Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but could it be that too many innovative ideas are met with everyday skepticism?
Take blockchain, for example: a system for recording blocks of information that are digitally initialed – like a unique fingerprint – making it difficult or impossible to change, hack or cheat the system.
Despite considerable scepticism, the distributed ledger technology behind blockchain has already powered important steps forward: from enhancing personal identity security and securing medical data to supply chain monitoring and beyond. And what’s further down the road?
Well, there’s a chance blockchain could also fundamentally change the way we consume experiences – including art, fashion, music, and film. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs), in particular, are interchangeable, one-of-a-kind digital assets linked to physical entities. They can be bought and sold like any other piece of property, even if – breaking with traditions stretching back thousands of years – they have no tangible form of their own.
These digital trading cards are already changing hands for significant amounts of money. An animated Gif of Nyan Cat – a 2011 meme of a flying pop-tart cat – sold for over $500,000, while Christie’s sale of an NFT by digital artist Beeple for $69m set a new record for digital art.
So, NFTs are clearly up and coming… But what’s in it for brands? Above all, the rise of NFTs underlines that technology is shifting how we value and appreciate consumer goods. While we all have basic needs that need fulfilling (food, shelter, etc.), humans will always crave (and therefore value) newness and innovation.
The advanced technology that enables new forms of digital ownership also ensures scarcity and uniqueness. These too are strong drivers of emotional connection; people want what others can’t have. If things are scarce or in short order, they are inherently tipping the supply-demand balance in favour of the owner.
As experience creators, brands across industries should pay careful attention to the opportunities surrounding NFTs, as well as the factors that make them so attractive to people around the world. Indeed, as with all emerging technologies, surely there is no better moment than now to explore the possibilities of NFT’s to add value for your audiences.
Need further inspiration? Watch Nike shaking up the sneaker world or the NBA introducing NFT Top Shot tokens… With such exciting brands getting involved in this space, ‘NFTs’ may soon stand for Non Forgettable Trading!
In today’s world, human communication can be increasingly challenging – from digital meet ups to botox-enhanced conversational partners – the further removed we become from each other, the more we realise how vital it is to restore our connections and accurately identify emotion when opportunity allows. While we know that it’s not just our words but also our faces that can tell a story, most of us are not so quick to spot the most revealing facial indicators of all.
Facial expression, micro expression – what’s the difference? We asked psychologist and micro expression expert Job Boersma to explain: “Facial expressions are crucial in conveying our emotions. What can make this problematic is our ability to manipulate the facial muscles and thereby what the other person sees. A micro expression, however, is something beyond our control. Lasting only around a quarter of a second, it happens before we can even think about what our face is doing and reveals one of seven universal emotional states, namely anger, contempt, disgust, enjoyment, fear, sadness, or surprise.”
How can learning to read micro expressions help us make better connections? Micro expressions are so fleeting that we often miss them. And if we do perceive them, it is usually only on a subconscious level. Learning to detect micro expressions is about doing so with awareness. “Because the next step in the process is interpreting their meaning within the context of the situation,” Job tells us. “For example, an expression of fear – characterised by raised eyebrows, tensed lower eyelids and stretched, open lips – shows us that a person wants to avoid something, while a look of contempt most likely has to do with someone feeling superior to us in some way. Understanding what is at the core of the communication is where the chances lie; once you know what you’re dealing with, you are then able to address it and respond accordingly.”
So, how to become a micro expression master? To interpret a micro expression, you first have to know what to look for. The ‘dictionary’ for this is known as the Emotional Facial Action Coding System, which supplies an emotion-specific label for different sets of muscle movement. Recognising these sets requires training, which can be followed online at your own pace. Then you’ll be ready to put learning into practice during most daily interactions.
Want to test your skills right now? Find below stuff to train your emotional intelligence:
Emotion Connection app The Emotion Connection app is designed to help you grow your ability to read other’s emotions and improve your connections with friends, family, and coworkers. The multi-platform app makes emotional connection accessible: practice while waiting for a meeting, on the treadmill, or during your lunch break. Opportunities to develop your emotional intelligence start here!
