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Thinking Uncategorized

Nike and Wieden+Kennedy produce the best digital marketing campaign of the year

Nike is run by marketing geniuses. Or it’s something to do with Wieden+Kennedy, their brilliant ad/creative agency.

In my favourite digital marketing thing of the year, they took over phoneboxes across London, and challenged people to run between them. Faster and further than their neighbours. It was all done by postcode, so it was all hyperlocal. And it happened over a 24hr period – runners got a code that they bashed into every phone box they ran to, and every run was logged online. Badges were awarded for running between postcodes, running furthest, running fastest, and points were tallied live on NikeGrid.com. After 24 hrs, the champion of each postcode was announced. Both on the website, but also on local electronic billboards. 

 (Flickr credit: Birdsigh)

It was genius. It was like being in some weird secret society, where you knew you were up against other people, but didn’t know who they were. They were rivals, but cos you were both doing this faintly underground challenge, they were comrades. It was all managed digitally, but it took place in the real world – racing down London streets rather than sitting in front of a monitor. It’s like one of those massively multi-player online games, but not online.

And now NikeGrid is running again. This time they’ve added the option to run as a team (London university students will lap this up) and instead of 24hrs, it’s 15 days. 

All of the ‘Grid’ stuff is branded and designed beautifully: underground, gritty, urban etc. Check out their hexagonal honeycomb-style map of London below (given out to those who ran last time – keeping the ‘club’ thing going). It’s a pretty long way from the Nike that sponsors giant football teams or puts great cinema ads together. This hits a real active audience in a way that they want to join in. 

Imag0022

The other clever thing is that you have to sign up through Facebook, which of course means “You irrevocably grant NIKE, its group companies and third party commercial partners the right indefinitely and throughout the world, without any expectation of compensation, further permissions or notifications to: (i) use your photograph, video or film portrayal, image, likeness, voice and any other means which identify you”

Ah, good times. Privacy is dead. Long live Facebook.

 

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Thinking

Why Capitalism is so 1.0

In my general love for social media and the internet, and how they change everything, utterly, I’ve been thinking about markets.

Markets work: they produce vast quantities of things rich people don’t need at huge environmental cost” isn’t what the Buttonwood columnist in The Economist wrote recently.

They wrote, of course, that ‘markets work’ and paraphrased Friedrich Hayek as saying that markets ‘represented the individual decisions of millions – the wisdom of crowds, if you like’. This made me think of all the hype about social media: the combined efforts of millions on Twitter, Facebook etc. Wikipedia as a remarkable product of 100m hours of ‘cognitive surplus‘. The websites that try to harness the ‘wisdom of crowds’ or are platforms for collaborative creation: e.g. Beta CupJovotoHypios

I was taught that economics is about one problem: the allocation of resources, such as capital, land and labour. Who gets what resources, how the resources are used, what is produced, who contributes, how products are distributed; that sort of thing. And the capitalist model, best elucidated by Adam Smith, says that markets provide the best solution, by managing millions of personal decisions about what’s best for an individual. Through the cumulative effects of personal decisions, the market sends signals (mainly in the price of goods/services) about what should be produced and how, where things should be sent, who gets what, etc. The ‘invisible hand’ distributes the resources.

The problem is that this means that you only get a say in the what/who/where if you’ve got money with which to signal your desire. ‘Money votes.’ It’s not particularly revolutionary to suggest that this might not best way to organise things. The reason for listening to you shouldn’t be due to whether you have money or not. No money no voice. Capitalism and democracy aren’t logical partners: an old argument.

So I wonder what Hayek and Smith would have made of the internet.

It seems to me that the internet provides an alternative way of solving the economic problem. Technologies like social media allow management of vast quantities of information, previously unknowable or unmanagable. Rather than market-based information like prices and profits as signals, we can allocate resources based on much deeper, more personal, more real information. We can account for those without capital. Anyone with a digital voice can take part in a global conversation about the what/who/how/where of resources.

What this physically looks like, I’m not sure. But it might be something like NeighborGoods, and similar non-profits or social-goal driven companies, like Kiva, etc. They’re all pretty small-scale at the moment, and deal with things that are tiny in the grand scheme of things. But perhaps it starts with these.

Exciting times.

