Insights · May 30th, 2022

In this occasional newsletter Nikolas Badminton curates a list of insights and learnings for progressive executives, world leaders and foresight practitioners – CEO Futures Briefing: Imaginology and Critical Discussions on The Metaverse

This week we look at imaginology, the future of foods, new ways to store solar energy, algae that enhances food crops, Saudi’s reclamation of the desert for growing food, airline futures and more.

Also featured is an insightful panel on the ‘The Metaverse: The Emperor’s New Clothes?’ This is a rare discussion in the face of the hyperbole of so many caught in the excitement and promise of something that will take years to arrive in any meaningful way.

To receive this, and other important insights into the future, then please sign up to Nikolas’ newsletter here.

If you have questions about these things we’re sharing, or a challenge with seeing the futures for you and your organization? Reach out to speak with Nikolas today to arrange a time to talk.

Five articles to read


After years of working on the problem, and countless conversations, it seems to me that what is required is a third path: to enter the chasm itself, or descend deeper into a submerged mythopoetic cognition, and develop an entirely new way of understanding learning that embraces the true engine of the mind – imagination.

It is time to initiate Imagination Studies at every level of education, primary school through university. Studying the imagination – its creations, its processes (creativity), and its underlying cognitive structures – is the most exciting and accurate way to heal the terminal divide between the sciences and the humanities. But, more importantly, Imagination Studies, or imaginology, also promises to reunite the body and the mind, reintegrate emotion and reason, and tesselate facts and values.

Read more at Aeon

Future Foods: What Will People Eat in 2050?

What does your grocery cart typically look like? Maybe you load it up with avocados, nutritious quinoa and bananas each week. Perhaps coffee always makes its way onto your grocery list, as does a bottle of wine for the weekend. Unfortunately, with current unsustainable methods of farming and worsening climate change, many of the staples we rely on today will be even more expensive and less accessible by 2050 than they already are.

“Transformation to healthy diets by 2050 will require substantial dietary shifts,” said Dr. Walter Willett of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the Summary Report of the EAT-Lancet Commission. “Global consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes will have to double, and consumption of foods such as red meat and sugar will have to be reduced by more than 50%. A diet rich in plant-based foods and with fewer animal source foods confers both improved health and environmental benefits.”

Read more at Ecowatch

Solarpunk Wants to Change the World — What Is It?

In this article, we will explore what exactly Solarpunk is, how it came to be, its evolution from a fringe science fiction genre to a social, revolutionary movement, and its connections and differences to other political groups. In future articles, I will then go into much greater detail regarding the economic, political, and social aspects of Solarpunk.

One thing is certain: we need Solarpunk; we need more hope in this cold, harsh world. To achieve this, we must spread the word. So let’s talk and debate Solarpunk. Share the message, join the movement, tell your friends and family. This is happening.

Read more at Medium

Solar energy can now be stored for up to 18 years, say scientists

In 2017, scientists at a Swedish university created an energy system that makes it possible to capture and store solar energy for up to 18 years, releasing it as heat when needed.

Now the researchers have succeeded in getting the system to produce electricity by connecting it to a thermoelectric generator. Though still in its early stages, the concept developed at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenberg could pave the way for self-charging electronics that use stored solar energy on demand.

“This is a radically new way of generating electricity from solar energy. It means that we can use solar energy to produce electricity regardless of weather, time of day, season, or geographical location,” explains research leader Kasper Moth-Poulsen, Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers.

Read more at Euronews

How Fast-Growing Algae Could Enhance Growth of Food Crops

A new study from a research team including Northwestern Engineering’s Niall Mangan provides a framework to boost crop growth by incorporating a strategy adopted from a fast-growing species of green algae.  

The algae, known as Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, contain an organelle called the pyrenoid that speeds up the conversion of carbon, which the algae absorb from the air, into a form that the organisms can use for growth. In a study published May 19 in the journal Nature Plants, researchers at Princeton University and the McCormick School of Engineering used molecular modeling to identify the features of the pyrenoid that are most critical for enhancing carbon fixation, and then mapped how this functionality could be engineered into crop plants.

Read more at Northweston University

Three videos to watch

Airline and Travel Futures – with Nikolas Badminton, Chief Futurist

Nikolas Badminton talks about futures design and signals of change relating to climate change, energy, travel, information growth, holistic customer experiences, innovation mindsets, and what it takes to establish futures thinking.