The Facial Expressions of Emotion The Facial Expressions of Emotion – Stimuli and Tests (FEEST) is a 2002 computer test that measures the recognition of emotional facial expressions. One of the studies by Paul Ekman. Ekman (Washington D.C., February 15, 1934) is a psychologist and pioneer in research on emotions and facial expressions. Discover at an image taken from the study the slighty differences in the expression related emotions.
Surprise: raised eyebrows, eyes wide open, loose jaws, open mouth.
Dit is NL test –Collaborations seem an indicator of success in brand-land. But to claim the fame of an X sandwiched between your brand names takes more than simply working together. Here’s how the X-pro’s created real buzz.
uber x spotify—easy joy The collaboration that felt like it existed before it did – that’s how much sense it made. This collaboration highlighted how perfectly each brand understood their customer and simultaneously met their brand’s specific needs. Uber wanted to offer travellers a highly involved in-car experience, and Spotify looked for new ways —or better said; ‘moments’— to be enjoyed by their users. The kind of collaboration that just makes your brand that much more enjoyable, and twice as much a personalised experience. A stroller with a built-in phone holder and charging dock? A coffee bar with a postal service? We’re here to brainstorm!
gucci x balenciaga—glory takes guts The keep-your-friends-close-butyour-enemies-closer collaboration between Gucci and Balenciaga set the fashion world ablaze. During their runway show Aria, Gucci hacked Balenciaga by stealing their iconic staples, from typical silhouettes to eventually slapping both brand names all over a garment. Later Balenciaga hacked back by stealing the classic Gucci bag and replacing the signature GG monogram with reprinted BB’s as part of the accessories line titled ‘This Is Not A Gucci Bag’. This blurring of the lines between real and fake, stealing and inspiration, allowed both brands to strengthen their narrative as they told it together. It takes guts, but if done well, the glory is boundless.
kith x lucky charms—hyped nostalgia General Mills blasted out of a cereal rut by collaborating with Kith Treats, a Gen-Z favourite, for their holiday season campaign: Lucky Kithmas. Genius: mixing 90’s nostalgia with Kith’s pure hype. Kith is a streetwear label and store, selling the hottest kicks, clothing and, oh yea, snacks in their in-store Kith Treats bars. This X-mas collaboration brought a collection of unisex apparel and accessories adorned with the famous cereal brand’s mark through the Kith lens. Naturally, all Kith Treats fl agships turned into Lucky Kithmas bars, featuring ice-cream treats decorated with cereal of the Lucky Charms family. The cereal box plus the leprechaun mascot on it were dressed in custom, limited edition Kith design. Looking to draw some serious attention next Christmas? We suggest you follow this playbook and mix hype and nostalgia in a flurry of that Gen-Z celebration.
This is a pre-release item from the new TCHI Magazine: Number Five. Do you want to pre-request this new issue which is coming out soon? E-mail us your request, your name, address and postal code to: firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a brand new hardcopy of TCHI #5.
What does the future look like for brick-andmortar stores? Ask three ambitious entrepreneurs from Amsterdam and they’ll tell you it probably looks a lot like Productpine, a new retail concept that’s tapping into the way we shop, 21st century style.
To many people, a start-up aiming to sell products to the public through physical retail locations could sound like a foolishly outdated idea at a time when e-commerce is booming. But for Camiel van Dooren, Dimitar Maslarov and Vincent Hulshoff, the three young founders behind Productpine, it is today’s consumer who is shaping their vision for a new kind of shopping experience.
A shift in perspective often breathes new life into traditional concepts. At Productpine it is the shift from viewing the retail store as a distribution channel to re-imagining it as an experience platform. Instead of competing with online retailers by asking shoppers to simply come in and buy products from their store, the starting-point is an invitation to get hands-on with some of the most innovative consumer goods around. Most of which you probably didn’t even know existed. That is, until you discover them in a Productpine store near you.
At its core, Productpine is about connecting the right audience – let’s call them the early adopters – with new tech-enhanced products from around the world. If you’re the type of person who can easily spend hours browsing Kickstarter or perhaps you’re just intrigued by gadgetry in general, then Productpine feels like the place where it all comes together. Because, let’s face it, no matter how many product descriptions we read or the number of slickly edited promo videos we watch, such product interactions remain distant and impersonal. Above all – and this is especially the case for innovative products – nothing beats getting to touch and try before deciding to buy. And here is where Productpine really comes into its own, by offering an immersive shopping experience online-only platforms cannot match. Turning everything on its head in this way means that the idea for a retail store translates into what you could call a 21st century playground of innovation. With the added bonus of being able to take home whatever takes your fancy at the end of your visit.
