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Human Fooseball, Walmart’s Virtual Summer Camp and a Smart Mask That Translates Languages | Non-Obvious Insights #225

This week has been short on sleep but I’m definitely coming off a high after our amazing Virtual Summit on Book Marketing yesterday. If you’re one of the more than 800 people who registered there and are getting this weekly email for the first time – welcome! I’ll be sharing the most fascinating stories of the week here, as I do every week.

Before I do that, here’s a link for all of you and my regular readers as well to the FULL playlist of talks from our summit yesterday:

Watch the Virtual Summit Playlist >>

As for the stories this week, we’ll be looking at how some Argentines are getting their soccer fix during a pandemic, how design firms are reinventing travel experiences, the role of legacy in higher education and a Japanese smart mask that’s also a universal translator. If you want to discuss these stories with me – tune in today at noon EST for another edition of my weekly Non-Obvious Insights Show as well:

Watch this week’s LIVE Insights Show >

Argentines Play “Human Fooseball” Amidst the Global Pandemic

Like the child’s game of Four Square, this reinvented version of soccer (creatively described as “human fooseball” in the article) is the perfect pastime for Argentines desperate to get back to the sport they love. The rules are simple … no tackling and you have to stay inside your box or else you get a penalty. This is absolutely better than nothing – and a beautiful example of people finding a way to keep themselves sane in a time when that feels harder and harder to accomplish.

Study on Harvard Finds 43% of Students Are Legacy, Athletes or Related to Donors

On the surface, this story about 43% of students at Harvard relying on some sort of privilege to get in seems like it should make us angry. It’s another example of the class divide that separates rich from poor! Yet, it also happens to be the perfect example of a type of story that I have been covering in a feature from my weekly insights show on YouTube that I call the “Non-Obvious Double Take – Stories That Should Make You Think Twice.”

In this case, what I wonder is what about the other 57%. Are they coming from underprivileged homes? Are they more ethnically diverse? Or not? The problem is, when you read only the headline of a story like this – it’s easy to just feel outrage. To have more context, you need to read further … and even more importantly, you need to read the same story from another perspective.

Walmart Debuts Drive-In Movies and Virtual Summer Camps Via Its App 

We are a few weeks into the summer and the question of what to do with the kids has already gotten urgent. Continuing their smart ways to repurpose their vast parking lot spaces across the US, Walmart announced this week that their app has new virtual summer campaign activities and they will be rolling out drive-in movies in their parking lots throughout the summer (including, of course, curbside delivery of your favorite snacks ordered from inside Walmart). This seems pretty smart.

Can Tourism Be Made Pandemic Proof? 

When I think about breaking our stay-at-home lifestyle and taking a vacation, the thing I worry about most isn’t the destination … it’s the dangers and inconveniences of getting there. Going to an open space, having our own socially isolated cabin, and being outside of America all seem like inherently low risk activities. But getting there is a problem. So reading this article about how designers and architects are reimagining the design of the things that take us from one place to another gave me hope. If we can change airplane seating or bus and subway configurations, perhaps people can have more confidence to be able to us them again.

This Japanese Smart Mask Can Act Like a Universal Translator. 

As mask wearing continues to be adopted by the educated, it is predictable that people will find ways to make it more comfortable and better overall. In past week’s I’ve shared stories about how designers are trying to make it more fashion friendly – but now the technologists have gotten hold of it. This Japanese prototype doubles as a smart translator to help the wearer speak other languages. As we see the recommendations for mask wearing to continue, it’s likely we’ll hear about more experiments like these that push the boundaries of the mask.

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#1 WSJ & USA Today Bestselling Author

Rohit is the author of 10 books on trends, the future of business, building a more human brand with storytelling and how to create a more diverse and inclusive world.


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