Social capital & the strength of weak ties

Following a RT from the Herdmeister this presentation has much to get your head around.  For me the exploration of weak and strong ties, social capital and norms echoes a book on economics I read on holiday last week ( I know, I have a real life on order, just Amazon couldn’t deliver in time) – Diane Coyle’s “The Soulful Science”.

From the slideshow it looks like the Guardian are trying to measure connectedness, a theme of econometrics geeks as well. As behavioural economics inches closer to social sciences and indeed social marketing there is a niche market opening up perhaps…

Oh and Diane Coyle has one mention of transport planners in the 250+ pages, in the concluding section on where economic research has “improved policy and made people’s lives better”:

“Not all transport planners make use of good economics, but where they have the efficiency and impact of the schemes has been transformed”

Thanks, that will be us then 🙂

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Measurement

It is a truism that there’s no shortage of advice on social media measurement, just not one silver bullet solution that everyone gets… coming at this from a real world engineering perspective I understand the difficulties, just as I am impatient for a solution.

Looking for answers I noted that this post even mentions the traditional engineers approach, not just asking what is being measured, but why are we measuring it?

For example is this guy right in his chosen objectives in his slideshare presentation, Social Media ROI? That link came from we are social and again this month their blog focuses on measurement. I like their approach to dis-aggregating the different media impacts, depending on whether you are looking for a quick hit or long term relationship:

Working on a campaign in Brighton with our friends at Qube I have been doing my own research on social marketing measurement just so I can understand the questions I have to ask as a client – “What does success look like?”

I keep coming back to the resources on Measurementcamp, I can just about see how you can measure the success of selling a product through SM, for example, but not so sure about pushing a concept or position ( “think how you travel”)?

This is a Sunday morning  “where do I go next” blog post, fuelled by a big mug of tea and pain au chocolat…

Guzzi Cafe Racers

Moto Guzzi retro – an ongoing fascination which has yet to result in a project bike in my garage, but it is only a matter of time…

From Firestarter Garage – the Zero

and a V11:

modern Guzzi cafe racer/streetfighter, also from Firestarter

and this what I am after – shiny 🙂 

Re:Vision

I have just returned from a few days in Little Rock and since I lived there many years ago the city centre, like many US cities, is starting to come back from the loss of confidence in urban living in the 70’s. However apart from the Clinton Library and some regen of the riverside areas (usual makeover aimed at tourists) it appears to me that there is no radical new architecture or cohesive planning being applied – locals please correct me if I have missed something?

There is a US model to follow – Dallas.

With its recent urban regeneration completions under the generic Urban Re:Vision title – the latest is scheme is a design competition for urban living for otherwise uninspiring one city block (see above) – Re:Vision – this gives rise for optimism about urban planning in US cities away from the usual suspects – Portland, etc. As the Urban Vision people say:

“What if one block in Texas became the sustainable model for the world?” 

(of course it would be more relevant if one block in Delhi became the sustainable model for the world, but we get the point…)

Previous competitions include designs for transport, energy, construction. One of those competitions, Re:Route, considered urban transport with a good mix of deliverable schemes and fanciful architects ideas (says the cynical transport planner).

Driving to a better place

I read about Shai Agassi’s plans for electric cars in Wired last summer and while it is high profile, with big name partners including Nissan Renault, I just wondered whether it was another software millionaire playing with cars (see Tesla as exhibit A). His plans are set out in more detail at betterplace.com , including a high minded vision:

  • A world living free from oil.
  • A planet healing and thriving.
  • And our environment and economy brought back into balance with each other.

The video of his speech is found on TED and it is worth watching for the undoubted enthusiasm – oil free nations such as Israel and Denmark by 2020 is the dream – I am still just a bit cynical (surprise). Key aims are affordable and convenient, no new science, using existing battery tech. Charging points everywhere so you can always charge and easy battery swaps, like gas stations.  All good in theory…

What is interesting is the willingness to go with an open source, but standards based infrastructure approach. A lot of the solutions being supported by programmes such as the UK’s Technology Strategy Board  Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Project will play into the hands of monopoly suppliers.

BTW Wired are launching a new UK print version this month – how brave is that? I remember the short lived Wired UK from 1995, but then I was the only subscriber 🙂

Intellectual Property

One of the most telling moments at Mipim this week was the Innovation seminar. Now seminars at Mipim are never that well attended – theres deals to be done, wine to drink – but even so less than 100 people in a big room reminded me of the industries weaknesses – introversion, conservatism, complacency.

The speaker, Robert Newhart II, an American innovation evangelist, preached a pretty mainstream spin on innovation (and creativity) compared to some of the more edgy stuff we hear in the UK, whether from Nesta or the social marketing sector. Drawing on his “Free Radicals of Innovation”  film, there were examples – the usual suspects – Apple, Sony, Nike – and the theme was the usual “innovate or die”, more innovation when times are tough, etc, with quotes from Darwin, Edison, Einstein as well as video clips with Guy Kawasaki (yep, him again). Not bad as an advert for the Innovation Center.org, but not sure the real estate guys got anything from it.

So what else did I see?  – lots of glass towers optimistically proposed for small towns in eastern Europe, big Russian stands, but fewer Russians, Boris Johnson positive and idiosyncratic as usual, UK public sector led regen strong, a lot less money men and yes just a few people saying there are good schemes coming forward. But as Newhart says too many think its “keep your head down and in two years time you can carry on as before” – no, the old model is not only broke, but gone.

As for the anticipated Twitter #Mipim buzz it didn’t really happen – a few from individuals, the magazines – especially BD &  Estates Gazette, but maybe everyone was too “busy” to report their progress minute by minute. Most were saying “its less busy, but the key players are still here” – perhaps justification for the bosses back home?

Now back to the real world for me too…

Smarter, faster, younger

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It is with some quiet satisfaction I report that a Japanese study (admittedly sponsored by Yamaha) led by the nueroscientist behind Nintendo DS Brain Training, Ryuta  Kawashima, has tested a number of middle aged men who after returning to motorcycling  saw improvements in memory, information processing and concentration functions. 

The riders said they made fewer mistakes at work and felt happier.

Kawashima said “Our final conclusion is that riding motorcycles can lead to smart ageing.” So can I get some tax breaks on my health plan that involves more motorcycling?

Also in the comments on Hell for Leather– “you don’t stop riding because you get old, you get old because you stop riding”

and another cafe racer image for the fans out there – Ala Verda – Norton Commando engine, Laverda frame: