Giant Leap’s Small Steps: The power of cards, games and sci-fi in adapting to a changing world

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

We share an edited version with Startup Daily readers every fortnight.

Giant Leap is Australia’s first impact venture fund, and they use this newsletter to highlight the ideas and companies that fascinate and inspire them and expand their own thinking about impact business.

Here’s what they have to say this week:

Knowledge is progress.

People do not act on what they do not know. For climate action, addressing the knowledge gap is the driving mission behind Probable Futures (deep dive podcast here). They produce interactive maps from widely accepted climate models that are understandable and relevant to anyone.

For example, they report that if the atmosphere is warmed by 3 degrees (ie we do not take any climate action), the chances of annual extreme drought around Melbourne increase from less than 10% to more than 90%. It is somewhat warm under the feet to encourage action.

Pray or play? Game designer Jane McGonigal claims that games are part of the answer, making it the case that they create “Super-Empowered Hopeful Individuals” who master skills with urgency, optimism, creativity and collaboration.

By leveraging this, Jane has created social networking simulations so people can unfold their reactions to things like climate events and future pandemics, producing 100s of insights and ideas on how we can best solve our most pressing problems. In her words, gambling can be “a solution to find solutions”.

Fiction creates reality. Finally, we are fascinated by the role of the 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 achieved, argues that the world-building element of sci-fi allows for deeper and more meaningful storytelling to prepare people for another future.

For the trip

Anyone Can, Australia’s first Bla (c) k Women and / or Women of Color Entrepreneurship program, is holding their launch event in Sydney today! 16:30 at Fishburners, grab your ticket here. Or apply online for the program here by July 10th.

Institutions that go into effect VC chat. The University of Melbourne has launched two new $ 115 million new investment funds, supported by Breakthrough Victoria, to transform research into a commercial business. Meanwhile, the NSW government launched a new $ 10 million VC fund for female founders in the name of the late fashion entrepreneur Carla Zampatti.

How close are we really to prescribed psychedelics? This Psychedelics Drug Development Tracker shows progress on various applications where the most advanced application is MDMA used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

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

‘Go for a walk or two and call me in the morning’. Physicians increasingly deviate from the usual practice of recommending drugs for chronic disorders and instead turn to recommending physical or social activities as a form of treatment.

The mathematics behind miracles. A “once in a lifetime” event may not be so rare. Consider: If an event has a chance of one in a million to take place 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, dived in by The Pudding, found that your ability to generate randomness actually falls above the age of 60. That being said, by using their own interactive elements, they have failed to copy the original results.

Superworm! Meet the insects that are happy to survive on polystyrene alone – and our best hope is to recycle it cost-effectively.

This is what inflation shock looks like (alias: why is now a good time to buy orange juice).