As economies across much of the EMEA region rally, cities like Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Hamburg, London, Manchester, Milan, Munich, Paris, Stockholm, Tel Aviv, and Dubai are becoming hubs of breakthrough activity. However this growth is tempered by uncertain times, as societies shift priorities and anticipate change. This has led people to demand more control over many aspects of their lives. On the healthcare front, Babylon, HumanCharger, and Clue are providing accessible care alternatives at home, when it’s needed most. Brands like Atom Bank and Monzo are offering alternatives to traditional banks with mobile-first, personalized solutions that can help guide your financial planning.
As innovation accelerates across the region, so too does the demand for bespoke experiences. Brands like mymuesli and Unu in Germany and Hawkers in Spain are making personalization easier, building it into their offerings from the ground up, allowing you to take shortcuts to create a product that exactly matches your tastes. Commerce is also meeting demand for personalization. We can shop anywhere in the world at the touch of a button—with brands like Wallapop (now LetGo in the US), Glovo, and Juniqe delivering everything from everyday goods to works of art. Physical retail needs to live up to higher expectations—with e-commerce brands like Farfetch raising the bar by creating experimental physical stores that are showrooms, meeting places, and breakthrough experiences all in one.
As movement across the region continues to change cultures and societies, the free-flow of ideas continues to foster Breakthroughs throughout EMEA.
But along with these high-tech developments is a larger behavioral trend toward simpler, more natural living. Why buy when you can borrow—especially when Airbnb, car2go, Cabify, and Drivy make it so easy? This is complemented by a desire to consume higher-quality, more conscious food and drink—best exemplified by Toast Ale, a brand that recycles bread into beer. Even small and affordable things are proving that they can still be premium. And in many regions, tourism remains a massive business driver, ripe for innovation, with Musement, IreckonU, and FLIO making it easier to travel and find personalized experiences and entertainment.
Spain’s silicon cities
In Spain, cities themselves are proving to be not only hubs of startup culture and technology (especially in Breakthrough nexus Barcelona, home of the Mobile World Congress), but areas for lifestyle innovation—with public-private partnerships to make city spaces more enjoyable and attractive.
Dubai’s balancing act
Brands in Arabic countries face a challenge—balancing the specific needs of local cultures with the demands of globalization.
Startup investment is booming across Germany, topping EUR €2.2 billion in 2016. These investments went to 486 startups, up from 417 in 2015.
Paris, City of Lights (and startups)
Paris’s large investment infrastructure makes it particularly Breakthrough friendly, and it just became home to the world’s largest incubator, Station F.
Rethinking media in the UK
Traditional government-funded entertainment companies like the BBC are rethinking how they provide content, imitating Breakthroughs by offering digital-only solutions for younger audiences.
Italian transportation consolidation
In Italy, the national railroad company is about to become the largest integrated mobility provider, merging with the national highway and acquiring local transportation.
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