How Saudi Arabia Is Turning Their Desert Into Green Forest 

This is Saudi Arabia measuring a massive 2 million square km, making it the 14th largest country by landmass! However, 95 percent of the kingdom is a hot dry desert where you find lots and lots of sand! It is also one of the few countries where you find not a single permanent river! You are also looking at a country where the average annual rainfall is below 150 mm all year round! However, if you zoom in on the country, you will see something totally unexpected; arable land! Saudi Arabia is dotted by a network of farmlands where agriculture thrives, letting farmers harvest many kinds of fruits, an abnormality in the hot desert! You will also immediately notice that most of the farmlands are in circles! The nation has 35,000 square kilometers of arable land, which is larger than the Netherlands and larger than three times the size of Qatar!

However, in the early sixties, Saudi Arabia only had 400 square kilometers of arable land! How did the oil-rich kingdom multiply its arable land in so short a period? Join us in this video as we dive into the ingenious methods Saudi Arabia has used to turn its desert into a farmland oasis.

The Future of Work with Expert Dr. Paul J. Bailo 

In this episode, we speak with Professor Paul J. Bailo, on the future of work.  Dr. Bailo teaches executives and students in many highly respected universities and shares what he is hearing and learning as he crosses back and forth between teaching, entrepreneurship, and leadership.

A conversation that counts

We’re going to mix things up for this newsletter by sharing a video of a discussion that Nikolas Badminton produced for the VIPPS conference. ‘The Metaverse: The Emperor’s New Clothes?’ is a rare discussion in the face of the hyperbole of the metaverse. It delves into the practical aspects and considerations of making it a reality. 

Three seasoned experts in the technologies that provide the foundations of the Metaverse come together to discuss the promise of  a super-platform weaving social media, online gaming, utilitarian data provision, and ease-of-life apps, all accessible through the same digital and physical space and bound together with economic and content mechanisms. 

James Hursthouse, CEO & Founder, Departure Lounge; Kharis O’Connell, Principal, Amazon; and Heather Vescent, President/Futurist, The Purple Tornado discuss the technological foundations and considerations from a privacy, security and business model perspective. A new egalitarian world, more more fragmented platforms where our participation and biometrics are monetized?

We’ll be back sharing more ​​Exponential Minds Podcast episodes next time.

The last word…

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

About Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas Badminton is the Chief Futurist at and a world-renowned futurist speaker, consultant, researcher, and media producer. He helps trillion-dollar companies, progressive governments and the media shift their mindset from “what is” to “WHAT IF…” The result is empowered employees, new innovative products and incredible growth that leads to more revenues and a more resilient future.

Nikolas advised Robert Downey Jr.’s team for the ‘Age of A.I.’ documentary series, starred in ‘SMART DRUGS – a Futurist’s journey into biohacking’, and features on CTV, Global News, Sirius XM regularly. His mind-expanding research and opinion can be found on BBC, VICE, The Atlantic, Fast Company, Techcrunch, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Forbes, Sputnik and Venturebeat. 

Nikolas provides the opening chapter – ‘Start with Dystopia’ in a new book – ‘The Future Starts Now: Expert Insights into the Future of Business, Technology and Society’ on Bloomsbury. His new book ‘Facing Our Futures’ is due out in 2022 on Bloomsbury and equips executives and world leaders with insights and foresight tools to imagine disruption, strengthen strategic planning, and see unforeseen risks.Nikolas is a Fellow of The Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce – The RSA. The organization has been at the forefront of significant social impact for over 260 years with notable past fellows including Charles Dickens, Benjamin Franklin, Stephen Hawking, Nelson Mandela, and Tim Berners-Lee.

CEO Futures Briefing
Nikolas Badminton – Chief Futurist

Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas is the Chief Futurist of the Futurist Think Tank. He is world-renowned futurist speaker, a Fellow of The RSA, and has worked with over 300 of the world’s most impactful companies to establish strategic foresight capabilities, identify trends shaping our world, help anticipate unforeseen risks, and design equitable futures for all. In his new book – ‘Facing Our Futures’ – he challenges short-term thinking and provides executives and organizations with the foundations for futures design and the tools to ignite curiosity, create a framework for futures exploration, and shift their mindset from what is to WHAT IF…

Contact Nikolas