Things that tweet… Robots, evaluation and sales

In the course of this week I have come across three things that so impressed me that I tweeted them.

Chances are, if you know my blog, then you also know my tweets, but if not:

  • Introducing the ‘voicebot’

An installation in Parliament from Part of the Voicebox initiative – ‘a data visualisation project, curating young people’s views on issues that matter, visualising the findings, and then setting the data free for you to do the same.’

  • Innovation and evaluation are inseparable

GOOD Magazine is hosting a blog-based conversation for participants from across the globe to explore innovative approaches to evaluation. Not surprisingly, it is good – very good.

  • How to sell me stuff

Steph Gray is a digital specialist in the Civil Service and a patient man. But even he has his limits. Tired of cold calls and clumsy pitches, @lesteph has posted eight tips on how to sell him right. I’m ditto on all 8.

Following Reboot Britain

Jonathan Kestenbaum, CEO of NESTA at the rostrum
Jonathan Kestenbaum, CEO of NESTA, at the rostrum

Managed to make it over to Reboot Britain today. Half of it anyway.

It’s been a while since I’d been at a conference (if one can still use that term for such an event). And, I am glad I had the opportunity (thanks to Nick for the allowing the time, and Steve and Tiffany for arranging).

It was great to reflect on issues of the day and those of tomorrow, especially in such good company – such as Steph, Mark and Jeremy, and fleetingly Milica, Robin, Kathryn, Paul, Mick, Andy and Andrew.

I learned a thing or two – which I will muse on in another post – but I was also left wanting.

The source of my disappointment – the opening speeches from Jonathan Kestenbaum, CEO of NESTA, and Jeremy Hunt MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Culture. Nothing wrong with the delivery as such, both are very able and informed speakers who are more than qualified to open an event such as this. My problem was with the level of the pitch. Continue reading “Following Reboot Britain”

Join the Movement: Channel4’s Counter-Cultural Commissioning

The Scottish chapter of 4iP got its official launch yesterday evening in Glasgow.

Presentations were delivered by Stuart Cosgrove, Tom Loosemore and Ewan McIntosh, respectively 4’s Head of Nations and Regions, Head of 4iP and 4iP’s Digital Commissioner (Northern Ireland and Scotland).

There was nothing about the practicals of the fund that couldn’t have picked up from visiting the 4iP website, but it would have been good if you wanted to get a handle on the ‘personality’ of 4iP. And it’s this personality, this approach to conducting 4iP, that is all important.

When Tom and Ewan spoke they repeatedly returned to the idea that 4iP was about ‘stirring things up’ and ‘making trouble’. The language and the tone was counter-cultural; under their stewardship, 4iP is setting out to challenge conventional business models, form innovative partnerships and disrupt the norms of commissioning.

It won’t be easy. But I like it.
Continue reading “Join the Movement: Channel4’s Counter-Cultural Commissioning”

Join the Innovation Nation

Michelle Lyons, who oversaw Digital Dialogues for the MoJ, is now Community Manager at DIUS. She has asked some bloggers and other champions of online engagement to help her promote a new pilot being run by the department. Very happy to oblige :)

The DIUS pilot has taken the Innovation Nation White Paper and made it interactive – in that it allows interested parties to comment on the Paper paragraph by paragraph. Neat.

So even if you responded to the original consultation, this is worth getting into – partly because policy officials want your views on the subject matter, but also because a good turnout and some constructive contributions will encourage them to do this again. Continue reading “Join the Innovation Nation”

Finding the silver-lining between the lines

A ‘news analysis’ article on NMA gathers quotes from industry senior managers on what ‘the economic crisis’ means to digital.

A lot of doom-mongering, until it laments that ‘clients are taking a more conservative route… Optimisation, usability and customer insight will what [they] concentrate on’.

That’s a good thing!

Was pleased to read (albeit between the lines) that innovation is seen as a means of weathering the storm. I gave a presentation at an Apple seminar in 2005 and what struck me there was that it was Apple’s steady spend on R&D that saw them through the lean years. A good example to keep in mind.

Show Them A Better Way

Alex Stobart emailed me about Show Us A Better Way – a competition set up by the UK Government to encourage ideas for data mash-ups.

There’s a £20k fund to allocated across one or a series of winning ideas. In a presentation to Tom Watson, I recommended five pots of up to £15k each, which I still stand by as a more appealing and sustainable prospect for entrants.

But this is a good start and will no doubt evolve over time. I’d recommend the POI Task Force pay keen attention to the likes the BBC Innovation Labs if they are going to pursue this year on year.

When someone is trying to make conversation, it’s rude to ignore them

The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) is one of the new kids on the Whitehall block. The department has been established to steward the Government programmes that foster a dynamic, knowledge-based economy. And with a Minister like John Denham at the helm, the outlook is good.

A while back I picked up on a consultation DIUS was staging on innovation and how it should be sustained in the UK. Originally based on a conventional set of questions and an invitation to send in a response, I spotted that DIUS have now ‘upgraded’ the exercise with a consultation microsite.

The opportunity to get involved in a consultation about the contribution of innovation to the UK’s competitiveness is welcomed. The exercise has a particular focus on science and innovation policies and is open until January 31st 2008. I’m going to respond where I can (science and innovation is not exactly my area of expertise) and would urge others to get involved in order to demonstrate the depth of interest and the breadth of the innovation practitioner community. Continue reading “When someone is trying to make conversation, it’s rude to ignore them”

Carrot or Stick? On Parliaments, ICT and Innovation

One of my last gigs for the Hansard Society was a presentation to the Global Centre of ICT in Parliament in Geneva. It was for a workshop leading up to the Centre’s full-blown conference the next day.

The subject of the workshop and my presentation was parliaments and innovative applications of ICT. Apparently I got a few people’s backs up. Good.

I won’t say black when you say tomato when you say tomato; my outlook is sunny; I’m not in-your-face. But, yes, while a lot of the presentations at the workshop were rosy, I delivered a downbeat critique of how parliaments have approached innovation.

Have a read at the transcript and let me know your thoughts.

Continue reading “Carrot or Stick? On Parliaments, ICT and Innovation”