How does this approach play out on a shopping trip? Well, perhaps a friend told you they sell ﬁtness trackers here. But most likely you’re strolling through your city’s shopping district and it’s curiosity that gets you through the door. After all, it does say: discover your next favourite thing on the storefront. Inside, there’s a laidback vibe; it doesn’t really feel like a shop at all. Each innovation is presented out of its box and ready to use, without any additional brand promotion or distractions. Pick up and play is what it’s all about with friendly ‘experience specialists’ on hand to encourage interaction and help you engage with the story behind the products. Hey, is that a selﬁe drone? Time to take a closer look. Or how about putting that ﬁtness tracker through its paces? There’s a space for that too, just jog on through to the try-out area.
“Nothing beats getting to touch and try before deciding to buy.”
Stepping away from the products for a minute to regard the store’s overall design, shoppers will notice that the interior space is refreshingly lowtech. Where you may expect to ﬁnd an abundance of futuristic high-gloss ﬁxtures and ﬁttings, the Productpine store very much embraces the use of traditional materials, such as wood, stone, tile and glass. Such familiar material choices – reminiscent of our own homes – are by no means coincidental; they help us to imagine how the innovations on off er might become part of our daily lives. Creating this link to lifestyle is also the idea behind the store’s meeting space, an area dedicated to community building by bringing tech enthusiasts together in a living-room like setting. Furthermore, Productpine’s ambition to open stores in more major European hubs presents another design opportunity: the chance to connect with the city and its story. For the ﬂagship store in Amsterdam that design story touches on the seventeenth-century Golden Age, a period when the city ﬂourished through trade, art and science.
“While shoppers go about testing goods on the shop ﬂoor, there’s more going on than meets the eye.”
So will this kind of experience-driven shopping bring new purpose to the high street? Only time will tell. But for now, we do know one thing for sure: Productpine is right up there at the forefront, challenging established ideas on what a brick-andmortar retail space can be.
The Productpine flagship store is located at Rokin 58 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
In a magazine that is all about connecting, let’s not forget the most basic meaning of the word: getting from A to B.
As fascinating as the development of autonomous cars and passenger drones may be, innovation stretches far beyond mobility technology. In this story we examine the future of personal transport and logistics from four totally different panoramas. Hop on and travel with us to the far corners of your brain…
Panorama 1: The self-driving car ethicist The car is set to undergo a massive transformation in the coming years, as automation gradually eliminates the need for drivers. Among many challenges, self-driving car design also raises fascinating moral dilemmas. When a driver slams on the brakes to avoid hitting a pedestrian crossing the road illegally, he or she is making a moral decision that shifts risk from the pedestrian to the people in the car. Self-driving cars might soon have to make such ethical judgments on their own. This requires programming autonomous vehicles with a moral code. A daunting task, as programmers will have to decide how a car will react in many different situations. Choosing the life of a human over an animal is relatively easy, but how about deciding between saving the life of a successful business man and a homeless person? Or an incurably ill child and a seventy year old? What complicates things tremendously is the fact that there is no universal moral code. A global survey shows that many of the moral principles that guide a driver’s decisions vary by country. The survey laid out 13 scenarios in which someone’s death was inevitable. Respondents were asked to choose who to spare in situations that involved a mix of variables: young or old, rich or poor, more people or fewer. In countries with different cultural, economical and social backgrounds different choices were made. For example, in a scenario in which some combination of pedestrians and passengers will die in a collision, people from relatively prosperous countries with strong institutions were less likely to spare a pedestrian who stepped into traffic illegally. Will we see a future in which autonomous cars in different countries will make different moral decisions? Barbara Wege, who heads a group focused on autonomous-vehicle ethics at Audi in Ingolstadt, Germany, argues that self-driving cars would cause fewer accidents, proportionally, than human drivers do each year – but that events involving robots might receive more attention. “We need to come up with a social consensus,” she says, “about which risks we are willing to take.” We advise extending development teams with philosophers and social scientists who are able to transcend cultural backgrounds in order to reach a global viewpoint on the morality and ethics of self-driving cars.
