Knowledge Hotspots

Interesting infographic that (partially) represents innovation strengths and weakness of the UK compared to the rest of the world.

Quid, led by Oxford University graduate Bob Goodson, has identified those companies that have the potential to become the Pfizers of tomorrow. They have all convinced investors to back their ideas with cold, hard cash during the past three years – no mean feat given that venture capital investment has plummeted since the start of the financial crisis.

Quid has also identified where the UK has a disproportionately large concentration of companies exploiting certain technologies compared with the global picture and where the country has weaknesses.

Here’s how they went from the data (and where it came from) to the picture:

Quid, a data analysis and consulting firm, identifies technology clusters by generating sets of key words that best describe individual companies using algorithms to examine the text in thousands of their corporate documents, from patent filings to press releases.

It then crunches the data and creates a map connecting with lines companies whose key words are alike. The lines pull companies together and the more lines there are between companies, the more likely those companies are operating in a cluster. The result is a multidimensional industry map like the one shown here. It represents some 7,000 companies around the world in technology that have raised equity finance in the past three years. The UK-based companies are highlighted to differentiate them.

One of the tricky aspects of these data visualisations is the limitation to 2D or 3D representations whilst the actual problem space is multidimensional.

I did some research on this topic whilst a Research Fellow at the IBM UK Scientific Centre (which used to be in Winchester, Hampshire). Specifically, I investigated, with Tim Mullin and Anne Skeldon from the Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford, the use of texture mappings to see more of the ‘hidden dimensions’. This got briefly written up in New Scientist.

Picture credit here.


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