Running on air at the opening ceremony
The Paralympics are crowding our TV screens and grabbing the headlines.
Does it change anything? Of course.
- Accessibility: When we watch the Olympics, these are people who have been well funded, had every opportunity and reach heights that most of us could never aspire too. As I watch people with missing limbs, missing sight, debilitating diseases with my children, there really is no reason for not participating in sport. If they can, so can we. By covering the Paralympics in the depth they have, the media is playing a part in inspiring a generation. It will be interesting to see whether sports organisations rise to the opportunity and keep up the media pressure.
- Role models: Every person at the Paralympics has had hurdles to cross (and not just the hurdlers!). These guys are getting their five minutes of fame – let’s hope this lasts. I’ve seen suggestions that they are knocking the C-list celebrities (The WAGs) off their normal perch. Only time will tell, but hopefully some will now go on and become A- listers – the kinds of role models that have earned their fame.
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So yet another network has gone down. Hot on the heels of Blackberry, O2′s network left people with silent phones.
It’s pretty unforgiveable: after the Blackberry farce, all network operators should have been checking that they had built in ‘redundancy’ in their networks for just this kind of thing. And testing their crisis communications plans.
I’m sure that the guys on the ground at O2 will have worked through the night to try and get things back up and running, but it appears their comms teams were tucked up in bed.
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The first sessions of the morning are done. There were some great talks, and some fantastic big thinking
I’m sat outside the next lot of talks at the Guardian’s Activate conference typing this up, partly because I’ve got some things come in that absolutely need to be dealt with. And partly because I need to get this off my chest.
I love tech. I love being around technologists. I love how people use media, whether traditionally or otherwise. And I love people’s creativity and vision. And most of all, I love people finding ways to make the world a better place. There have been some amazing talks and amazing applications on show at Activate. But you know there’s going to be a but, right….?
Guardian Activate has lofty ambitions. Changing the world with technology.
But we are so in danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
We’ve seen how the Government, recognising that it’s not been fully in touch with technology trends, now employs teams of 18 year olds to code for it. This is great. But at 18, you haven’t seen how businesses work. You have a narrower view of the world that you will have in seven years time. This is no bad thing if it’s managed well. Harness the ‘stupid question’ – why are we doing this? couldn’t we take it that way instead? – but not at the expense of the guy who’s been there 25 years and has seen the mistakes being made, several times over. Sure, he may be living in the past, and a bit hard to bring along with you. But his experience is invaluable and could shortcut several years worth of expensive mistakes, along with giving you some insight into how people less accustomed to newer technologies might view them. Assuming, of course, that he hasn’t got both the history AND the insight into new technologies (yes, I know – radical thought!).
Thus far at Activate there’s been a lot of focus on new ideas and applications of technologies, but little for how we manage it. Paul Clarke recently wrote an article, which suggested that we all start to think through how we make things happen. Who better than the guy who’s got the war wounds to help?
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From Jamie Oliver's School Dinners Campaign
It is, of course, The PR story of the week. A young girl – Martha Payne – runs a blog, Never Seconds. On it, she covers her school dinners. It’s a sweet blog, intended originally for friends and family, but grown.
(My own son runs a blog, and I’m hugely impressed by the commitment she has shown to it. Despite his passion for the topic matter, my son usually finds something else to do with his time. Time must be the curse of bloggers everywhere, but the simple easy style of Never Seconds - a photo and meal rating – is perhaps the reason it’s sustainable. Note for anyone thinking of blogging.)
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