‘A mob for no reason’

On 17 June, a self-styled 'mob' of two-hundred people gathered around a large carpet on the ninth floor of the Manhattan department store, Macy's. They stood there and listened intently to a carpet salesman. Then, after 10 minutes, they all dispersed. The Mob Project was an invitation-only thing. A guy called Bill sent out email invitations, which in turn were forwarded on to others. This was no protest, no expression of...

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The rise of the clicktivists: will the revolution be digitised?

Is the internet just another tool in the activists’ toolbox, accelerating normal protests, or has it brought about fundamental changes? If it has, for better or worse? Is it increasing the amount of debate and discussion around protests, or actually making protests more superficial; diminishing what it is to be committed to a cause and estranging campaigners from grassroots concerns? Does the new ‘leaderless’ form of organisation...

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What’s innovation good for?

Past innovations spawned whole new industries such as television, nuclear power, even fledgling bio-tech, capable of creating millions of new jobs and truly transforming society. Elsewhere, innovation has driven huge increases in productivity and revolutionised infrastructure. While UK manufacturing has recently been growing at its fastest rate for 15 years, this seems to owe more to the low pound than radical innovation. And while...

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The best foundation for the web: open debate

Tim Berners-Lee, credited with inventing the World Wide Web, chose to launch the foundation at the headquarters of the John S and James L Knight Foundation, an institution that awards grants to help transform communities and journalism. In his inaugural speech about the Foundation, Berners-Lee said its aims are ‘to advance One Web that is free and open, to expand the web’s capability and robustness, and to extend the web’s benefits to...

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Digital Britain: welcome to the slow lane
Oct06

Digital Britain: welcome to the slow lane

The report sets out a plan to equip the nation to become a digital world leader. For UK prime minister Gordon Brown, high-speed internet is a utility every bit as important ‘as electricity, gas and water’ (2). Brown’s over-exaggerated enthusiasm may be intended to show that the government has embraced the digital future. But given the government’s inability to manage our water and energy provision without annual fears about droughts...

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Social media is more about creating loyalty than new ideas

Unsurprisingly, some of the heaviest advocates of social media are those brands fighting in tough markets. The Wall Street Journal for example has 38 separate Twitter news feeds with thousands of followers. The car manufacturer Toyota has thousands of dedicated fan pages on Facebook. Its Prius car has over 40,893 fans. Elsewhere Frank Eliason leads US cable provider Comcast customer support operation. On Twitter Comcast have nearly...

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Why brands shouldn’t get lost in the Twitter storm

Today, the entire marketing industry is being severely tested when the gap between what a brand represents and what people seem to want is getting wider. The internet has helped clarify this when what customers click on, tweet and search for can be easily measured. The conclusions often shows what people are not looking for. However, businesses and brands who suffer from a deficit in trust equally believe the internet is their...

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“Unless you’re a fortune-teller, long-term business planning is a fantasy”
Oct06

“Unless you’re a fortune-teller, long-term business planning is a fantasy”

Now that we have a Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition Government, tough economic times are ahead not least because of their deficit reduction plans. £6 billion cuts in public services will no doubt add further hardship to many technology and service companies who already suffer from decreased investment from their services. So how can businesses who produce products and services ride out this tricky financial period? What...

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Touchy-feely toasters

Designers and scientists are eager to place emotions at the centre of products and computing. International conferences organise around incorporating emotion into all aspects of design (1). Academics are devoted to researching ‘funology’ – ‘a body of knowledge about fun’: building enjoyment into our lives through design (2). Scientists are developing systems that can respond to your emotional state, sensing when you are agitated...

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