Panorama 2: The car owner (RIP) While the first panorama made us gasp for air, this one is pretty straight forward. The car owner seems to be hitting a dead-end street. Soon. Some researchers predict private car ownership in the US will drop by as much as 80% by 2030. To us it seems a lot of people might be resistant to the idea of giving up their own car and the sense of freedom and independence that comes with it. But evidence suggests that people seem ready to accept the loss of car ownership, provided alternative transport goes fast and far enough. A shift away from privately owned vehicles towards a service – owned and run by public or private ventures – is a smart and efficient solution that’s going to revolutionize the way traffic fl ows through cities. It’s likely that autonomous cars will operate as part of a networked system. This will enable them to avoid congestion, thus reducing pollution and minimizing the time people spend on the road. Congestion is often caused by too many drivers all trying to take the most direct or convenient route at the same time. Only drivers who take the route early will benefit, while the rest will get caught in traffic. Working as a system, driverless cars will be able to distribute themselves across a range of routes to prevent traffic jams and move through the city more efficiently. In such a system and with the sharing economy on the rise it is also very likely more people will be sharing cars than they do today. This will lead to a lot more human connection; meeting new people on your way to the same part of town or a mutual event. Initiatives like UberPool (sharing an Uber with someone going in the same direction) are already running. If self-driving cars ultimately mean we will be traveling together more, to us that seems like a great side-effect.
Panorama 3: 450 kW Mad Max Remember Mad Max? The dystopian action thriller is set in a world where oil is extremely scarce. In total anarchy Max has to fight for every drop of petrol. With the way things are moving forward, fossil fuel might not be the energy source we should be concerned about. In a future where everything is driven by electricity, will there be enough to make the world go round? And maybe even more critical: will there be enough batteries to store all that energy? What solutions could we as a society come up with to distribute and allocate electricity once it is no longer abundantly available? Do we assign it to government and emergency services fi rst and leave it to the market to distribute the rest? So, the wealthy will always be able to travel and the general public will have to save up? Or do we implement a social credit system in which we score points for good behavior and get rewarded with electricity? In case you are considering this merely a philosophical thought experiment – it is not. In 2020 a social credit system goes into effect across China, where every citizen is scored based on their behavior. Good actions, like volunteering, and bad, like littering, are tracked using algorithms, artificial intelligence and facial recognition — and there are real consequences for a high or low score. In total, over 200 million surveillance cameras are being installed. A large scale pilot has already run (participation was obviously mandatory). As many as 9 million pilot participants with low social scores were already ‘punished’ with travel restrictions. Until their score improved, they were not able to book internal flights or train tickets. It is not hard to imagine this kind of system being used when the world’s electricity supply is lacking.
Luckily between a Big Brother like totalitarian system and the anarchy of the Mad Max movie there is a lot of room for the positive and sustainable future we see before us. These two extremes just go to show the impact mobility can have on our society and it will certainly effect the way we design our future cities.
In a magazine that is all about connecting, let’s not forget the most basic meaning of the word: getting from A to B
Panorama 4: The urban designer If car ownership drops as significantly as predicted, the number of passenger vehicles on American roads alone will go from 247 million in 2020 to 44 million in 2030. Think of all the free space that will become available! Not just on roads and lanes; on average every car is parked more than 90% of the time. Some cities are already preparing for this future. San Francisco, for example, has turned a number of parking spaces into “parklets,” small grassy public spaces that include benches, plants, and (sometimes) artwork. The shift in the use of urban space will be much more fundamental than that. It is predicted that by 2050 about 86% of the developed world will be urbanized. At Tchai, we think instead of cramming people closer and closer together, the challenge is new development at reasonable densities, protecting open spaces, respecting the need for privacy and supporting community cohesion. All the city dwellers switching to autonomous, electric ride-shares could prove a real blessing. It opens up vast tracts of land for new uses, like wider pavements and more housing, parks and zones where cars are banned. When we think of the possibilities for retailers, our inspiration goes through the roof. With an advanced backbone of online shopping, sharing rides, pick-up points and autonomous delivery we can use urban retail space to make genuine connections and create profound brand experiences. Not just being commercially present, but adding value to inner-city life with urban farming, co-creation and services that build communities and add to well-being. Fast forward to this future, please! We believe human beings moving across the planet will keep changing the dynamics of the planet itself.