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Reviewing Uncategorized

Notes from Amartya Sen’s chat on Global Justice @LSEpublicevents last week

Sen was great. Like a mischievous imp, but in 77yr-old Harvard professor form. Lots of jokes about ties. Indeed, just lots of jokes.

And the following thoughts, which he offered simply as ‘thoughts’ on global justice, rather than any defined argument. He and the audience often referred to his most recent work: ‘The Idea of Justice

  • Global justice faces a problem in an unwillingness to look beyond borders
  • A challenge to global justice is in the two conflicting understandings of justice: (1) Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau & Kant’s understanding of justice as an ideal; relating to nations, institutions (a state of ‘just-ness’ which is arrived at)  (2) Adam Smith, Wollstonecraft and Sen’s understanding of justice as a comparative thing; something that you could rank
  • Smith criticised early British Empire as not taking account of the interests of non-Brits and used the Greek infanticide example to show that understandings of justice change over time 
  • Thomas Nagel said that global justice may be a chimera
  • Democracy as public reasoning is an important idea (propounded by JS Mill and Walter Bagehot), but that justice and democracy aren’t completely interdependent
  • There always has to be a reason, so there is never a total absence of thought/argument [though the space can be confined, and you can’t force people to engage?]  
  • On global warming, China and India must forget the past (of the West causing climate change), and help solve the problem; but this requires more balance in the (global?) reasoning process: COP15 showed a failure of reasoning. Good argument takes time!
  • The removal of injustice is the key. Less concerned with what justice is. We can identify a perfect state, but that doesn’t help solve the problems of the imperfect or unjust. 
  • A definition of justice is unnecessary: we won’t agree, and it won’t help.
  • The global ‘public reasoning space’ [I made that up] is improving. Networks like Al-Jazeera have increased the number of voices. [missed an obvious point to sing the praises of the internet here?]
  • Jesus Christ asked ‘Who is the neighbour?’ – it was the Good Samaritan. We need to start defining neighbourliness beyond locality. With globalisation, we have relations with people all over the world: ‘the boundaries of justice are ever wider’.
  • UN is great, but has its limits, such as funding. Doesn’t really have a role in ‘justice’, but its work on gender and human development all contributes.
  • Center for Disease Control in the US (CDC) is an amazing thing – not it’s purpose, but it does have an impact on injustice. 

For reviews of the Idea of Justice, there’s a short Times article and Guardian article.

For more on Sen, he wrote a mini-autobiography for the Nobel website in 1998. The sort of humane, brilliant, witty chap you want to be when you grow up.

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Thinking Uncategorized

A few notes on digital collaborative health inspired by @cshirky @LSEpublicevents

A quick note of Clay Shirky’s lecture on Cognitive Surplus can be found at DavePress

This is just a point about one of Shirky’s key examples, patientslikeme, cos it’s amazing.

As he pointed out, it completely throws open what we assumed about medical data. And particularly mental health. 

US citizens are voluntarily publishing vast amounts of data about their medical conditionsThe site then aggregates the data, creating some funky charts (e.g. charts of average dosage per drug), and, it claims, revolutionising medical research, treatment and understanding for both suppliers and users.

Plenty will worry about people self-medicating; one comment says

 “PatientsLikeMe is the main reason that I concluded I had been mis-diagnosed depressive, instead of bipolar, and just recently decided to try new medication.” 

Presumably that would worry a lot of doctors – but it’s unstoppable. The medical profession is going to have to change…but how? Will sites like this increase the average knowledge of medicine, enable peer-to-peer practitioning, or simply indulge hypochondriacs? Will a clinician’s role be in moderating sites like these? 

But for champions of transparency and open data, it’s almost a holy grail: people are volunteering what would have been considered their most private data. The strictest rules apply to its release by organisations, so patientslikeme gets the individuals to ‘open’ it. They don’t seem to have to try that hard to convince:  http://www.patientslikeme.com/about/openness

we believe sharing your healthcare experiences and outcomes is good. Why? Because when patients share real-world data, collaboration on a global scale becomes possible…

 

Currently, most healthcare data is inaccessible due to privacy regulations or proprietary tactics. As a result, research is slowed, and the development of breakthrough treatments takes decades. Patients also can’t get the information they need to make important treatment decisions. 

 

Furthermore, we believe data belongs to you the patient to share with other patients, caregivers, physicians, researchers, pharmaceutical and medical device companies, and anyone else that can help make patients’ lives better. Will you add to our collective knowledge… and help change the course of healthcare? 

