Hidden Science Map

It’s great to see a tangible IT-based outcomes from one of the expert groups our team supported. I don’t often blog about work but I thought this was definitely worth a mention here.  And that’s the Hidden Science Map from Future Morph/The Science Council.

Not unlike maps like that for #uksnow, it enables anybody working in science, technology, engineering etc to put themselves on the map and show the variety of options out there. Given some of the recent comments on my work blog about the need to know more about the variety of careers on offer, it can only be helpful.

Itea and Biscuits

For a wee while now I’ve wanted to something volunteery – and like buses the opportunities all come along at once!   I’m enjoying my work with my local housing association to try and raise awareness of how to get involved in the community (everything from mystery shopping to newsletters  seems to be available).  In September, I’ll be busyish getting started with the UKRC’s “Ingenious Women” scheme, as well as doing a bit of formal online learning about social media and marketing, but I’m intrigued by the idea of Age UK’s Itea and Biscuits.

Run as part of the RaceOnline2012 programme, this event runs from 20-26 September and is organised by AgeUK (the new joined up version of Age Concern and Help the Aged).   It seems a great way of helping older people get experience with not just computers, but also digital cameras, phones etc  http://www.ageuk.org.uk/work-and-learning/technology-and-internet/itea-and-biscuits/.

I think there are opportunities to get involved on a more regular basis, and this is something I might investigate once I’m a bit less busy after March.

Age UK logo

Manifesto for a Networked Nation

Earlier this month, Martha Lane Fox launched RaceOnline2012’s Manifesto –http://raceonline2012.org/manifesto.  It’s certainly ambitious, having the aim of getting everyone in the UK online by the end of this Parliament.

Future Technologies | See Further Festival 2010

 Future Technologies | See Further Festival 2010. 


This event has held as part of the Royal Society‘s 350th Anniversary Celebrations, the See Further Festival held at London’s Southbank. 

Speakers were: 

  • Sir Tim Berners-Lee FRS , inventor of the World Wide Web and Director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
  • Stephen Fry, writer, broadcaster and technophile
  • Professor Dame Wendy Hall FRS , leading computer scientist at University of Southampton
  • Dr Jim Haseloff, synthetic biologist from University of Cambridge
  • Bill Thompson, technology critic and commentator on digital culture
  • This was quite a wide ranging discussion, focusing on the speed of technological development and how technology is likely to evolve, with comparisons and linkages being made with genetic enhancement.  I’m not sure that I agreed with some of the viewpoints or comparisons made, but it was fascinating to consider the development of the web once the digitally excluded eventually come on line.  Up to now, it was argued developments have been taken forward by an elite who probably aren’t representative of how the technology will develop in the future.  And, digitial exclusion was seen as a problem equal to lack of literacy.  

    Views were expressed on Steve Pinker’s work on how fast moving technology affects how we think, and largely pooh-poohed.  Stephen Fry argued that all new forms of knowledge have had this reception, from the printing press, through novels, cinema, TV and beyond.  

    I keep wondering why more people, like Dame Wendy Hall, don’t make the connections with what’s known about integrating IT into organisational designs, and why should it still be a surprise that most “technology problems” are “people problems”.  There’s much to be gained, surely by taking those lessons and applying them in the personal sphere. 

    Not sure what the floating silver dolphin balloon was about but it looked pretty!

    Watch the webcast here – http://royalsociety.tv/dpx_royalsociety/dpx.php?cmd=autoplay&type=solo&dpxuser=dpx_v12&pres=485

    Online Adventures

    I’ve just become an advocate for Race Online 2012, which aims to increase digital inclusion and get 10 million people online within the next two years.

    I’m also looking forward to helping the UKRC with their “Ingenious Women” project as a media mentor encouraging engineers to raise their profile through twitter and other online routes.  Exciting but scary!


    Around 30% of Britons are still not online, and according to the BBC, Ofcom research suggests that around 43% of adults who currently do not have internet access would remain disconnected even if they were given a free PC and broadband connection.  Mimicking results in the RCUK/DIUS Public Attitudes to Science Survey 2008, some 28% were categorised as “self-excluded”, and tended to be in the older age category.  These people may be disinterested despite the offering of potential incentives.

    BBC Report – http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.php?sid=88610563067&h=3xiKM&u=d2jml&ref=mf

    Ofcom Report – http://www.ofcom.org.uk/media/features/bbandtajeup

    This research is in stark contrast to other recently trailed research which suggests that, for many, broadband is seen as an essential service, comparable to water, gas and electricity (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8079637.stm)

    Wikinomics (Tapscott and Williams, 2008)

    Wikinomics was first published in 2006, and sets out the impact of the ever-increasing collaboration, partnership and reach enabled by Web 2.0, and applications like Facebook, MySpace and more sophisticated forms of mass collaboration.  According to the authors, there are three key prinicples of Wikinomics, or the new “mass collaboration”:

    • openness
    • peering
    • acting globally

    They recognise though, that this new way of doing things while empowering for some, will bring “great upheaval, dislocation, and danger for societies, corporations, and individuals that fail to keep up with relentless change” (p15).

    Sadly, I just missed being part of it, but it is argued that the so-called “Net Generation” will utterly refocus the world of work; as they come to expect the trends they have seen in collaboration in play and education, their expectations will mould the way in which they relate to competitors and working styles.  Some interesting examples of how firms have already been drafting in talent from outside their boundaries are presented convincingly.

    Undeniably tools such as twitter and blogging are changing our approach to education, work, leisure and life, and will take us into a more immersive format, but we still have to remember that significant numbers aren’t using these resources, and not leave them behind in the rush to immersion.