Whispers & Screams
And Other Things
Vastly experienced, versatile senior technical asset with a broad range of highly evolved skills from team building to high-level technology solution implementations. A courageous and tenacious leader with proven experience in business development, organisational visioning, cutting edge information technology deployments, and as a senior management liaison. Experienced at working at all levels from Start-up to Corporate, I thrive on change and take the lead to engage and drive the engineering landscape in any business An outgoing personality, with high energy levels who is customer focused but understands the need for a structured approach to business. A mature and collaborative style provides excellent communication and presentation skills and, drawing on past experience, gives the credibility to build trust. A strategic thinker, who is innovative and creative and makes technically 'savvy' decisions and encourages others to do so, whilst totally focused on success and how this drives results.

Technology Does Not Equal Innovation

I had the opportunity to speak to a group at a university recently about innovation. In fact, I've spoken to four universities about innovation in the last few months. There's a growing awareness that innovation needs to happen in university settings. This would include innovation on the administration of the university, in the teaching methods and in what is taught. But that's a sideline to this post.

One of our customers, a senior faculty member argued that all this talk about "innovation" was pointless, and missed the main target, which was that we needed more focus on science and engineering education. In his mind, innovation was equated to technology, and only scientists and engineers could bring new technologies to life. While we agree that scientists and technologists can bring innovations to market, we'd argue that that definition of innovation is awfully narrow. It seems that innovation can occur in many avenues that have little or nothing to do with technology, engineering or science.

In fact we have recently worked with a financial services institution, a health care insurance firm, a life insurance firm and several other firms in the services industries where there are no physical products developed and few if any engineers or scientists. Yet these firms are innovating. Innovating their service models, customer experiences, processes and business models. Apple, held up as the ultimate innovator, is a technology firm but innovates instead more around user experience, linkages, partnerships and content.

There are a number of firms that innovate around technology and science, so we don't want to downplay the importance of technology in innovation. However, we do need to understand the balance between product innovation and all other kinds of innovation, and the importance of engineering and science to innovation. It's really a question of set theory. Technology innovation is a subset of innovation generally, and while all technology innovation is innovation, all innovation is not technology innovation. As much as it may pain my engineering friends to say it, there's a lot of innovation happening that has little or nothing to do with technology. Conversely, there's a lot of technological research that will impact our lives through new innovations as products and services. The key to this reasoning is to understand how technology neednt be the innovation but can more often than not enable the whole spectrum of innovation subsets. But reducing investment in these areas doesn't mean we are less innovative, it just spreads out the responsibility for innovation more broadly. But that had already happened in the 70s and 80s, as private enterprise took on more direct research and investment and the traditional nationalised style government's role declined.

OK, enough of the tangent. Innovation depends on creating and developing new ideas. Some of those insights are based on new technologies or improvements to existing technologies. Some innovation, however, is based on insights about services, processes or business models, and don't rely on technologists or engineers for insights. To claim that all innovation is technology innovation, and that without engineers and scientists no "real" innovation can be accomplished is to view the world of innovation with a very narrow lens.
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A windy night in the hills

Its a cold blowy night up at the house. The worst storm of the year is at its peak and the map opposite is current. Wow it dont half get blowy up here in the hills :-).
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The North Wind and the Sun

This is a wee story I heard as a child and told to my son this morning after shouting failed to get him up but giving him back his quilt worked just fine.

"I am stronger than you," said the North Wind to the Sun.

"That is not true," said the Sun. "Everyone knows that I am the stronger."

"Show me that you are stronger than I," replied the North Wind. "You know very well that you are not."

"Do you see that traveler coming? I can make him take off his coat. You can not," said the Sun.

"We will see about that," answered the North Wind. "The one that makes the traveler take off his coat is the victor." "All right," said the Sun, "and you may have the first trial."

"Whew! How the North Wind blows," said the traveler. "Whew! whew! Hold on there, North Wind; I would rather walk than fly. Whew! whew! "How cold it is! I must button my coat uptight. Whew! whew! whew! I never felt such a wind before," said the traveler, as he folded his arms over his breast. "It seems determined to tear off my coat. I will turn my back to it. Whew! whew! whew! whew!" But the more the wind blew, the tighter the traveler held on to his coat.

At last the North Wind said, "I will try no longer, but you, Sun, can do no better."

The Sun said nothing, but came out from under a cloud and smiled down upon the traveler.

"How good that feels!" said the traveler.

The Sun shone on. "It is getting warm," said the traveler, unbuttoning his coat.

