Neil Perkin

What Kind of Future?

One of my favourite columnists John Naughton recently wrote an exceptional piece on the inadequacy of our national curriculum, and more specifically the part of the curriculum called ICT ('Information and Communication Technology'), in equipping our children for the challenges of the future.

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This is a rather intriguing idea. A book reading app that seeks to use the properties of the iPad to create a new type of immersive reading experience for ebooks featuring audio, video and rather lovely animations.

Adam recently observed that "there are two, diametrically opposed dangers on tablets: being a print fundamentalist and being a web fundamentalist".

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At the Edges

Edges have always been interesting places. And I think they are becoming increasingly so.

In The Power Of Pull, Hagel, Brown and Davison talk about innovation happening at the edges of organisations. About the value of individuals who are connected to the interesting ideas being shared and who bring new thinking into a company.

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Have Focus Groups Had Their Day?

I'll admit to having never really been fond of focus groups. For quite some time I've been troubled by the question of whether they yield quite the value that companies seem to invest in them. Or rather, I should perhaps more accurately say troubled by the question of whether the way in which focus groups are used justifies that value. Which is a different, but no less significant question.

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On Anxiety

This weekend I spent a bit of time with Andrew Zuckerman's work and (courtesy of Maria Popova) listened to this talk he gave at this year's 99% conference which contains a series of fantastic insights into his view on the creative process, wonderfully illustrated by soundbites from his work, most notably the Wisdom and Music projects.

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Never Ending Stories

I read this Frog Design piece a while back and it's stuck in my mind ever since. It's an interview with artist Jonathan Harris (he of We Feel Fine fame) about his (not yet live) new project that is about encouraging people to tell long-form stories (or integrated memories) using photos, videos, timelines, sound maps, and then connecting those stories up by automatically identifying commonalities (people, places, times, themes) and weaving them together into a kind of 'meta-story'.

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Porous Paywalls

This piece by Felix Salmon is the smartest post on paywalls I've read in a long time. In it, he talks about how the porousness of the NY Times paywall is a feature, not a bug:

"It allows anybody, anywhere, to read any NYT article they like. That makes the NYT open and inviting — and means that I continue to be very happy to link to NYT stories."

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Innovation Inertia

Why do some businesses just seem to stop innovating? Or at least open themselves up to being out-innovated by smart, agile competitors who are still hungry and foolish (in a good way) enough to prioritise new ideas highly?

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Playing with Ratios

Fred Wilson writes an interesting post about what he calls the common 'web/mobile laws of physics', making the observation that many of the tech services and companies they see as VCs exhibit similar ratios between the number of registered user or downloads (if it's a mobile app) the service has, the number of monthly and daily active users, and the maximum number of concurrent users (for those with a real time component). The 30/10/10 ratio runs:

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Agile Planning (Redux)

The smart guys at LHBS in Vienna asked me to give a talk on Agile Planning earlier this week as part of their series of "Uncomfortable Talks" designed to promote some good, challenging thinking on the practice of communications and planning. It was helpful in bringing together a bunch of disparate thoughts I've long had around this subject but if I'm honest, it was difficult to know where to stop - it's a subject that touches so much of what we do, so there's a lot more I could've talked about.

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