Priest in the Church of England. Trustee SPCK. Father, husband, son. "Small acts of Good change the world."

Category: work (Page 1 of 2)

St. Mary-the-Virgin, Kenton – The End.

Well. Here we are. At the end of my curacy and about to start the next chapter. The problem with new chapters is that they inevitably mean leaving behind the last. Sometimes, that’s easy. Sometimes the last chapter wasn’t grand and it’s a huge relief to turn the page. But often it’s very tough.

St. Mary’s welcomed us from Hereford after a rather tough time. Things hadn’t gone to plan and whilst the vast majority of people in Hereford became dear friends there were a small monitory of people who made life very difficult for us. We arrived broken and exhausted. But Fr. Edward swept us up, rescued us from that period and patched us up with his enthusiasm and deep love.

Within a very short period of time we were made to feel part of the family. We were embraced and loved; encouraged and lifted aloft on a wave of friendship, passion and a deep understanding of the message of Jesus Christ in practice.

Bishop Jonathan and Bishop Sarah made a place for us in The Diocese of London and we are are over the moon that we can now make a more permanent home here.

We are heartbroken to be leaving St. Mary’s and its wonderful people – it’s been so hard to do so without a party… something St. Mary’s does so well! We will be coming back to St. Mary’s later in the year when lockdown permits and we will have that party, tell stories, laugh and cry together.

Over the last few months St. Mary’s and St. Anselm’s have become close family and we pray that will continue after lockdown.

Innovating on R&D

in response to Frank and the comments from my last post, not to mention a few more conversations with interesting people.

from David Reece on flickr.com

from David Reeves on flickr.com

It’s interesting that the two comments from Phil and Jonathan on my lat post are both from developers. People who’s very job is to ‘innovate’. We’re all told we must innovate, in everything that we do. If you develop you must write innovative code. If you’re creative (thanks Frank) you must create in an innovative way, and importantly if you’re a manager you must innovate your management.

It’s this last one that’s interesting. As developers and people who’s very essence of being is about doing new things, we’ve (developers & creatives) been hearing the innovation mantra for quite few years. But management, well that’s a bit more recent.

Whilst we think the principles of Research & Development are those of innovation, managers, finance and marketing don’t see it that way. What managers see when they hear R&D is 10% of their budget going away, to a team of people, disconnected from the organisation, who are working on stuff that will have an impact in the medium term (if they’re lucky) and the long term more probably.

So the term ‘innovation’ simply becomes (as my boss put it) the lens through which we view the basic tenants of R&D. R&D by it’s very nature is an osmotic process, ‘pure’ R&D (pure = academic?) could be something isolated in a lab – but the findings and work carried out in that lab are nothing, if they’re not shared and peer reviewed. Academics are used to working in this ‘pure’ form – but what about us? Our industry moves far to quickly for us to adopt a model that can take months to produce a finding, a finding which has been tested, reviewed, and tested again – before being published for peer review and replication.

So is innovation, simply a way to communicate that R&D in the ‘new world’ is a distributed medium, that carries out it’s peer review in an open, faster, forum than the traditional ‘pure’ science journals? Is ‘innovation’ simply a way to allow everyone, regardless of what they do in an organisation, a chance to carry out R&D?

I’m not sure there’s a tension between ‘pure’ R&D and innovation – but we should make an attempt to ensure that the very things that make R&D so vital to the future of a company are not lost in the clamor to make sure you ‘appear’ innovative. In other words. Let’s make sure innovation is a tool, or a lens, that we use to communicate our work; but does not become the petard we end up hoisting ourselves up.

What the hell is Innovation?

From AussieGold on Flickr

From AussieGold on Flickr

I don’t even know why I’ve given it a capital. Innovation (had to there), is meaningless. It has been since marketeers started using it to describe anything that may be vaguely new or interesting, or ‘thinking’ that was vaguely new or interesting, or perhaps, just interesting. It could be thinking about the future, or thinking about the future in a new way. Or EVEN thinking about our thinking, on the thinking for the future.

Seriously. WTF? What is Innovation, that Research & Development isn’t?

I’m genuinely interested in if anyone else shares my growing hate of the word. Please tell me, what’s the difference? Why can’t we be Research & Development?

Answers on a post-card please.

So I’m leaving the BBC….

Melbourne City Scape by Andrew Hux …. I never thought I’d say those words again, after one brief stint (18 months) a couple of years ago, I found I missed the rather amazing atmosphere and creative people.

There’s lots that can get on your nerves about the BBC (generally it’s finance), but none of that stops it being one of the most amazing places to work in the world, it’s easily the best place to work in the UK – and therein is the problem.

There was frankly no-one in the UK that could have got me out of the beeb, not with buckets of cash and technology that would have made me cry… but then along came Lonely Planet and devised a role that I simply had to go for, and thankfully have got!

So from the start of October I’ll be the new Innovation Ecosystem Manager for Lonely Planet based out of Melbourne in Australia – it’s all rather cool 🙂

Ashley is moving on

I’ve almost deliberately not blogged about my super boss leaving the BBC and heading for pastures new – he’s off to run Kangaroo. But with the amount of traffic and questions I’m getting from the nice people of the press perhaps this is the easiest place to comment.

