large number of concept starters that, in turn, served as inspirational groundwork for the ideation process during the workshop. But also the workshop location itself added to the productive working atmosphere since the breathtaking natural environment that the country estate is nestled in was almost directly physically perceptible thanks to a 360° surrounding window front. Stay tuned for which of the discussed ideas will eventually make their way into the drugstores’ shelves.
"  Circle Culture  Circle Culture  Circle Culture
MAY 19 - 02


„The Algorithmic Leader“ by Mike Walsh

When thinking about the extent to which our working future will most probably be shaped by artificial intelligence (short: AI), that is by intelligence demonstrated by machines such as robots for instance, many people fear downright their right to exist. They are afraid of being replaced by fully automated work processes, which incapacitate and turn them into inefficient, ambivalent and thus useless workers. The contrary thinking yet, that means the firm conviction that human intelligence will still have a substantial reason for being, appears to be less common today. The latest book “The Algorithmic Leader” by futurist and strategist Mike Walsh enters the debate exactly at this point by raising the pivotal question: What is the true potential of human intelligence in the twenty-first century? By synthesizing numerous years of research and interviews with some of the world’s top business leaders, AI pioneers and data scientists into a set of ten principles about what it takes to succeed in the algorithmic age, Walsh is full of hope that still in the future, great and successful companies are, above all, built on human culture. Or as put by Brian Halligan, MIT alumnus and founder of HubSpot, a developer and marketer of software products for inbound marketing and sales: “Mike Walsh’s prescient vision of the algorithmic company of the future is no robot army of soulless analytics dashboards, but a living, breathing organism – a community of humans who respond to motivation beyond compensation: Purpose and impact; decision-making and autonomy; location and collaboration.” These are all values that we at Cc also deeply cherish as we intrinsically live and proclaim human culture.
"  Circle Culture  Circle Culture
AUG 19 - 01


Making scientific topics both easier and more fun to digest

Originally stemming from the already widely known poetry slams, science slams are currently enjoying an ever-growing popularity, especially at German universities. Being defined as a kind of a tournament of scientific short lectures where professional scientists present their proprietary research projects in a given time frame – that commonly does not last longer than ten minutes – in front of a non-expert audience, science slams aim at transmitting current science to a diverse, usually lay public in an entertaining way. The underlying idea is thus to teach complex scientific issues in a both easy and light way, thereby hoping to reach the critical mass. Thoralf Räsch from the University of Bonn is convinced that “it is absolutely possible to openly discuss scientific topics – even if one does not understand them to the very last detail”. The only aspect the slammers should pay close attention to is the delicate balance between making their presentation entertaining, yet not too much so on the one hand, and keeping the scientific focus, yet without overloading the public with too many expert details on the other hand. We at Cc find this modern format of science communication not only very exciting, but also highly relevant as we have been observing, in recent years, a rising necessity to turn scientific themes more relatable and sexier for a larger audience. We as the world population are facing huge structural problems (e.g. hunger, epidemics, terminal illness) that only scientific break-through discoveries may find viable solutions for. Against this backdrop, it becomes all the more important for the research world to make their voices heard among the general public. We have great hopes that science slams may contribute to this crucial job!
"  Circle Culture  Circle Culture  Circle Culture
JUL 19 - 01


The Economist paints a world where synthetic biology bears the potential to change mankind’s foremost problems for good