And we will most certainly find new creative ways to do so. As Einstein said: “Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.”
YES! We can proudly say: Hello, number Four! So nice that you are finally here for us all to read and discover…
You might be connected with us on social media, and maybe latching onto the fact that we were very busy with publishing our fourth TCHI magazine – (in that case, thanks for keeping up with us!) You also might be expecting the fresh and colour popping cover we have published our first three magazines in.
Now we have chosen to tone it down and to go all black. Don’t mistake this TCHI Mag. for being a sombre or dark edition. In fact… we are always seeking ways to blow minds and senses! You’ll already see from the first page inside, the vivid colour explosions. Besides a real treat for the eyes number four is also brain candy, because it goes a lot deeper into interpersonal connections, consumer-brand relationships, engaging retail experiences and the link between our earthly roots and (digital) future and more edgy themes. So feel free to connect with the crispy articles inside, with how we see the world and the inspiration that calibrates our minds.
Hello, Number Four! It has been two years since the release of our last magazine, number three. We never set out to make an annual release, we simply want to share things that interest and inspire us. Now feels just right to launch a new edition. Over the last period we have been really busy with in-credible projects for clients, while at the same time focusing on further clarifying and strengthening Tchai’s vision and purpose.
We believe in creating more genuine connections between people and brands. Finding our ‘why’ is one thing, implementing it into our operations is another. To define what it means for each and every one of us in our daily work, that’s the process we are in right now. Instead of merely focusing on sales targets, we believe in balancing corporate performance with personal development and personal growth. Once you truly connect to yourself, you clear the way to a much deeper engagement with others. Whether it is colleagues, clients or anyone else.
Once people start to grow everything else will follow, that is my deepest conviction. I see it around me every day. By focusing on the human perspective, we have been doing great things business-wise, connecting well-being with operational excellence.
Until now we have built up every magazine around a central theme. It did not take us long to come up with a main topic for number four: connection. Connection in the widest sense is what drives us.
Bringing people and brands together in the most physical way possible, addressing all senses in real-life brand experiences. Helping brands to really relate to their core values, their roots and distinctive identity. Bonding people with people, linking the right professionals to create the best team for every project.
And for each of us individually: finding a way to connect to ourselves. I believe I have done just that. Exploring, recognizing and accepting who I am. Not just acknowledging my weaknesses and embracing my strengths but learning to understand and embody all the different sides of myself and balancing them out. Running Tchai in a way that brings out the best in everybody.
All this focus on connecting the dots, personally and professionally, has certainly led to the most amazing magazine we have made so far! We have gathered so many great stories and visuals, all bound by the central theme of connection. Not all articles are cheerful, but there is a lot of food for thought for you to chew on. Like the report on the rise of artifi cial intelligence and how human flaws might well be our rescue (page 55). For a more uplifting feature, simply read the article about The World Piece (page 31) and say goodbye to the cynic in you. Here are 61 alluring and diverse human beings being connected by one single tattoo!
And that is just two of our stories, I love them all. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have and I hope to connect to you soon in real-life.
Do you prefer to discover TCHI Magazine Number Four digitally or do you love to hold the magazine in your hands and smell the fresh paper?
These are boundary breaking times for us. Behind the scenes we’ve been working really hard on a fundamental transformation of our company and the way we present ourselves. We are good at displaying brands, but when it came to our own brand things got really interesting. We’ve chosen to take a thoughtful and reflective path to get to the very centre of who we are. This inward journey started when my brother Edward and I took over the company a year ago. We are now a third generation family business and asked ourselves: what do we want out of our company? How can we transform Tchai in such a way that it reflects what we believe in? Our vision, our ‘why’, our path.
The chi was there all along We traced the stories of our great-grandfather who traveled all the way from China to Rotterdam. We were genuinely fascinated by our Chinese roots and the powerful philosophical heritage in which ‘Chi’ is the most fundamental concept. Chi is the universal life force that flows through everything. In the client interviews we did to get a grasp of what defines Tchai as a company, this is the exact theme that kept coming back: the energy we put into every project we’re involved in. The relentless drive, the commitment, the inspiration – all of a sudden we could relate it all to that one essential source of energy: Chi.
