Archive for Economic Development from United Kingdom

A Kiwi’s Mission to get Millions of Women Pregnant

by on July 29, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Below is Shamus Husheer, the genius behind DuoFertility, which is being launched in the UK this month. Shamus’ Mission? To get millions of women pregnant.

Shamus and Duo Fertility (1)

Below Shamus holds the monitor that consists of a discreet, hand-held reader and a small sensor, roughly the size of a £1 coin, which is worn underneath your arm. The sensor measures your temperature continuously and uses this information to pinpoint your ovulation and identify when you are most fertile, helping you to get pregnant more easily.

Shamus and Duo Fertility (2)

Below Shamus talks to me in a video interview during a dinner held at the oldest college at Cambridge University: 1284, hence the quality of the audio.

Make Poverty History

by on July 27, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Intel’s Tristan Wilkinson introduced me to Chris Ward from Comic Relief while I was in the UK.

He’s working on a campaign called 1GOAL that goes live on August 20th. 1GOAL’s mission is essentially to make poverty history.

As an official partner of the FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa, 1GOAL is an initiative from the Global Campaign for Education based out of Johannesburg.

Their aim is to secure 30 million people to engage in this campaign globally (by signing a digital petition) so that by the end of the World Cup, the noise around the issue of getting every child into education by 2015 (as Governments promised in 2000) is so loud that countries who have to act now to keep their promise feel compelled to do so.

The campaign is being backed by many Governments, faith groups, the private sector, celebrities and footballers and it is very much felt from within the sector that this is the one MDG that could be really achieved.

They have already received support from major names such as Gordon Brown, Nelson Mandela, Bono, Richard Curtis, and Kevin Rudd (Australia PM).

Over 200 countries will be involved in this initiative; Africa is obviously a key target for generating interest and signatures for the campaign – along with USA, Brazil, Japan, Australia and countless others.

Keep your eyes open for more information as the campaign goes live in August and if you have an opportunity to support them, please do. Doesn’t every child deserve an education?

UK Diary: Friday – Cambridge – The Innovation Capital Of Europe

by on July 17, 2009 at 12:50 pm


It’s Friday Morning and it’s an early 7.30 am start for the Traveling Geeks…

JD Lasica is the unsung hero of the Traveling Geeks. He has invested hundreds of hours in organizing this trip.

By Friday morning, his normal patience-of-a-saint is evaporating as he attempts to herd the TG cats into a coach that is far smaller than expected.

Plus, my son is with me this morning so space is even tighter. And on top of everything, last night was a late night and we are all still a little groggy from the grog and the good times at the Europa Awards (please see: ).

Soon, however, we are on our way to Cambridge and the start of another jam packed day. It’s a gorgeous day, not too hot, as we drive through the English countryside, the yellow and green fields and billowing clouds set against an azure sky.

It doesn’t take long before we are in the Pitt Building in Cambridge, the site of Britain’s oldest publisher. And the very impressive Sherry Coutu is running a very tight meeting with presentations from several government agencies and university representatives.

Next: Another panel and we meet Cambridge startups…

UK, US shared challenges to transformational gov’t

by on July 16, 2009 at 2:50 pm

22 In the UK, I had the opportunity to speak with a few people involved in
the transformation of UK government. They include Labour and Tories,
elected officials and civil servants.

Much of the leadership and much of the civil service is committed to new
forms of digital engagement and public service. If someone needed
convincing, the events of November fourth in the US were compelling
regarding the role of the Net and social media.

The challenges all involve translation of that commitment to large-scale
action with real results.

The technology is the easy part; the real challenge involves professional
and emotional buy-in and commitment from the mass of government tech
workers and from the citizenry.

That's true in the UK and the US as well; probably true in many nations.

Sure, there are substantive operational differences in both systems, but
the gist is that both are nominally command-and-control systems. In
reality, performance is a function of the commitment of the workers. If
people feel that their work has meaning, if they feel they can be part of
something bigger, they will respond in force.

In both countries, public servants have already been doing so, providing
new means of customer service and engagement. It's slow-building, but
real. In the US, much of that leadership comes from the Federal Web
Managers Council.

This is the beginning of the transformation of the US and UK systems, and
it faces specific challenges:

  • leadership must show a clear commitment to transformation, to address organizational inertia
  • obsolete regulations must be revised
  • there needs to be some organization or coordination of efforts, at least so everyone has some idea of what's happening
  • security and privacy concerns must be addressed

In a sense, we're complementing systems of representative government with
mass engagement, that is, online grassroots democracy.

This is "an idea whose time has come," as it was in the UK in 1688 (the
"glorious revolution") and in the US in 1787 (the Constitution.)

At #rebootbritain: tech and risk taking can help restore a gov’t and an economy

by on July 6, 2009 at 2:12 pm

07062009012 Okay, I was on a panel involving serious use of tech for innovation.

Long story, but my focus was on how a lot of people in the US, gov't and private industry, know how to get stuff done.

That's equally true of the UK.

That is, there're already a lot of solutions out there, but getting people to work together is required.

Online social media can be used to do that.

There are many other issues, and one bears more discussion later. The deal is that in Silicon Valley culture, failure is accepted as a normal stage in business.

That's not the case elsewhere, at least as much as needed, like the Boston/Rte. 128 corridor, Washington DC, or like I'm being told, the UK.

More later.

(depicted outside the meeting space is the LOST character, Faraday, the quantum physicist.)


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