Blog of Random Thoughts and Pictures

A Capitalist’s Dilemma in investing in innovation.

November 18th, 2012

A Capitalist’s Dilemma, invest in empowering, sustaining or efficiency innovations ? –

Skype Celebrates 9 Years of disruption

August 29th, 2012

Skype Celebrates 9 Years of Disrupting Telecom, But What Comes Next? Can WebRTC change the playing field?

Year of Open Source

August 23rd, 2012

one year of open source everything! –

Book review of a study of open source software projects

August 11th, 2012

Very good review of the book Internet Success: A Study of Open-Source Software Commons. The book looks like its well worth a read for those running or planning to run open source project s.

Is the face of research and innovation changing in Europe?

February 11th, 2010

Photo Credit: Dominics pics on Flickr
Picked up a post recently via ENN Scotland Experts call for new approach to European research and innovation policy and from this a link to a joint statement [pdf] on behalf of the European Research Area Board, Business Panel on Future EU Innovation Policy, Expert Group on the Role of Community Research Policy in the Knowledge?Based Economy, European Technology Platforms – Expert Group and Science | Business Innovation Board, were they have a number of recommendations for a new approach for research and innovation in Europe. To quote the major recommendations that statement highlights
1) Focus on our greatest societal challenges
Such as climate change, alternative energy, healthcare for an aging population, security and social cohesion
2) Encourage new networks, institutions and policies for open innovation
The statements make it clear that the dominant mode of research and innovation is through open collaboration – among small and large companies, university and industry, public and private sector, clusters and trading blocs. This requires an open environment for knowledge, talent and services to flow, and for critical mass to build where needed. Yet the EU policy
focus has not yet adapted to this reality.
3) Spend more on research, education and innovation, in part through bolder co-investment schemes
Access to finance remains the number one obstacle to innovation; there is less risk?capital around, and it’s harder to get at. At the same time, there’s also less public money available for research, education and innovation in the EU on average than in the US or Japan. The suggested solution is to through enlightened fiscal policies and bold experimentation in public private co?financing, making it easier for researchers, engineers and entrepreneurs to find
the cash needed to get their ideas to market.
4) Coordinate and plan RDI programmes better – within Brussels and among the member-states
EC and national programmes for research, development and innovation, are strong to a fault. All too often, there are unnecessary duplications, needless contests over administrative territory, and confusing bureaucracy. Greater coordination among all the EU capitals, a reduction in paperwork, and synchronization of all aspects of RDI funding, regulation, and standard?setting to achieve our aim of solving society’s Grand Challenges.
5) Open competition should be standard in EU programmes
Excellence must be the watchword of EU research, development and innovation programmes.
When I look at these recommendations I do wonder will EU policy fall into the innovation dynamics top 40, that is to say humantific’s top forty reasons why most large group meetings, work sessions, working conferences produce little other than feel good vibes.
Or will I stand corrected and find that a recipe for innovation can be cultivated?
Maire Geoghegan-Quinn you have your work cut out for you.

Innovation, research & innovation what’s the formula for a smart economy?

July 5th, 2009

There’s a debate raging at the moment in Ireland about the smart economy and it appears in these undoubtly tough times we are struggling with the innovation idea.
Photo Credit: miguelpdl on flicker industry collaboration and academic research or is the pursuit of IP a distraction.
Can it be that shearing Ireland’s science budget would be a mistake of monumental proportions because the figures are only coming to light now, or are these really all the facts and figures.
Maybe this new Innovation Taskforce will get to the bottom of it and set us on the right track, that’s of course assuming that Ireland cares!
At least the science parks are in place, which maybe the key.
I leave these thoughts with a quote via @Leslie Lamport

Jean Renoir wrote in his autobiography that someone once asked his father, the painter Auguste, why he painted from nature. Renoir père answered that if he were to try painting a tree in the studio, he would be able to draw four or five different kinds of leaves, and the rest would all look like them. But nature creates millions [his count] of different kinds of trees.

Swinxs: great fun and programmable

February 1st, 2009

Back in June of this year I spotted this odd looking kids games console, which for once was designed for active games both inside and outside. I was interested … very interested however back in June it was only available in a Netherlands shopping mall, no matter how much I looked for it online there was nothing doing. Then one day a month or so ago on a normal enough vist to the ELC (I was dragged in kicking and screaming) I spotted it ….. a Swinxs and I made an immediate purchace.
Swinx game console
5 stars straight away, the kids love it, even my smallest (1 1/2 years old) as the console explains the games, recognises the players (RFID tags), and even referees the games too. Each player have their own coloured wristband, and Swinxs keeps track of their scores.
It comes with ten games and you can download more free from the Swinxs website, along with music and quizzes.
Swinx game console
But that’s not all, no the biggest item for me is that you can design your own games. Now I’ve looked at the SDK, and the game design in the language SwinxsCoreTalk.
And for the obligatory “Hello World” first program here’s a link to the Swinx SDK tutorial on YouTube.

