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Thursday, September 29, 2022

Giant Leap’s Small Steps: The Power of Cards, Games and Sci-Fi in Adapting to a Changing World

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Welcome to Giant Leap’s Small Steps, a newsletter with global insights and news about the impact startup landscape.

Every two weeks we share an edited version with the readers of Startup Daily.

Big step is Australia’s first impact venture fund, and they use this newsletter to bring forward the ideas and companies that intrigue and inspire them and broaden their own thinking about impact business.

Here’s what they have to say this week:

Knowledge is progress.

People don’t act on what they don’t know. For climate action, closing the knowledge gap is the driving mission behind Probable future (deep dive podcast here† They produce interactive maps of generally accepted climate models that are understandable and relevant for everyone.

For example, they report that if the atmosphere gets 3 degrees warmer (so we don’t take climate action), the probability of annual extreme drought around Melbourne increases from less than 10% to more than 90%. That’s some heat underfoot to get you moving.

Pray or play? Game designer Jane McGonigal argues that games are part of the answer, arguing that they create”Super-Powerful Hopeful Individuals” master skills of urgency, optimism, creativity and collaboration.

Using this, Jane has created social network simulations that allow people to play out their reactions to things like climate events and future pandemics. Hundreds of insights and ideas for the best way to tackle our most pressing problems† In her words, games can “be a solution to find solutions”.

Fiction creates reality. Finally, we are fascinated by the role of imagination in shaping the future. Chinese author Chen Qiufan, who recently wrote a science fiction novel set in a future where China’s Net Zero promise is being realized, argues that the world-shaping element of sci-fi allows for tell deeper, more meaningful stories to prepare people for a different future

For on the road

Anyone Can, Australia’s first Bla(c)k Women and/or Women of Color entrepreneurship program is holding their launch event in Sydney today! 4.30 pm at Fishburners, grab yours ticket here† Or apply online for the program here before July 10.

Institutions entering the VC chat impact. The University of Melbourne has launched two new investment funds totaling $115 million, supported by Breakthrough Victoria, to turn research into a commercial venture. Meanwhile, the NSW government launched a new $10 million VC fund for women founders in the name of late fashion entrepreneur Carla Zampatti.

How close are we actually to prescription psychedelics? This one Psychedelics Drug Development Tracker shows the progress of several applications, with the most advanced use case being MDMA used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

A history of hypnosis. This one BBC article delves into the roots of the technique as a magical act, and into its bright future as a treatment for PTSD, IBS and other conditions.

“Take a walk or two and call me in the morning.” Doctors are increasingly deviating from the usual practice of recommending drugs for chronic conditions and instead turn to recommending physical or social activities as a form of treatment.

The math behind miracles. A “once in a lifetime” event might not be that rare† Consider: If an event has a one-in-a-million chance of happening every day, it should happen to 8,000 people a day, or 2.9 million times a year.

Random may not be so random. A new study that The Pudding looked into showed that your ability to random generation actually decreases above age 60† That said, using their own interactive resources, they have failed to replicate the original findings.

Super Worms! Meet the insects out there luckily only survive on polystyrene – and our best hope for cost-effective recycling of it.

What inflation shock looks like (aka: why now is a good time to buy orange juice).

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