Quick Hits Work Week 1

One habit, and one trend, make the idea of doing a round of the week's activities seem like quite a good idea. The habit: For the last five years I have written and / or collated my own and others' work into a document share with people in my division. That email is called Quick Hits. It actually turns out to be quite a useful thing to do to share information about what you've been up to with people who you don't work with directly, in other teams or other continents. Ex-colleagues reading this will be quite tickled that I've taken what was often a much hated chore to get done last thing on a Friday evening and voluntarily elected to do it. That, my friends, is called 'freedom' and self determination. 

The trend: It's also become de rigour in some quarters for individuals and small businesses to write weekly reports on what's going on. Of course, I'd never want to be an unthinking follower of fashion (!) but at least for the meantime, I'd like to give it a go. As a way of recording to myself, and others, what's going on, what I'm achieving (or failing to get done) and how I'm feeling about life the other side of the fence.  

So, in my first week as unofficially un-salaried I'm pleased to say that things have got off to a good start. I have to be honest, by the end of Tuesday, just a few hours into this new working life I was having some early doubts. By the end of Wednesday – a few nice, unexpected emails later, things began to take on an altogether different complexion. 

I've had some top meetings with some great people. I've started writing a proposal for a long term engagement looking at technology for the digital excluded, which promises research, policy engagement and prototyping activities. I'm also talking to some other interesting design firms about some collaborations. More on that next week. 

I had a truly fascinating meeting with some people who've been doing some agent based modelling to help shape behaviour challenges in issues of major importance, particularly public health. I left that one meeting feeling utterly vindicated by my decision to move on and work on a broader portfolio of things. Hopefully more to come on that as it develops. 

 On the policy side I'm looking forward to continuing to be involved in the Centre for Policy Studies ageing work, and I've got some speaking stuff lined up with a talk on person-centred approaches to health and care innovation on Prof. James Barlow's Msc on Healthcare Innovation at Imperial College Business School in early February. 

 And, in the cracks I've made lots of progress on an outline business plan for my start up. There's more work to be done here than I can shake lots of sticks at but I'm making progress. 

On the downside I've been reminded that I now have to run my own IT having had the lazy pleasure of relying on Intel's first class IT infrastructure and technical support. Perhaps next week a trip to the Genius Bar on Regent's Street will see me getting my mail accounts to sync using MobileMe. 

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Finally, here's a bit of linkage to stuff that I've enjoyed looking at or found useful and inspiring (or depressing) this week 

Tom Hulme from IDEO goaded lots of people to co-create a presentation jam packed with good tools for start ups. It's a really useful document, take a look.

I also enjoyed his video on how technology changes business models, via the rather interesting looking Hackfwd VC fund. 

 This podcast of Martha Naussbaum in conversation with Alain de Botton (thanks Prospect) is worth reviewing too. How depressing though to learn that the Browne report, which recommended the end of direct funding for undergraduate teaching in the arts and humanities, a decision that seems to have been widely ignored what with all the brouhaha about fees, spent a mere £62k on research. The lion's share of which was on a survey of future students and parents. What a crime, and how depressingly ironic, to make such a big decision with no strong input from the sort of researchers and disciplines he is vandalising. 

And so to week two. I'm enjoying this change. More please….