December 17, 2018

Interesting Things on the Internet: December 17th 2018

  • Weeknotes — diffusion, corporate culture, email. A good set of links and thinking from Laura. The idea about how email smooshes together different speeds or types of communication - things we'd have been able to differentiate before by the medium: scraps of paper for notes; postcards; letters...I think there's huge scope for finding ways to improve email, but I don't think we'll unlock it until the geeks start building it for themselves - it won't come out of startups. And that nods towards Laura's comments on IoT devices. The "industrial foundations run by trustees" would be a nice idea to try too.
  • Innovation’s fairylands. I often feel that the word "innovation" is only useful as a warning that whatever it's applied to is not worth further investigation. the mere declaration of “innovativeness,” which Godin identifies as a “magic word,” is often enough to satisfy observers, be they policy makers, granters, clients, or media, regardless of outcome.
  • Data From Millions Of Smartphone Journeys Proves Cyclists Faster In Cities Than Cars And Motorbikes. The headline has most of the useful information in it, but it's good to see someone reasonably impartial running the data. Presumably the area where bikes win will tend to increase as electric-assist bikes become even more common (quite a few Deliveroo riders I see already have them). It'd be nice to see routing algorithms start to include multi-modal for cyclists too, to combine train and riding.
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December 10, 2018

Interesting Things on the Internet: December 10th 2018

  • How to Be an Artist 33 rules to take you from clueless amateur to generational talent (or at least help you live life a little more creatively). Words of wisdom.
  • The Digital Maginot Line. Interesting long read about the risks for a "cyber war". It's not just about securing the PLCs in power stations, it's much more about propaganda and the people.
  • NUMMI. Really interesting interviews about NUMMI, a joint-venture factory between GM and Toyota, and its trials and tribulations with trying to infect GM with the Toyota Production System. Insightful looks at trying to overcome the 70s management-vs-workers-and-unions battle, with mixed results.
  • Being bolder – reflections 18 months into my work at NHS Digital. It's a joy to watch from afar as Matt gets to grips with helping the NHS get better. His comment about the need for some slack in the system for people to work out how to improve things reminds me of the similar approach in the NUMMI story about Toyota's culture of production line workers working alongside the designers and engineers to improve the production process, make new tools, etc. It's easily overlooked, but this quote at the end of Matt's post is one of the most exciting points for me: "I always said this was a multi-year commitment". Change in organisations as large as the NHS is always going to be difficult, so this recognition of that and commitment to the cause is vital (and sadly often lacking elsewhere).
  • The Future of Capitalism, by Paul Collier. Good to see people arguing that we need a more ethical approach in other places than just technology.
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