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Business Unusual

Business Unusual

The best disruptors are focused on customers, not products; they use technology rather than fear it; they create new opportunities often where regulations don't exist and they are backed by those with deep pockets and an appetite for risk.

Colin Cullis presents stories of Business Unusual - those people and companies driving the next industrial revolution.

Business Unusual

16 December 2020 7:22 PM

Guest: Toby Shapshak | Publisher at Stuff magazine

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What 2021 may hold, a look at the trends that will same the new normal

9 December 2020 7:25 PM

A look at some of the shift predicted by TrendWatching that may take hold as a result of the impact of Covid-19 and the growing impact of climate change. 

Image credit: "Day 234 let me look into my crystal ball" by terri_bateman is marked with CC0 1.0

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The Businesses that boomed in 2020

2 December 2020 7:26 PM

One of the worst years this century did not stop some industries from their best year yet.

2020 was supposed to be the year that offered the best view of the future, a 2020 view. Turns out it was not such a good view.

Despite it being one of the worst years of the century some businesses will end the year with it being one of their best.

Like most disruption, it never affects everyone the same way, changes harm some and benefits others. 

The global changes that will flow from the pandemic will see some industries struggle to recover while others will never look back, this is a short list of some that were the ones that beat the pandemic by being ready to grow when the market changed.

image credit: fotoquique/

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The cows are coming to save us

25 November 2020 7:35 PM

The headline relates to vaccine origins, this is about how close we are to a Covid-19 vaccine.

The word vaccine comes from the Latin word for cow. Edward Jenner created the first vaccine using the less harmful pox virus that infected cows to infect humans and so allow them to become immune to an infection from the more serious and often deadly human version of smallpox. 

He did this in a way that would horrify us today. By first infecting a young boy with cowpox he waited for him to develop the infection and then once recovered infected him with smallpox. Thankfully the boy resisted the infection. He did it to 22 more people before publishing the results of his vaccinations. That was in 1798, it would take until 1977 and a significant global effort before the World Health Organisation (WHO) could declare in 1980 that smallpox had been eradicated. 

Read the article

image credit: Kateryna Kon

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Got milk? Non dairy milk?

18 November 2020 7:26 PM

500 million metric tons are produced a year, but environmental considerations are making alternatives look more attractive.

The question is will we switch?

image credit: Tookapic

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Business Unusual - "Smart Devices"

11 November 2020 7:30 PM

Guest: Cliff de Wit | CTO and Co-Founder at Dexterity Digital

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Ant Group, the largest bank that is not a bank

4 November 2020 7:23 PM

In what was expected to be a $30 billion plus IPO, The listing was postponed following a meeting with the company and Chinese authorities. 

This is the brief history of how we got here and what the future may hold for the payment giant.

image credit: Ant Group

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The two men that have correctly predicted most US elections

28 October 2020 7:24 PM

Will Donald Trump win again, the two men that correctly predicted it in 2016 weigh in on 2020

Allan Lichtman and Helmut Norpoth have devised two very different models that have been very accurate so far. This year though their models do not predict the same outcome. 

One of their models will prove to be the one to predict even the most unpredictable election, a race between two of the oldest candidates in a country ravaged by a pandemic and from parties that are now polar opposites. 

Being able to predict something as complex as this will see many wanting to try apply the principles to make better political, business, investment and even personal choices about many other complex subjects. 

Here is what their models predict and how they get there.

Image credit:

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Regenerative agriculture - an idea 12 000 years in the making

21 October 2020 7:25 PM

If you had to think about what is needed on a modern farm, you would think ploughs, fertilizer, pesticides, irrigation and the best developed seeds.

The advent of industrial farming has seen the items above become central to a successful farm looking to maximise yield. 

If you can pay for all the input costs you can get the rewards come harvest time. That is assuming the prices are good and the weather gods were favourable. 

Despite decades refining the process of extraction, we have reached the point where farmers are constantly at risk of not earning enough to pay the bills for all the input costs.

Image credit:

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South Africa needs batteries, here are some we might use

14 October 2020 7:25 PM

Over 1000 MW of renewable energy will be added to the grid in the next year, we need a way to store it. 

One major drawback that is often made about renewables is that they don’t work when the sun does not shine or there is no wind. That is true but a greater drawback is that often when they do work, we have enough power but not enough during the peaks. 

An age old issue has been how to store enough energy efficiently so we can use everything we generate. 

Right now power stations produce too much energy during the middle of the night only to be short during the morning and afternoon peak. It is unlikely we can get everyone to use electricity in a way that there is no peak, so we need another solution - storage.

Image credit: Pixabay

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