It was now past noon. "The Sun is too much for me," said the traveler, and he threw off his coat and hunted for a shady place.

The North Wind's harshness had failed. The Sun's gentleness had won.

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What is "progressive"?

In recent weeks in the news I have begun to hear a new word bandied around. Everyone claims to be it. Of course not everybody can be it.

This word is "progressive".

Everyone seems to be claiming to be progressive. At first I saw it as a roundabout way of saying that something is a step in the right direction but then I got to thinking. Who gets to say what is the right direction.

The word is used everywhere and seemingly in every debate nowadays to justify one course of action over the other or to vaunt one taxation policy over another. Surely they cant all be right? Is it even good to be progressive? If it is then why isnt there just one party called the progressive party which everyone loves and votes for religiously.

It turns out that progressivism is a little less gleaming than the current zeitgeist would have you believe...

Wikipedia describes it as this.

Now this muddys the waters even further.

If progressivism is to all intents and purposes liberalism then what on earth is going on in a country where the traditional vote has been polarised to one or other side of the political spectrum?
I'd venture a fairly simple answer to this little puzzle.

What we are seeing is a fight over the middle ground that the kingmakers, (LibDem) occupy in an unashamed attempt by both ends of the political spectrum to either cosy up to them in order to cement the coalition or drive a wedge into the coalition by showing just how far from being progressive they have strayed.

So, next time you hear the word "progressive" being used by a suit on the news dont believe the hype. The landscape has changed now and the ways that they compete are subtle and wily.

Unless you voted LibDem, progressive is not what you voted for.
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Who the hell are we?

So, its world cup time again.

I can more or less remember where I was during most of the world cups that have taken place through my life. Well, its fair to say I more clearly remember those world cups that Scotland qualified for but anything like that is a bit of a distant memory now. World cups in recent history seem to merge into a fog of "its coming home" mixed with the tune of "three lions" and a stiff measure of "penalty disappointment".
But something else seems to rise up in my consciousness at times like this and it is the unfortunate spectacle of Scottish anti english (ism).
Now, I may not exactly be the best person to comment on this phenomenon having worked with english people for most of my life and having also lived in England for a large chunk of my life but to me, the phenomenon is nothing short of embarrasing.
Before I go any further let me just make clear who I am. I am a Scot. I am someone who is very proud to be a Scot and believes wholeheartedly that we Scots have a heritage of which we can rightly be proud.
When I was little I was brought up to understand that being Scottish is something to be extremely proud of. To be Scottish is to be the living embodiment of a proud, strong people for whom strength and honour means as much as it did to the Romans. My father gave me a book called "Kidnapped" by Robert Louis Stevenson when I was little and I read it cover to cover and more than once. It wasnt difficult to be proud of my past when presented with this sort of provenance.
Over the intervening years however, I have learned that being Scottish comes with certain responsibilities as well as the rights inherent in being proud of such a past. I have learned that it is my responsibility to hate the english and to wish them failure in every venture they may undertake. Nowadays that usually means sporting events as it is one of the few remaining areas where the distinction is meaningfully made.
Well Im sorry but I refuse. I have always refused, and now I feel like its time for me to speak out in my own small way. Who the hell are we if the only contribution we have to make to what could and should be a healthy rivalry and a desire to be the best between England and Scotland; who the hell are we if all we can do is carp and snipe and wish "them" ill when the only reason for this is that we have came up short yet again?
Who the hell are we if we are now to be defined by this pathetic image of yet another glaikit awkward scot proclaiming through an inane grin that he will be supporting "anyone but England"
Tonight in South Africa, it is the eve of what is arguably the biggest sporting tournament on earth. Many of the biggest sporting nations on earth will be represented. Some may not be, but the parish of Scotland, for that is what a parochial attitude turns us into, will once again be carping from the sidelines in a negative, jealous, snide chorus of anti-English jealous inferiority. For me, this is just not good enough. This does not represent the Scotland that my Dad brought me up to be proud of. This does not engender in our impressionable young people, the drive and need to put Scotland back onto this global map. Rather it perpetuates the decline into obscurity that no Scot can deny is already well and truly under way.
So come on Scotland, lets stop embarrasing ourselves. Lets see this as an example of what our country should aspire to. Lets learn to support our neighbours with at least some semblance of grace instead of acting like a jealous child who isnt getting to play. Lets channel our energies into making Scotland great again rather than trying to hope England become as crap as we are.
I for one will be hoping England can win the world cup and I ask ya..... who the hell are we if we cant celebrate the achievement of our closest neighbours? Comments?
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