Evidently we don’t know where we are heading – so let’s not go there?

4 Apr

‘Evidence-based’ may sound like a fine disciplinary principle for Regulators and Policy Developers.

It may perhaps be mightily convenient that it will take some time to gather the evidence but no-one, surely, can object to careful consideration and debate about proposed changes in the way we do things.

Big brands are always quick to point out that their investors desire forward certainty and less risk.  If their pleas fail to impress they can try delaying some inevitable change by actual or threatened (and expensive) litigation.   So ‘evidence-based’ suits the suits very nicely: it will take time and then they can take more time arguing about the validity of the evidence.  Time enough to put Plans B or C into operation.

But ‘evidence-based’ has one major snag.  It looks backwards, not forward.  It is perhaps a wonderful excuse for not focussing on a few major principles that will guide us in the future.

And when that future is expected to be radically different from the past, when progress and innovation is running ahead of of legislators’ ability to keep up, the evidence of how we did things in the past is not much help.

Nor is it much help when the evidence is hard to find, when activity has not been measured, when Policy and Regulatory priorities are diverted, perhaps by the blandishments of big brands, and not fully cognisant of real world experience.

In our essay on Municipal Enterprise we make the point that for proper recognition of cultural activities we need to deploy new local platforms that will aid societal and economic development – and this newfound awareness would add context and form to the headlong rush towards Smart Cities.




Adapt or Mitigate or Rethink? Creating an environment for fresh thinking

31 Mar

On the day when a report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has prompted headline writers to debate Adaptation versus Mitigation we highlight an altogether different approach – one that demands that we rethink the way economies work.

In ‘A few words about a Circular Economy‘ we consider the challenges of communicating fresh ideas in an environment where words like ‘green’ are no longer helpful.   New digitally-enabled capabilities are hastening the end of mechanistic ‘linear’ economics but expertise in understanding Whole Systems’ and ‘Ordered Complexity’ is only just emerging.

Our editorial gives just a glimpse of the potential for fresh thinking being pioneered by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and comments on how we must also rethink our choice of words to describe the journey.

A New Dynamic - coverThe footnotes include a link to ‘Booms and Boomerangs’ – our January review of ‘A New Dynamic’ (the set text for MBA students at the Bradford University School of Management) and other material from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.



Cutting Red Tape – lengthways?

8 Mar

hi=-tech buildingOur editorial – ‘Unbalanced Economies‘ – considers the dilemma of would be devolutionists as they grope for government policies that might ease the woeful inequalities of local economies across the UK.

There’s no lack of awareness of the growing gap between the growth of London and the UK’s other major cities.  It’s not just about jobs.  The impacts are evident in health, education, culture, innovation, and umpteen aspects of society –  and there’s no denying the dependence of local economies on centralised purse strings with stringent controls on spending anywhere that seems electorally risky.  Nor would the Whitehall wizards deny the export potential for technologies that claim to make cities smarter – though they shrink away from encouraging innovative aspirations in the underlying digital infrastructure investment.

But solutions are not to be found in more top-down initiatives.  If pushed the Whitehall policy police might perhaps concede that fostering maybe two provincial city hubs might be sustainable but such half-hearted measures fall way short of the natural aspirations bubbling up in places large and small across the country.

Enter the RSA’s City Growth Commission.   No debate better captures the red tape that ties central policy development in knots and exposes how the digital economy is delightfully disruptive.  Cutting the red tape lengthways is simply not good enough.

Full story here

And the last word goes to – Vodafone and a British Engineer – for Fibre

20 Feb


Stockholm Waterfront - smaller

FTTH Council Europe today honoured both Vodafone and British-educated Sir Charles Kao for their great achievements in fibre.

Full story here


UK and Germany sticking with a low fibre diet

20 Feb

FTTH logoFor a country that has just celebrated gaining an Olympic Gold medal for sliding faster down slippery slopes, this is a good time to pause and reflect whether the UK is playing in the right league.’

That’s the bottom line from our observations following the publication of the FTTH Council’s latest review of market development.

Full story here

FTTH Council Europe opens in Stockholm

19 Feb

Stockholm Waterfront - smaller




Listening this morning to the welcoming addresses by Anna-Karin Hart (Sweden’s Minister for IT and Energy) and the Mayor of Stockholm it became abundantly clear that the role of Municipal Enterprise has played a huge part in their country’s success.

Full story here.

Next Generation Digital Challenge Awards 2014 – Open Call launches on Wednesday

17 Feb

Stockholm Waterfront

The nomination form for this year’s Digital Challenge will be launched on Wednesday 19th Feb while we are in Stockholm at the FTTH Council Europe’s annual conference.

Anyone will be able to propose any UK digital project or team for wider recognition.   Entry is free.  Short-listed Finalists will be announced in July.

The awards ceremony will held in November.

More details will be posted on the Groupe Intellex main site and at NextGen Events.


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