Embracing our true version This triggered us to give it our own creative interpretation and thus ‘Tchi’ was born. A combination of Trade and Chi, Tchi is the central concept that drives our business. At Tchai, all of our energy, all of our life force, all of our Tchi is about discovering and displaying yours. When we say ‘we make it happen’, we mean your Tchi. We want to release your Tchi and let you experience the power of Tchi.
Sharing with you Going in-depth into the wonders of China, both ancient and modern, we found so many hidden gems. From anecdotes to artists, each discovery fuelling our fascination and also confirming our ties with this rich and vibrant culture. Just as our company has made a huge transformation, so has our magazine evolved. We see it as an external manifestation of all the changes that we’ve made inside our company over the last year. In this re-born magazine, we share some of our most inspiring finds with you. The central theme is the unique treasures of China that give us energy; we are excited to hear if they will charge you up as well.
Growing roots On a personal note I can say that I’ve done some soul-searching as well and discovered that my principal Chi element is earth. This refers to strongly rooted traits like stability and reliability. I think that is exactly what Tchai needs in its transitional phase and I feel really blessed to be in the position I’m in.
As a launch date we have chosen February 16th, which isn’t a random date of course – it’s Chinese new year. So here’s a toast to the re-birth ofTchai Tchi, the heritage we carry with us and all the energy that will flow between us in the years to come!
Do you prefer to discover TCHI Magazine Number Three digitally or do you love to hold the magazine in your hands and smell the fresh paper?
So here it is, #2. Thank you for all the kind words, mails and messages about our first issue. We were somewhat surprised that an old-school paper magazine packed with the things we love could receive such applause. It made us very determined to make this second release even more inspiring.
Finding a main theme wasn’t hard. After the urban focus of #1 we feel it’s nature’s turn to take the spotlight. We went all out to make this magazine ‘green’ in the broadest sense of the word. The cover, for instance, might not be green in colour, but it’s printed with organic ink made from beetroot. Obviously everything else is also printed with biological ink, but we’ve used other really cool natural materials as well. Some of the paper is made from superfluous water plants by students from the Design Academy in Eindhoven.
It’s really amazing how many inspiring green initiatives there are out there. Please take the time to read about some of them in this magazine. Start with the article ‘50 Shades of Green’ as it introduces all others.
When it comes to doing business with a green state of mind, many companies are still a bit intimidated by the heaviness of sustainability and everything that’s associated with it. We say: everything you do matters, no matter how small.
At Tchai there is a lot more we can do to reduce our impact on the environment but that doesn’t stop us from already separating our waste and following an ambitious five-year plan to become substantially more sustainable.
Every journey starts with the first step and right now that step might just be reading this magazine and feeling encouraged to become a little more green. Today, tomorrow, whenever is right for you. The planet will love you for it.
You can read and discover TCHI Magazine Number Two digitally. Just proceed… and hit the button:
A magazine from Tchai, that’s a nice surprise! Well, we certainly hope so. We felt like sharing some of the things that have inspired us for so long. One thing led to another and we ended up making this 116 page magazine. Actually, we’ve already got plans to make another one, but first let’s see if you like this first release.
Your first thought may be: why not make a really flashy digital magazine I can read on my smart phone? The answer is simple: at Tchai we are all about instore experiences; mainly physical stuff you can actually touch. We wanted to create a magazine that has some of that tactical feel to it, using different sorts of paper. Inside you will find a lot of visuals alongside some in-depth articles about things we find really interesting in the world of retail today.
If there is a theme to this first issue it is Rotterdam, the city that we absolutely love. There are so many great things happening there right now and we are not just talking about the Markthal, the new Central Station or the giant stairway commemorating 75 years of post-war reconstruction. This whole year Rotterdam will be celebrating its rise from the ashes.
We share the same roll-up-your-sleeve mentality as Rotterdam and have recently discovered that the city’s new tagline is ‘Make it happen’. That’s right, the same theme we have been using for some time now. But hey, we are happy to share it with our beloved city.
You can read and discover TCHI Magazine Number One digitally. Just proceed… and hit the button: