Archive for the ‘Interesting’ Category

15/11/10_AnnaM_Innovation: born as an ugly duckling that no-one is interested in



I’ve just watched this fascinating talk from the lovely John Grant at this year’s PSFK conference.  In it, he discusses a more interesting, and frankly plausible, explanation for how innovation really comes about.


It’s simple when you think about it: innovation comes about from looking at what might seem like an ugly, difficult or ‘unworthy’ issue from a different perspective.


He cites examples as varied as eBay, the Grameen Bank (the micro-credit institution founded in Bangladesh in the 1970s), The Discovery Channel, The Big Issue and IKEA as ways of illustrating the value of asking ‘what’s neglected?’ when looking for innovation.  Taking McKinsey’s latest list of tech-enabled trends as an amusing starting point, John Grant explores a more interesting and more human approach to innovation which starts at the bottom of the pyramid with something ugly and neglected not, as might be expected, at the pinnacle with the question ‘what’s next?’


The points he makes particularly resonated with me because of a really interesting project that we’ve been working on with NESTA, (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts), the independent body with a mission to make the UK more innovative.  Through a two-year pilot programme called Age Unlimited Scotland, NESTA wants to work with people in their 50s and 60s in Scotland who have the spark of a great idea to improve their community.  This alternative approach to social entrepreneurship takes the value of the life experience people aged 50+ have gained and marries it with the need to address the implications of an ageing population.  


So, if you know anyone over 50 who could put their skills to use in order to help their community then let them know about Age Unlimited Scotland.  


16/04/10_mikeb_Kelvinhaugh Street is full of surprises…

…whilst taking a stroll outside on this fine sunny day, we stumbled across this peculiar and mysterious place called Vestiges Park, an outdoor exhibition full of surprises, and worth a visit!


09/10/09_AnnaM_If only stairs were fun…

Perhaps this is what we need to encourage each of us to take the stairs a little more often?  Being on 5th Floor here, I reckon I should definitely do it more often.  So, here’s my pledge, I’ll do it if you will.  Deal?

04/06/09_mikeb_Running Man (with serious face)


Despite the hot weather I managed a respectable 4:52:00, with a 10k time of 1:00:03,
and a 1/2 marathon time of  2:12:00.

Thanks again to all those that sponsored me, and those that didn’t - well you still have plenty
of time to get on there and sponsor me, all proceeds go to Macmillan.

03/05/09_mikeb_4 weeks to go!


Over the past 5 months I have been training for the Edinburgh Marathon and have endured cold mornings, driving rain, gale force winds, angry dogs, dog sh*t, angry neds, and most recently I have been unwittingly eating flies, gnats and midges by the bucket load!

So after  already covering 376 miles I only have just 4 weeks to go until the big day, with just over 96 training miles left to do, and 26.2 miles on the day itself - lets just say I can’t wait till its over!

I am running the Edinburgh Marathon on Sunday 31st May in aid of Macmillan Cancer support, so far I have raised a respectable £480.00 but would love to hit the £1,000 mark, and with your help I reckon I can do it!

So please, please, please go to my sponsorship page and donate to this worthy cause.

I’ll let you know how I get on.

22/04/09_mikeb_Free and legal


Spotify is a free web based music application that lets you play music for free (with a couple of small adverts) through your internet connection, its collection is huge even for those with the most obscure of tastes.

Enjoy finding new or old music without begging, stealing or borrowing.

Its got to be the best invention since sliced bread and lovefilm!


19/02/09_AnnaM_Design will save the world. Discuss…

Design Will Save the World

Saw this and rather liked the sentiment behind it.

According to the Artefacture mini-manifesto:

“The role of all design is to optimize human experience from a functional, emotional, aesthetic and enviromental point of view.

Close-mindedness and profit motives aside, given the opportunity, design can, should and will save the world.

If you’re a believer then proclaim your faith with one of these or any of these.



The wonder of Twitter is revealed in this interesting piece from the BBC technology blog.  It seems Twitter users are beating regular journos to getting news online, in the public domain as quickly as possible.  There are some pitfalls however so as with the wonderful world of Wikipedia don’t believe everything you read on Twitter.

We’re going to make the effort to update our twitter profile with any news or interesting goings on so watch this space!


Maggie’s just sent me a link to this site and I have to say it’s such a simple idea that works really well.


Anyone who knows myself or Maggie will know we’re no Paula Radcliffes. We’re joggers, at best, but we like to train for and run jog the Women’s 10k every year so consider ourselves to have SOMETHING in common with old Paula.


Nike’s approach to sponsoring athletes, versus events, has allowed them to have some ownership over and right to talk about the Beijing Olympics, without being an official sponsor. The little microsite that they’ve pulled together to drum up support for Paula Radcliffe , whilst building their brand at the same time hits the mark. It’s simple, easy to engage with, straight to the point and flattering enough to the participant’s ego to let them see which step of Paula’s journey their message of support is being attributed to.

The call to action, to see Paula compete on 17th August at 12.30am means I’ll be tuning in to see if her 92nd step (that’s the one my message has been assigned to) is any different than the 91 before or the 22,758 after it.

29/07/08_PaulL_Kore wa Miso des!

Who cares the soya products make men sterile! Enjoy Miso, in some cool retro packaging!

Gochisosama deshita!

Kore wa Miso des.

05/06/08_AnnaM_How happy are you?

I stumbled upon this site and found it rather interesting. Check out how happy your country is versus the rest of the world or just within Europe. Us grumps, here in the UK don’t come out too well despite the rather high standards of living we have versus other parts of the world.It’s also possible to carry out a survey to compare your Personal Happiness Index versus the world average - sobering reading indeed.It seems that money really can’t buy you love, or in this case, happiness, but in any case, it’s still worth a read.