Tuesday, 24 November 2009


ErasingImage by dweebydude5 via Flickr

I love unusual and obscure words, especially if they are onomatopoeic. I came across 'palimpsest' today and just had to look it up. Now why was 'wiki' (Hawaiian for 'fast') so named, when palimpsest would have been much more fun and appropriate...

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Tuesday, 17 November 2009

'Open' data in companies

nikinin.com features Google Maps MashupImage by earthhopper via Flickr

I've been doing some work recently for IDeA on their ambitious and innovative 'Knowledge Hub' concept. During the course of talking to various local authorities, I came across the phenomenon of local activists taking 'open' local authority data and doing really innovative things by mashing it with readily accessible external data (eg Google Maps) and making it more relevant and accessible. A great example is Birmingham DIY

This got me wondering what might be achieved if creative, motivated and technically skilled staff in private sector organisations we let loose on their organisation's data, within the firewall, but outside of functional and organisational hierarchies. There is a degree of risk of course, but who knows what patterns and new insights might emerge for the organisation by looking at 'operational' data in a completely new way.

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Friday, 6 November 2009

Changing behaviours

Exhortations to 'collaborate more' or 'share more' are likely to be ignored unless you make it easy (or less painful) to do so. Similarly, unless you are in the military, edicts or 'policies' to change behaviour are doomed to fail. Leaders changing their behaviour or making it easier or more fun to so something one way, rather than another, are more likely to have a lasting impact and uptake. Barry Jones of BAE Systems has pointed out this wonderful example of how making something mundane fun, can change behaviours (you will need speakers or headphones on and watch out for the dogs)

Sunday, 1 November 2009

The Unthinkable

The far-fetched concept of automated tacit knowledge transfer is a little nearer following a report from Jack Gallant and Shinji Nishimoto, neurologists from the University of California, Berkeley. They claim that they can reconstruct visual images through scans of neural activity. Their Bayesian decoder uses MRI signals from visual areas to reconstruct complex natural images. Visual responses to stimuli and hours of YouTube images are used to train the model. Semantic encoding then characterizes responses and recreates the image. As the Sunday Times suggests, it's not quite 'Minority Report' but the possibilities as another tool for tacit knowledge transfer are fascinating - and a bit scary.

Do you find my brain? - Auf der Suche nach mei...Image by alles-schlumpf via Flickr

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