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The innovator next door

McKinsey&co has published a book called What Matters. It contains “answers to ten big questions, whose answers will shape our collective future”. I conributed a short text called “The innovator next door” . I know the title sounds rather like A Little House On The Prairie – especially compared to some of the grand ideas […]

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City Eco Lab: view from the balcony – and from the net

An overview of the City Eco Lab site on its second Saturday. It was snowing in St Etienne but the place was packed. (80,000 people came to the biennial two years ago but many more seem to be expected this time). If you scroll down from this story, there are another 18 posts on specific […]

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Alternate Reality Game?

I saw this poster outside St Etienne station. It portrays The Mongoose who is “an infamous hitman hired to carry out assassinations and other evil deeds…the cruel and cold-blooded murderer carries out his orders with eagerness and glee.” It says it’s a game, and that it’s is powered by “Unreal Engine”. Now is it me, […]

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Stuff-o-meter

So what exactly, I wondered, is the Baltic Dry Index? And is it a good thing, or a bad thing, that it is plunging downwards at the fastest rate since records began etc etc? These turn out to be two good questions. The Baltic Dry Index (BDI), I discover, measures the freight rates of raw […]

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Eco ‘standards’ blitz

“These are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others”. Groucho Marx could have been talking about environmental standards. Visit any supermarket and you’ll encounter hundreds of labels and displays making claims about the environmental attributes of different products. Organic, Fairtrade, FSC Certified, “sustainable”. This blizzard of assertions is confusing – in some […]

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From MySpace to fakespace: How close are we to travel without moving?

This is my talk from yesterday in Helsinki at Pixelache University. There are pix here Could the biosphere be saved by six glass lamps, six speakers, 36 ultra bright leds, six diy mono amplifiers, a diy arduino-based six channel led dimmer, a six channel soundcard, a midi controller, a midi interface,one computer, and a max-msp […]

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Why Our Design Festival Has No Things In It

In 2007, I was asked by The Observer to write a short preview of the Dott07 Design Festival.

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Global place – or is it a hat?

The following is the text of my lecture at the Global Place conference in an unseasonably warm Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Joshua Kauffman has posted an excellent summary of the event here). THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT Some of you may know Oliver Sacks’ book “The man who mistook his wife for […]

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The post-spectacular city

This is my lecture to a conference at Westergasfabriek, in Amsterdam, called Creativity and the City, on 25 September 2003. In Rajhastan, travelling storytellers go from village to village, unannounced, and simply start a performance when they arrive. Although each story has a familiar plot – the story telling tradition dates back thousands of years […]

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