The language is purely state machine based, which brings me back to the good olde days of coding call processing modules for the EMX 2500 [pdf], and I’m in the planning stages of a Simon Says game.
I digress back to the kids ….. going by the ELC site reviews it looks like our kids are not the only ones enjoying Swinxs.

Innovation: Its Changing!

August 13th, 2008

I’ve implicitly mentioned my research on crowdsourced innovations, and here are a couple insights worth a read.
Crowd Image by James Cridland on Flickr
One a forum discussion on What is innovation? which is part of discussion being posed by NESTA on : What should an Innovation Index contain?.
Which goes hand in hand with a recent report on The New Inventors: How users are changing the rules of innovation with a full report [pdf].
Although the question always being asked is where is the proof, the report above give some examples … here’s a couple of others
1) The crowdsourced restaurant Elements, which is a concept that has expanded from the original idea for a small cafe to a full-fledged, green-certified restaurant. Members earn points for their participation efforts, and are eligible to share in the profits allocated to members. {As reported in the Washington Post}
2) If you’re going to write a book about crowdsourcing why not get the crowd involved in the book cover design as was the case with Crowdsourcing: How the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business by Jeff Howe. The Top 20 designs that just missed out being the book cover can be seen here, and nicely enough the first 5 Chapters of the book can be seen on the site also.

CoreLabs, the end of the beginning

April 1st, 2008

With so many things happening recently I haven’t had a chance to tell you about a project that has just successfully finished its research programme.
CoreLabs Logo
CoreLabs started in March 2006 with the stated mission to conduct as broad coordination as possible among European private, public and civic stake-holders and related projects working with systems/environments (Living Labs) for open user-driven innovation of (primarily) new ICT based products and services.
CoreLabs mission also included the establishment a European Network of Living Labs and to propose related supportive policies and governance structures. The long term objective with the Living Lab network is to become a enabling key instrument in a new European innovation infrastructure.
So did CoreLabs manage to do this?
The projects achievements include all planned deliverables and targeted objectives (ref DoW) three of which can be downloaded below:
D2.1a Best Practices
D3.2 Technological & Mass Customisation Aspects, which was edited by Claire and myself here at the TSSG.

D5.1 Methods & Tools Inventory and Taxonomy

There were as quite a few additional deliverables and impacts achieved such as the ;
(Co-)organisation of more than thirty (30!) LL-events across Europe
The election based formation of a Living Lab Portfolio Leadership Group, LLP-LG
Creation of the physical (Rubik’s cube based) Living Lab Harmonization Cube, presented
at the e-Challenges conference 2007 in Den Hague.
A Living Lab Book; European Living Labs. A new approach for human centric regional innovation, in which Chapter 4 on the Technology Platform for the ENoLL is a contribution made by Claire & myself also.

ENoLL Book

To mention but a few.
The project had its final review on February 14th 2008 and the EC have kindly reported that that through these achievements the project has contributed to the understanding of the changing techno-socio-economic paradigm. The report does go on to state that this ongoing transformation requires research on how to optimally embed ICT in all segments of the European society (health, mobility, learning, government, leisure, etc.). ‘Living Labs’ appear as an optimal tool to realise this objective.
There is tons still to do, but CoreLabs has clearly being a guiding light in this initaitve.
And so as the quote from W.Churchill goes:

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. (10 Nov 1942).

Leading the way 4WARD

February 26th, 2008

So my travels this year started with the kick off meeting for the EU FP7 ICT project 4WARD.
4WARD Logo
We are creating an “Architecture and Design for the Future Internet” and in doing so 4WARD aims to increase the competitiveness of the European networking industry and to improve the quality of life for European citizens by creating a family of dependable and interoperable networks providing direct and ubiquitous access to information.
These future wireless and wireline networks will be designed to be readily adaptable to current and future needs, at acceptable cost. 4WARD’s goal is to make the development of networks and networked applications faster and easier, leading to both more advanced and more affordable communication services.
Hosting this first event were IT Lisbon, and I must say for such a large event they did an excellent job, and it’s not usual I say that, but really the whole event and the 25 course meal were something else.
As for the TSSG we are specifcally looking at Tenet 1: Let 1000 Networks Bloom, in which we are exploring a new approach to a multitude of networks: the best network for each task, each device, each customer, and each technology. We are attempting to create a framework in which it will be easy for many networks to bloom as part of a family of interoperable networks that can co-exist and complement each other.
And Tenet 2: Let Networks Manage Themselves. This were we would like to have a “default-on” management entity, which is an inseparable part of the network itself, generating extra value in terms of guaranteed performance in a cost effective way, and capable of adjusting itself to different network sizes, configurations, and external conditions.
Both activities have got off to a flying start, and we have a number of follow up workshops in the coming weeks. I’ll keep you posted.