The Lead: New Research on the Creative Brain, AI’s Ability to Forge Videos from Photos, Big Data Redefining Industries

New Research on the Creative Brain

Neuroscientists and psychologists have found that creative professionals are better able to tap into the “imagination” circuits of their brain and imagine distant scenarios. This has great implications for how creative-types empathize with others and imagine the very long-term impacts of decisions and policies. Areas for further research include understanding if this trait is a malleable ability that could apply to everyone if they take creative lessons such as painting classes to develop the skill of activating that particular part of their brain.

Our View: So-called soft skills such as interpersonal and communication skills are often under appreciated. Compassion in particular is a leadership skill that packs a lot of power. Compassion is comprised of the actions that promote the well-being of others and empowers them to do their best work, which in turn builds strong business results. Further Reading

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AI’s Ability to Forge Videos from Photos

Concerns about forged videos, detailed in a recently published paper to an online academic pre-print service, are particularly troubling as the 2020 United States presidential election approaches and fake videos of candidates are predicted. According to researchers, fake but realistic-looking videos can be created of anyone just by using a single image of them with a trained artificial intelligence system.

Our View: Leaders have a responsibility to be genuine and protect authenticity. When leaders behave in consistent ways that express their purpose, values, self-discipline, and compassion, they display authentic leadership. Everyone has the responsibility to absorb information with critical thinking to determine its authenticity. Further Reading

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Big Data Redefining Entire Industries

The adoption of big data continues to increase as it becomes cheaper and easier to use. Transportation, retail, entertainment, banking, education, energy, agriculture, government, hospitality, and sports are seeing giant shifts from the application of big data analytics. At a daily level, the internet of things is disrupting how we use energy in our homes, and big data is mitigating fraud while simultaneously optimizing and customizing the customer experience across industries.

Our View: Big data provides valuable, actionable, and scalable insights into trends, but only when it is used correctly. The digital universe is massive in terms of volume, velocity, and variety and is projected to reach 180 zettabytes in 2025. In order for big data to transform society and create a new paradigm in technology, governments, businesses, and educational organizations need to coordinate their efforts. Further Reading

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The Speciality Food Industry’s Growing Success

The specialty food industry is growing at a rate that is outpacing the growth of all food at retail at 10.3 percent versus 3.1 percent. Food merchants are maximizing the wide assortment of specialty foods to reach consumers with diverse lifestyles that are making specialty foods increasingly mainstream. Refrigerated and frozen plant-based meat alternatives, rice cakes, water, and refrigerated RTD tea and coffee are the categorizes with the highest dollar growth.

Our View: When consumers find products and services that are tailored to their particular needs, they become happier, more loyal customers that generate more revenue. Customization doesn’t need to be costly or elaborate, because a little can go a long way. For example, the response rate to a postcard increases by 303% by the simple act of adding a name to it. Further Reading

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Spacesuit of the Future

NASA is developing new spacesuits and working to send astronauts back into deep space. What astronauts wear in space could save their lives, and the new spacesuit prototypes (called the Z-series) also make it easier for astronauts move around when they are wearing them. Amy Ross, head of the Advanced Spacesuit and Technology Lab at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, said “Our prime objectives, which sounds very Star Trek-y, is to make sure that we’re ready with the right tools for spacesuit design to go wherever we might need to go.”

Our View: High-tech product development leaders prioritize customer impact, financial performance, and operational excellence. One of the key differences that separates the leaders from the laggards is that the leaders continually focus on ways to improve. They set short-term and long-term performance targets for reducing costs, improving quality, and speeding up the product cycle times for completing designs, testing, and changes. Further Reading

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