"  Circle Culture  Circle Culture  Circle Culture  Circle Culture
OCT 19 - 02


Dustin Yellin encourages cultural collaboration for the sake of nature’s rescue

If the world population is going to outlast the climate change, New York-based artist Dustin Yellin is convinced that we all – across all possible disciplines and segments – will desperately need to join forces and bring our collective skills at one big table. Yellin’s belief in this kind of mass collaboration is materialized through Pioneer Works, a transdisciplinary cultural center based in Brooklyn that Yellin initiated in 2012 and has grown, ever since, into an open access innovation center. Pioneer Works thus serves as a platform that artists, scientists, businesspeople and philanthropists can leverage to enter into a common dialogue and come up with collaborative ideas of how the climate change might still be averted. Despite the hub’s explicit interdisciplinary character, art and culture play a very crucial role in Yellin’s hopes for Pioneer Works: “Culture is the best glue that can bring us together, start conversations and create an open and inspired world.” We at Cc could not agree more with Dustin Yellin since we share his conviction that both arts and sciences should be dynamically used as both a lens and catalyst for societal and environmental change. The Arts and Nature Social Club (ANSC), where our Head of Insights forms part of the advisory board, tackles the exact same issue by trying to find possible resorts from the imminent climate crisis. “Dedicated to reconnecting human culture with mother nature”, the association around Johann Haehling von Lanzenauer attempts to do so through the peaceful reconciliation of the arts, culture, science, technology and business. Please check out the initiative’s Instagram account to learn more:
"  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
OCT 19 - 01


Eric Schmidt’s view on engineering biology

At the latest edition of the biotech industry event SynBioBeta this past October, the conference’s founder John Cumbers interviewed Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO who is today primarily active as a science-focused philanthropist. In the conversation with Cumbers, Schmidt shares his view on the ever-growing industry of synthetic biology and explains why it is the right time to invest into this dynamic segment. Since government funds to support basic health-related research have been substantially cut under the current administration while – ironically – the number of people who are getting older has increased as a percentage, Schmidt believes that it is his civic responsibility to become involved, through the Schmidt Family Foundation, by pumping his own money into several areas of biological research. But Schmidt does not only endorse the advancement of synthetic biology out of pure social responsibility. He is rather convinced that many key learnings from digital technology are also applicable to synthetic biology. To put it concisely, Schmidt strongly believes that, in order to make synthetic biology deliver its full potential and to speed up the product development cycle, the industry needs to enter into marriage with machine learning, as prominently promoted by his venture fund Innovation Endeavors. Still referencing the internet’s early success, Schmidt argues that, to significantly grow, synthetic biology must embrace open standards and collaborative benchmarking: “Instead of hoarding results – as is often done in biopharma and biomanufacturing – shared protocols and common date formats allow for faster development of new products […] [and thus for] a quantum jump in acceleration.” We at Cc would have loved to listen live to Schmidt’s visionary words, but were not able to attend this year’s conference since being involved with a project at Hub Week Boston. We thus look also the more forward to visiting SynBioBeta in 2020.
"  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: