What if the problem with the economy is that good businesses can’t grow and bad businesses can’t shrink?
This week (12 September 2012) Nesta held the first of its UK road show events in Scotland and I reflected on what I had heard and learned from the day. If you missed it, you can watch the day here. Thanks to the many organisations and people who turned out to support the event- we try and bring together the 'unusual suspects' to work together to support innovation and this is reflected in the day.
A competition is being run by a start-up to find a new start-up that will itself be groundbreaking in their industry, and will be provided with substantial launch-funding, showered with contacts and mentors/advisers – all in the glare of publicity.
People often think that the upper reaches of government are glamorous - the sort of world portrayed in Spooks and The West Wing. This amazing video which shows it more like The Thick of It is also one of the best short introductions to modern geopolitics:
There's a lot happening this autumn around evidence, with the Alliance for Useful Evidence moving into full operation, and a likely spread of 'evidence centres' around government. The UK position is a lot more promising than it looked likely a year or two ago. By contrast the US presidential election is not particularly heart-warming for those who believe in facts and evidence.
The autumn began with the very welcome news that Nesta had made a substantial profit through the sale of Sirigen - another hit for our venture investments team, which is steadily growing its role.
I did my PhD from 1998-2001 comparing welfare reform in Buffalo, New York State to Sheffield in the UK. When asking to explain how the two systems were different for the lone parents experiencing them and which was more successful my short-hand was that the mandatory US system was better at moving lone parents into work, whilst the UK voluntary system of the then New Deal for Lone Parents was better at lifting lone parents out of poverty. So really, it depended on what your end game was.
I've been reading Tim Harford, (the 'Undercover Economist's) most recent book: 'Adapt: Why success always starts with failure', and I've relished the insights that behavioural economics offers about the real reasons why people make the choices they do.
As a bit of a social media geek, I loved following tweets and chatting online about Olympic events as I watched the action unfold. Dubbed by organisers as 'The Social Olympics', applications like Twitter have been used in way not seen before at an Olympics.
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