Visualising Innovation Clusters

August 28, 2009

Innov Cluster Europe

Innov Cluster N America

McKinsey analysis of global innovation hubs (above top Europe, then N America and below Asia). Further details via an interactive map on their site. The graphics are based on one measure, number of patents, although they say that a number of parameters were taken into account in the final analysis.

Interesting stuff but need to always bear in mind:

  • the challenge in incorporating qualitative and quantitative measures/data in a convincing manner
  • visualising the full situation in an insightful manner (tricky as it’s nearly always multi-dimensional)

The nomenclature on the diagrams is:

Our data indicate that, depending on the strategy, mature innovation clusters will evolve toward one of the following categories:

  • Dynamic oceans: large and vibrant innovation ecosystems with continuous creation and destruction of new businesses. Leading innovators and primary sectors change organically as the hub frequently reinvents itself through significant breakthrough innovations.
  • Silent lakes: slow-growing innovation ecosystems backed by a narrow range of very large established companies that operate in a handful of sectors. These clusters are frequently the source of a steady stream of “evolutionary” innovations and step-wise improvements.
  • Shrinking pools: innovation hubs that are unable to broaden their areas of activity or increase their lists of innovators and so find themselves slowly migrating down the value chain, as their narrow sector becomes less innovation driven and increasingly commoditized.

Innov Cluster Asia


Where 2.0 Conference 2010

August 27, 2009


Call for participation for the 6th Where 2.0 conference is now open.

The three-day conference about location, mapping and geodata will be held from March 30 to April 1 2010 in San Jose, CA.

Further details:

Mobile: The iPhone, Android, and Symbian mobile OS’s are continually advancing the state of the art. By creating a wide-spread platform that allows for third-party development and geolocation they are bringing along the whole industry. The phone is going to become the primary I/O device for geodata in the near future. What new applications are you building for it? How are the social aapps effecting society and our notions of privacy?
Realtime Mapping: Mobile phones are being used to generate maps and other geodata. Sensors across the world are capturing more data every second. Reality mining systems are being used to release this data to users in realtime. Who is making the most of this deluge? How can they handle these new data sets?
Temporal Information: Realtime data requires the element of time to be added. This is uncharted design territory. How should time come to the Web?
Rich Analysis: Web mapping is moving past just allowing the display of data (aka red-dot fever). There are now many tools online that help people analyze data and could, in time, challenge traditional GIS systems. How is the Web different? Will end-users take up richer tools?
Geolocated Web: Every updated browser can now geolocate it’s user. Websites are now going to start using this information. What should they do with the information? What new services can be created?
Mobile Advertising vs. Services: Will people pay for their mobile apps directly or through ads? Which makes for a better product, a better user experience and a more stable revenue stream?
Augmented Reality: The combination of a camera, a GPS and a compass on a mobile phone is going to let us layer information on top of the world. What do you want to see? How will you edit the layers?
3D: Photosynth-like apps are becoming more commonplace. Google’s 3D Warehouse is filled with models. It’s safe to say that 3D is here. But do we need it? What are its limits?
Open Data: Governments are treasure troves of data. Increasingly they are releasing it online for free. How does open data effect the web? How can this data be widely available and yet maintain its creators? How is this critical information being put to use?
Crisis Mapping: The tools of neogeography are being used to spread the word of humanitarian and natural disasters. What are some of the best (and worst) examples?
Open-Source: The backbone of any independant mapping site is open source software. What are the newest tools that can be used to handle the location-enabled web?

Lessons Unlearnt And Greek Fire

August 27, 2009

Burnt Car Greek Fire

The press/media is awash with the phrase ‘lessons learnt’. However, in the main, this is a platitude, as it seems that people and their systems seem keen not to learn, even when the consequences may be lethal.

Here’s a recent example.

Picture credit here.

Best Science Visualization Videos of 2009

August 26, 2009

From Wired Science:

Some of the most impressive images in science are produced when researchers take numerical data and represent it visually through modeling and computer graphics. The Department of Energy honored 10 of this year’s best scientific visualizations with its annual SciDAC Vis Night awards, at the Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing conference (SciDAC) in June. Researchers submitted visualizations to the contest, and program participants voted on the best of the best. From earthquakes to jet flames, this gallery of videos and images show how beautiful (and descriptive) visual data can be.

I used to work in this area when I was at the IBM Scientific Centre in Winchester, UK and have retained an interest!

Lessons Learnt – The Microsoft ‘Bob’ Project

August 25, 2009


Recent discussion of lessons learnt taken from the famous Microsoft ‘Bob‘ project (from around 1995).

They include (details and context given in the original post):

1. Never underdeliver against expectations.

2. Consumers don’t care about strategy.

3. A small marketing budget can work wonders.

4. If you start to get feedback from customers that your product is anything but great, don’t forget that you only get one chance to make a first impression.

5. Don’t be afraid to take risks.

6. Place bets on smart people who push the envelope.

7. Never forget the crucial role influentials play.

8. If it doesn’t work the first time, be open to the idea that it might work down the line.

9. Don’t be afraid to poke fun at yourself.

Taken at face value these observations apply to many product development projects – they’re totally generic and to that extent also fairly predictable. The interesting part is how these observations were taken into account (assuming they were) for future projects, this is the tricky and messy part – see also here.

Also, the benefits of proposed changes emerge over long timescales and this needs to be proactively managed or the desired results are unlikely to appear (at least in the way intended) see eg here.

The other issue that is customarily not emphasised is the role of politics, even though this may often be the over-riding constructive or (more usually) destructive factor. To establish real change you need convincing and sustained management understanding and commitment supported by process improvement and solid knowledge management practices. In my experience, getting the former is harder than getting the latter!

Update: detailed background and discussion of the project at the Technologizer via The Bob Chronicles.

Intuition And The Intellect

August 24, 2009

“I make all my decisions on intuition. But then, I must know why I made that decision. I throw a spear into the darkness. That is intuition. Then I must send an army into the darkness to find the spear. That is intellect.”

– Ingmar Bergman

Brought to my attention from here.

Graduates And The Recession

August 22, 2009

Graduate The Recession

Extracted from The Daily Telegraph:

1 Prioritise your debts

2 Keep in touch with creditors

3 Apply for a graduate account

4 Don’t sit there; do something

5 Polish your CV

6 Improve your interview technique

7 Keep learning

8 Balance the books

9 Drop into your University Careers Service

10 Be patient

A number of graduate opportunities are advertised

Some additional comments:

4. Paid work is best but if none is easily available try voluntary work – some aspects are quite challenging and would be great to talk about in interviews. There’s more going on than you might imagine (I speak from experience)!

5. Try generating different types of CV and getting a variety of people to comment on them. There isn’t one ‘best’ type no matter what you’re told. In particular, be bolshy, even though it may go against the grain a little.

6. Try ‘mock’ interviews with friends – you’re never as good as you think you are. Be open-minded rather than defensive with comments back.

7. Consider setting up a blog or some other site on a topic that interests you – content isn’t always so important but demonstrating originality, initiative and drive is.

7a. Try to see the bigger picture and where you might sit in the scheme of things, both at the start and later on. If you don’t you’ll be steered mostly by people who want you to advantage them. Although you’re not going to change that – it’s been going on for ages – it’s best to be aware of it!

9. I hope they are better now than they were for me!

Picture credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images