Never mind an online encyclopaedia. Collaborative healthcare is coming to a laptop near you.
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Reviewing Uncategorized

Nuggets from @nesta_uk & @the_young_fdn work on how public services can foster innovation

  I’ve been looking at the Young Foundation & Nesta’s Open Book of Social Innovation over the weekend – super interesting. Here’s a quick précis:

Premise: We’ve got a problem…

“The classic tools of government policy on the one hand, and market solutions on the other, have proved grossly inadequate

“The silos of government departments are poorly suited to tackling complex problems which cut across sectors and nation states. Civil society lacks the capital, skills and resources to take promising ideas to scale.”

“The prospective cost of dealing with these issues threatens to swamp public budgets, and in the case of climate change, or healthcare in the US, private budgets as well.”

Solution: Social innovation, leading to…

 “an emerging social economy…Its key features include:

 

•  The intensive use of distributed networks to sustain and manage relationships, helped by broadband, mobile and other means of communication.

•  Blurred boundaries between production and consumption. 

•  An emphasis on collaboration and on repeated interactions, care and maintenance rather than one-off consumption. 

•  A strong role for values and missions.

They point to the growth of “global infrastructure, social-networking tools” and an “increased focus on the individual and relationships rather than systems and structures”, as distinctive characteristics of the social economy. 

“The role of the consumer changes from a passive to an active player: to a producer in their own right.”

Role of public sector in making innovation happen:

“Innovation in the public sector always risks being a marginal add-on – small scale in terms of funds, commitment of people and political capital.” 

That’s sad.

But happily, NESTA and the Young Foundation have some suggestions for improvement. I’ve copied in the most interesting below and added links:

– have a dedicated innovation fund, like the NHS’s £200m fund
– voluntary taxes – no, honestly, apparently the Mayor of Bogota asked, and 63,000 gave! Awesome.
– community pledgebanks (perhaps with matched public funding?)

And of particular interest for civil servants:

– Tithes of working time for self-directed projects (Google’s 20% is often mentioned (and it’s important to recognise self-directed products), but is it still their policy?)
– Secondments into ‘skunkworks‘ projects: basically given a free role, unhampered by bureaucracy (imagine the competition for these jobs!)

And my favourite:

– “‘A-teams’ of young civil servants commissioned to develop innovative solutions” – but also from universities, private sector etc in this South Aus example

Top stuff – take a look at the full book, it’s full of ideas, not just for public services, but grant-making organisations and private and informal sectors.
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Adventuring Uncategorized

The view from a German pub in London for #Ger vs #Aus … #worldcup

This is at Zeitgeist, on Black Prince Road in Lambeth. These were outside the pub. There was a lot of noise coming from inside…something about Frankfurt…

Awesome!

These dudes couldn't get in…
#ger vs #aus

#ger vs #aus

These dudes were on the other side of the road…
#ger vs #aus

She'd brought a mini-TV!
#ger vs #aus

One nil Germany!
#ger vs #aus

Und so weiter…
 
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Reviewing Uncategorized

Mapumental – great digitalmashup where-to-live maps from the brilliant @mysociety and @4ip

Way back in 2007, when mammoths roamed the earth and iPhones were just being invented, the brilliant e-democ/society people at mySociety developed a time-travel map. This was a map that could send you back in time. No. Not really.
 
It was a commute-time map, centred on the place you were trying to commute to, that would snazzily show the length of commutes from different spots on the map. The cooler colours indicate the longer commute. It’s hard to express in words, so here’s a picture: 
 
Unknownname
 
It was great, except that (presumably) because it was all quite hard work and involved mounds of (expensive?) data, they only made a few prototypes, such as the one based on the idea that you wanted to commute to the DfT. Not that many people do.
 
[some years pass]
 
4iP, the digital innovation arm of publicly-funded Channel4, has developed Mapumental. It’s the same idea, but you can put in any destination postcode! And then play with sliders for acceptable length of commute! And average house prices! There’s even a ‘scenicness’ slider, which really does cut your options. It’s a lot of fun, and actually very useful for working out where to live, if ultimately rather depressing for most central London postcodes.
 
0unknownname
 
Mash in the data from Gumtree rental adverts too, and it would be perfect!
 
Sign up for a log-in at http://mapumental.channel4.com/