Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Why vote?

Just look at the mess the world is in. Economic disaster following the “greed meltdown” of the banks and financial institutions; squabbles amongst the world’s richest nations about how little they can get away with (at the Copenhagen Summit) in helping the disadvantaged to cope with a climate change disaster they (the rich countries) have created; tawdry money grabbing tactics by expenses-manipulating UK politicians (as if a salary of £65,000 wasn’t enough – and Cabinet ministers / committee chairs get more); and so on.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Record keeping in the public sector: has it gone too far?

The recent Times article by Rosemary Bennett, Social Affairs Correspondent (Bureaucracy stops us helping children, say social workers) raises some important issues, but side-steps them in flavour of political mud-slinging.  As the Times and its readers are basically Tory, it's hardly surprising that the article and most of the comments are political and anti-Labour. Which is a shame because herein lies an important issue that transcends politics.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Are mobile phones good for the classroom?

Liz Lightfoot, writing for the Observer (11 October 2009) reports Mick Brookes, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, saying that schools should drop their bans on mobile phones in the classroom. He cites one example of a positive use of the mobile (a child photographing the homework written up on the classroom whiteboard) and uses the general view that “technology is good” to support his thesis.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Can we ever agree about our different perspectives?

When you watch, read or listen to the news, everything is presented in very black and white terms: people are right or wrong. And when something goes wrong, someone must be to blame, so let's find out who that is and... blame them!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

It's not how loud you speak, it's who is saying it and why that matters

You have to wonder, sometimes, about people’s sense of proportion. The trouble with the Internet, and especially social media, is that messages can spread so quickly and widely, and people can confuse volume with importance. Just because x-thousand messages appear on Twitter or Facebook about something, doesn’t mean to say that it issue is truly important.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Mapping the customer journey

Why don’t large organisations treat their customers like real people? You know what I mean: here are some examples:

You walk into a major fast food chain. The two staff who are serving happen to be in conversation together. They neither acknowledge you nor break off their conversation to serve. Eventually one of them does serve you, but with obvious ill grace...

You ring your local council with a query about waste recycling. The person who answers is polite but distant. You can tell they don’t really want to answer the question. They suggest you look it up on their web site. You explain that you don’t have web access. With an audible sign, they look up the information and reel it off too fast for you to write down the main details, so you have to ask them to repeat it...

Saturday, 18 July 2009

On the Internet nobody knows who you are - or do they?

I have just returned from a holiday in Venice. Amongst other sites, I visited the original Jewish ghetto - the Venetians created the concept centuries before the Nazis (in 1516). For Venetian Jews the ghetto was both a good thing and a bad thing. It was bad because of course it created segregation between Jews and the rest of the (mainly Catholic) population.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

To boldly search…

I’m sure you’ll be familiar with this scenario.

You want to find out, say, something about the GDPs of countries in the developed and developing world. So you do a search (mostly in Google, but it might be Yahoo or one of the others) – e.g. “gdp uk nigeria usa india” – you get around 40,000 hits (in Google) with sites like The World - Globalisation and Trade and Economy Watch. With luck you might get a site that give you the answer, or you might have to visit two or three to get what you want.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Social networking and positive engagement

TYPECAST - a positive example of public sector social networking
In my blog entry of 25th May 2009 I wrote about a couple of the problems with social networking, but concluded that Councils still needed to engage within this medium, partly to counter some of the misuse. I gave the example of Cyber Mentors as one illustration of how to do this, and today I want to highlight another in order to illustrate the following points:
  • that public sector bodies can do this successfully;
  • how the principles of Groundswell, which I've previously written about, can be applied;
  • and to publicise and celebrate that good work.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Are newspapers dead?

In today’s online world, information is available both for free and seemingly limitlessly. So how do newspapers survive? Are they just another dinosaur?

Friday, 15 May 2009

Doing Good

At a recent (6/5/09) NWeGG programme and project managers' (PPM) group meeting, we had a really interesting session, led by Peter Kawalek, on social networking. Peter's remit was to try and relate this to the world of PPM, but inevitably we ended up discussing it in a wider context. This led me to think about the following two attributes of social networking.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Inventing the Future

The presentation "Did You Know 2.0" (available on YouTube) poses a question about education. It asks if we are preparing our young people adequately for a future that could be radically different from now. It majors on the fact that change is happening more rapidly now than at any time in the past, and that the pace of change is now so fast that the tools and working environment that school children will encounter when they grow up and start work will be very different from what they are now.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Mapping "New ways of working"

In my last blog post I promised to write about a good example of a public sector use of social networking. In fact I will have to delay this as the web site is not due for launch until June – so it will come, but not right now. So instead I'm concentrating on a process that public sector bodies can undertake as part of developing how they use channels like the Internet, digital TV and mobile phones.

Friday, 27 March 2009

The devil in Social Networking

My blog entries about the use of social media / social networking in local government have been positive and have strongly endorsed the use of these tools. It would be remiss of me not to touch upon some of the dangers because, like all very powerful tools, put in the wrong hands or used in the wrong way, they can be very damaging.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Striped pyjamas, book thieves and the meaning of life

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a little movie doing the rounds at present that many people say is very moving and a great story: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, based on John Boyne’s children’s “fable” of the same name, published in 2006 (DVD due out in March).

Monday, 26 January 2009

Soap Life - a playful history part 3

In my previous two posts I have been looking at computer gaming history and how it relates to the upcoming phenomenon of virtual reality worlds. My conclusion so far has been that virtual worlds like Second Life potentially supply a cornucopia of opportunities for the public sector. Examples include service delivery, citizen engagement and consultation (and many more).

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

From Utopia to Second Life - a playful history part 2

In my last post, before Christmas (and doesn't that seem like a long time ago already?) I gave a brief history of the type of game that evolved into today's online virtual reality game like World of Warcraft. You may have wondered what this has got to do with new ways of working – well I'm coming to that, but some background was needed.