The Innovation Group’s annual Future 100 report is a snapshot of emerging trends, tracking innovation across major consumer sectors. How did our forecasts fare last year? Below, we look at our top trend predictions in culture and travel.

Chimerican entertainment

A year ago, in our last Future 100 report, we highlighted the growing relationship between China and the US film industry, as Hollywood looked east for both investors and customers. The relationship has continued to deepen throughout the year:

–In January, China’s Dalian Wanda Group bought US film studio Legendary Entertainment in a $3.5 billion deal, the first time a Chinese company had owned a major Hollywood studio.

–In November, Wanda chairman Wang Jianlin announced large financial incentives to attract US productions to the company’s China-based studios. “More Chinese elements mean more Chinese profits,” he told the New York Times.

–The film industry on both sides of the Pacific is keenly watching The Great Wall, a co-production starring Matt Damon and out in China this December, for clues on the future of the relationship, writes the Wall Street Journal.

–This month, The Guardian listed 10 key parties that stand to gain from the deepening US-China film industry relationship, from Marvel to Scarlett Johansson.

–However, in a development not foreseen a year ago, recent sparring between China and President-elect Donald Trump could put a big damper on the whole project, reports Variety.

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Ghost in the Shell movie, 2017

Immersive art gaming

Last year in The Future 100, we discussed how “virtual reality, art and gaming are converging to offer a new canvas for surreal, immersive visuals.” 2016 has brought many new examples of experimental storytelling that straddles these lines:

–Artist Goro Fujita used Oculus Story Studio’s Quill tool to create “Worlds Within Worlds,” “a demonstration of how you can use Quill’s ‘infinite canvas’ to embed 3D drawings within larger 3D drawings to give the viewer a sense that they’re traveling from one reality into another in terms of scale,” according to Mashable.

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Treehugger: Wawona, currently on view at London’s Southbank Centre, is a new VR creation that allows viewers to interact with giant sequoia trees, combining “art, environmentalism, and technology in an attempt to curb deforestation.”

–Paolo Pedercini’s A Short History of the Gaze is “an experiential essay about the relationship between gaze and violence” that takes VR viewers through a series of vignettes from human evolution.

–Virtually Real, an exhibition of student artwork created in virtual reality, opens at London’s Royal Academy of Arts in January 2017. Visitors will be able to “interact with virtual artworks within the world in which they were created,” according to organizers.

Clever connected luggage

We wrote last year about new companies taking an Internet of Things approach to luggage, adding features such as GPS tracking, smartphone charging ports, and built-in scales. The category became more crowded as the year progressed:

–After two years in “stealth mode,” startup Raden joined the smart-luggage bandwagon in March 2016 and installed itself in a colorful Soho showroom, taking design cues from Apple and the wider tech industry.


–Legacy brand Rimowa started selling a suitcase with an e-ink screen that displays baggage tags linked to an airline’s handling system, eliminating the need for paper tags. The innovation rolled out first in partnership with Lufthansa, wrote Engadget, with more airlines to come.

–Smart luggage company Away (the “Warby Parker of luggage”) began shipping orders in February, and by December boasted of $10 million in sales for the year, according to Internet Retailer.

–By November, the new connected features had breathed life into the luggage market in general, as the New York Times noted growing attention to the category from high-end fashion and retail brands.

Download The Future 100: Trends and Change to Watch in 2017 for the key trends shaping culture and travel in the year ahead.

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