There’s been a massive amount of talk in the developer community about who should replace himIan points out the Tech Crunch article where Mike has written an open letter asking for us to open more of the data that the license fee payer has already paid for – I don’t want to have a go at Mike too much because he’s put me on a list of people (vote now!) who could replace Mr Highfield – Mr Cridland is leading the way right now.

However, it’s a wonderful thought, and Mr Forrester and I have been working really hard to make that happen for the last 18 months – the BBC actually has a department set up to make this happen – it’s called backstage.bbc.co.uk – but it’s not as effective as it could be. Lots more work to do on opening our stuff. But there’s a shift happening and it’s really cool. Developers inside the organisation feel as strongly about this as start-ups and developers outside do – we all want to make our stuff available, in the best format and easiest method for people to re-use.

For the first time since I’ve been back at the beeb there’s a real vibe about making that happen. Mr Highfield has supported that, in fact he’s actively encouraged it to happen, both in the broader ‘making things happen’ sense and in the more practical making money available to run things like Mashed. He has a massive amount of respect from me for doing just that, and I’m sad to see him leave.

As for his successor – that’s not for me to say – there will be a group of people vastly more qualified than me to make that decision – I’m always happy to comment and proffer my extensive (ha ha ha!) knowledge should I be asked – but I wont be doing that in public. Sorry.

Content 360 Zapping show

CIMG2846So here I am at the show… it’s live over at miptv.com

It’s a rather strange set – dressed as it is to give the results in a mastermind style – very odd.

More here as it happens.

Photo’s as they go up over at – http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattcashmore/

So very strange so far – but by far the best way I’ve seen to present what can be a very boring set of awards – great for those involved (they get cash) but not for those of us in the audience.

It’s descended into even more strangeness here as we reach half time – a really funny way to give away prizes – throw your business card (I forgot mine!) at the stage and get a helicopter ride or a mobile phone… now back to the awards. (Photos on the flickr stream of this happening)

CIMG2858He he…. Ashley has just been pulled up on stage and described as Yoda 🙂

Just noticed that Ingrid – the able assistant on-stage keeps changing her tee-shirt – quite funny and slightly odd – wondering if there’s a reason behind it.

On-stage host is turning into a bit of a letch…. but to be fair… Jason DaPonte is a very attractive man 😉

Winners (BBC only):

  • Mass Participation – Poltergeist 360
  • Advanced mobile interaction with TV Content – Coded Vision
  • New forms of web-based audio and video aggregation – Microstations
  • New IPTV Concepts – Interactive Programme Templates

That’s it from the BBC categories – I’ll sign off now as the new Asus is complaining that its battery is low 🙁

Great event, very well put together and lots of fun.

Mr Huggers

CIMG2807Currently sat in a presentation by Erik Huggers at mipTV – very informative and a fantastic overview of what FM&T is currently doing.

In fact, I’m learning stuff about our business that I didn’t even know we were exploring…. perhaps we should make this available internally?

In my haste to get this post up yesterday I forgot to mention that the big announcement that Erik made during the speech was that we’ve been working with Nintendo to make the iPlayer available on the Wii – I’ve known about this for a while but keep forgetting we’ve not told anyone publically!!!

You can read about it over on BBC News

Content 360 at mipTV

CIMG2800So I’m in Cannes, yes okay it’s the south of France, I have a tough job (it’s not very nice here as it happens – wind and rain). But today I’ve sat through all the pitches for the BBC within content 360.

Having run labs this year it’s interesting to see the ideas that are being pitched to the same briefs I’ve already spent two weeks working on with diverse companies in the UK – and I have another two weeks of working on them.

The same commissioners are here, broadly looking at the same ideas and I’m beginning to wonder how much of a pain it is for large organizations like the BBC to interact in a meaningful way with indies – the current models are unsustainable as we require more and more time from commissioners to look at ideas that at this early stage are very weak or simply just not for the BBC.

How can we pull all this together, or at the very least insert a filter further down the line without losing the gem of a fantastic idea.

I think there’s some lessons we can learn here – I’m just not sure what they are yet.

Runners for Over the Air

I’ve come in rather late to the organising of Over the Air, but I’ve dropped a few other things and am lending Ian a hand in getting this thing rocking.

What I need now though is 10 runners willing to work two 12 hour shifts on the 4th and 5th April (not this weekend, the one after).

So if you’re interested or know someone who wants to earn some cash and have some fun at a BBC event (it’s going to be hard work) then drop me a note. 

Private Titus

The rather cool Richard Titus (man behind the design of the new BBC Homepage) has made the big time.

Nope I’m talking about a quote in The Times, or a mention in the cirucluars, rather he has been quoted in Private Eye.

Nick over at the BBC Internet Blog pointed it out and talked about how quotes can sound bloody stupid if taken out of context.

Birt Speak

He also points out that this actually makes sense to him, and if that makes him a Birtist then so be it (he’s been called worse). But you know what… it does make sense even out of context. We want to build a homepage, or rather the scaffholding for a new homepage, that aligns itself with the increased use of dynamic, customisable websites.

So does that make me a Birtist?

Update: James Cridland is thinking much the same thing.

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