Blog

That Vision Thing

The other day I was helping develop some future scenarios, set in 15 years time, envisaging some of the surprising business consequences of the clean-tech energy transition.

Envisaging future scenarios is something I love doing, and I find it really quite easy.  It always surprises me that some people find it very hard, because it is an important skill, and one that can be developed. Continue reading That Vision Thing

Brexit as Innovation

As the UK embarks on the complicated process of negotiating itself out of the EU, I found myself reflecting about the parallels with innovation.

Many R&D managers will recognise the feeling of being asked to achieve a complex multifaceted project with an apparently impossible timescale and distracting internal politics, while being under-resourced and under huge pressure to “just get on with it”.  Continue reading Brexit as Innovation

The Power of a Mayor

By 5th May 2017 our rather bizarre devolved region of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will have an elected Mayor.  This extends from near Royston in the South up through Fenland to a bit north of Wisbech, and from a bit past Newmarket in the East (but not of course including Newmarket) to near Thrapston in the West.

It’s hardly a coherent geographical region.  I, like most people round here, was initially pretty unconvinced that we needed another layer of government, but our councils voted for it, and so now we need to make the best of it.

One of the important areas where the Mayor  could make a difference is in the whole area of the environment, climate change and sustainability.   Continue reading The Power of a Mayor

Coffee Time Conversation: Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a 15 minute podcast of a conversation on brainstorming between Anne Miller and Ieva Martinaityte, Creativity Researcher at the University of East Anglia.  It discusses the brainstorming rules, the role of the facilitator and various tools and techniques you can use to achieve a good result.

It should be very useful if you need to facilitate a creative workshop.

A post-Trumpian cautionary scenario

This is a fictional scenario, but everything described is a plausible possibility, particularly in the light of President Trump’s election in the USA.   It is not a prediction (the future is too unpredictable for that) but aims to stimulate creative thinking by policy makers, business and NGOs. Continue reading A post-Trumpian cautionary scenario

Cool technology

As I write, it’s been a good month for global environmental agreements. First, the Paris Agreement was ratified and so entered into force on 4 November 2016. Although some environmentalists will rightly say that it’s currently inadequate, it is an extremely significant step forward. This is because it’s setting a very clear signal about the direction of travel, and smart businesses are very good at responding to this. Trillions of $ of investment are starting to flow in new directions, and many companies are investing for the new reality, significantly ahead of governments and regulators. Continue reading Cool technology

To brainstorm, or not to brainstorm?

Probably the best known ideation technique of all is brainstorming.  In this, a group of around 6-12 people get together to develop new ideas, guided by a facilitator and a few basic rules. These rules can be summarised as

  • build on previous ideas,
  • encourage wild ideas,
  • go for quantity,
  • no negativity.

Continue reading To brainstorm, or not to brainstorm?

Voyaging into an uncertain future.

The world can seem an uncertain, dangerous place at the moment.  As I write, the consequences of the Brexit vote are still uncertain in a wide range of fields. The Labour party is in turmoil, Syria is in rather worse turmoil, terrorism continues, climate change continues, and we look with incredulity at the prospect of a Trump presidency. Continue reading Voyaging into an uncertain future.

Fixing combie boilers that fire up when the cold tap is used.

I often wonder how much energy is wasted in the UK for no benefit whatsoever.

About a month ago, after we’d had a few plumbing jobs done,  we noticed that our Combie boiler was turning itself on every time we used a cold tap.  Or more precisely,  the boiler turned itself on briefly, a few seconds after we turned a cold tap off. Continue reading Fixing combie boilers that fire up when the cold tap is used.