The past week has been a showcase of British Olympic ambition, not just on the track, field and water, but also in the opening ceremony.
Danny Boyle reminded us of the things to be proud of in Britain- the inventiveness, the turbulence, the dissenting angularity and humour - and it has also been a time to see Britain at its most likeable. I've had a couple of trips to the Olympic Park to soak up the sheer exhilaration of it all.
Our Olympic-linked event was a UK/US conference on venture capital and innovation that Nesta helped organise with BIS and UKTI. I chaired a lively session with participants in VC and digital technologies from both sides of the Atlantic, including Ben Tompkins from Eden Ventures, Neil Capel of Sailthru and Hussein Kanji from Hoxton Ventures.
The session confirmed both how buzzing Europe now is in internet ventures. London is the main centre for deals and start-ups, from Spotify to Mail Ru, but followed not far behind by Berlin. But the US, and California, remains where the digital economy is being made, and so any new venture at some points needs a strategy for entering the US market.
The other challenge, as Nesta's research has shown, is that the VC industry on both sides of the Atlantic remains becalmed. The Internet sector is doing well. But overall VC remains heavily dependent on public subsidy and isn't delivering the returns.
The future of technology in health
The next day brought the Global Health Policy Forum at the Guildhall, and a session on digital technologies in health, with Paul Wicks from Patientslikeme and who runs the UK's Department of Health. All agreed that much of the most interesting innovation is coming from the south - particularly east Africa and India and around the mobile phone.
The earler phase of applying consumerist models to healthcare was giving way to more creative thinking about behaviour change and coproduction. Confidence in personal data was likely to be the biggest sticking point - and there was a consensus that the Cloud couldn't be used for health. But given that we were discussing digital technologies I couldn't help wondering where in the health system was ready to let innovators under 25 make the running, as is normal in the world of the Internet.
A few days ago we held a celebration for the Alliance for Useful Evidence, now fully underway. The speakers who included BIS Minister David Willetts emphasised the challenges that make it hard to fully use evidence - how patchy it often is, the tensions with politics and public opinion, and indeed how most of us ignore evidence in our own lives.
But those barriers make it all the more important that we try to orchestrate evidence to make it useful and used. We take it for granted that reason is generally seen as a good thing .
But the day of our event a furore was breaking out on the other side of the Atlantic over the Texas Republicans commitment to eliminating critical thinking from the school curriculum on the grounds that it leads students to question their beliefs. Indeed it does.