We at Cc discovered with excitement that the renowned weekly magazine The Economist has dedicated an entire cover story to the field of synthetic biology and its potential to change mankind’s foremost problems such as hunger, epidemics and terminal illness for good. Under the title “Redesigning life – The promise of synthetic biology”, Oliver Morton, the article’s author, gives a deep dive into the synthetic biology industry and provides his readers with a detailed picture of the risks, yet even bigger chances that synthetic biology might have in store for us. Synthetic biology is commonly defined as designing and constructing biological modules, biological systems and biological machines or as re-design of existing biological systems for useful purposes. Morton approaches this complex and highly polarizing topic in a didactically helpful and relatable way by tracing all the way back to the history of Indians who live today a worthy life also thanks to their alliance with nature. Put differently, what synthetic biology tries to do is, according to the author, not novel. In contrast, he shows that such steps – albeit on a lesser scale – have already been taken at myriad points in time in human history. By doing so, Morton argues that synthetic biology is not about exploiting or going against (our) nature, but that it is rather about siding with and learning from nature for our all sake. We at Cc are thrilled by The Economist’s initiative to provide such a prominent stage to the field of synthetic biology for two reasons. First, the article underpins the unparalleled potential of the segment – which includes, amongst other, new gene-editing technologies, cheaper DNA synthesis and machine learning – to sustainably respond to our world’s most pressing issues by means of real, scientific breakthrough innovations. Second, the article’s author has put a lot of efforts into the reasoning and editing of the quite complicated topic of synthetic biology. Especially the latter question of how to communicate controversial, yet indispensable scientific ideas to a larger, potentially defensive lay public in a comprehensible way is very dear to our heart and forms the cornerstone of many projects at Cc. We thus look all the more forward to meeting up and exchanging with Oliver Morton at the upcoming industry fair SynBioBeta, that kindly made us discover The Economist’s article in the first place.
"  Circle Culture  Circle Culture
JUN 19 - 01


How the furniture giant is committed to advancing sustainable living

“There are too many people who want credit without responsibility. Too many who show up for the ribbon cutting without building anything worth a damn. Be different. Leave something worthy. And always remember that you can’t take it with you. You’re going to have to pass it on.” With this appeal, Apple CEO Tim Cook empathetically addressed the graduates at Stanford University’s latest commencement. Following this very same belief, the Swedish furniture giant IKEA has, already in 2016, launched its innovation lab, research hub and exhibition space Space10, whose purpose is to investigate the future of urban living by detecting major challenges that will impact people on a global scale, and exploring possible solutions across categories that are as diverse as nutrition, technology or design. The platform, that has just been selected as one of the “World’s Most Innovative Companies 2019” by Fast Company, is nestled in the heart of Copenhagen’s meatpacking district, among the hipster hangouts and design start-ups. And also Space10’s corporate architecture and CI design reflects the initiative’s striving for both more human and efficient solutions: While the lab’s office has just been redesigned in order to make the inner processes resonate better with the concepts of well-being, sustainability and community, also the lab’s website is characterized by an aesthetic and design-driven appearance stimulating all of the visitor’s senses. We at Cc are amazed to witness how a giant multinational corporation such as IKEA apparently feels the urgent need to act responsibly – not only for the sake of its own commercial success, but for the sake of mankind – and is even doing so in an aspirational and contemporary way. Go check it out by yourself:
"   Circle Culture  Circle Culture
MAY 19 - 01


Shaping contemporary consumer culture

Since Cc’s earliest days back in 2001, we have been committed to detecting and exploring nascent trends, pioneering developments and novel phenomena in consumer culture long before they have manifested within the mainstream thinking. The Spirit Room, which we developed and realized for Nike between 2002 and 2005, can serve as an example here: The temporary 3D brand space is still today referenced as one of the first pop-up stores - not only in Germany, but worldwide. And also with our cultural platform Circle Culture, we have always been striving to discovering, supporting and joining forces with up-and-coming artists, instead of “just” adding to the fame of the most established names on the art market. Having a bold voice and leaving a unique cultural imprint have thus always been part of our DNA at Cc. In this light, we have been even more amazed by adidas’ latest strategic move: After having successfully collaborated with global superstars such as Pharrell, Beyoncé or Rita Ora, the German sportswear manufacturer hast just recently disclosed its latest cooperation with the comparatively less known artist Donald Glover. The latter has been commissioned to re-interpret three of adidas Originals’ most iconic models: The Nizza, the Continental 80 and the Lacombe – all three models have sold out within a few days. The actual core of the collaboration yet represented a series of short films, which features Glover’s “typical patchwork: It’s wonky, narratively indeterminate, and crammed with wit and the occasional inside joke”, as put by WIRED. Adidas thus dares to stretch out its feelers beyond the comfortable mass culture, thereby actually strongly adding to the brand’s cultural currency and artistic relevance. We at Cc can’t wait to see what adidas will do next in its attempt to define culture, instead of simply contributing to it.