Tuesday 19 October 2010

These are my dreams, tell me yours?

If there were no barriers, what would I do?
  • I'd turn all libraries into digital but also physical hubs. Libraries are valuable assets taking up valuable space, usually somewhere near the centre of our towns and cities. Put a coffee bar in. Put a wireless network in. Invite people to use the space as temporary passing office space for start ups. Ask people to use them as digital training spaces for free. Stick a Social Media Surgery in there for good measure. Use the librarians as curators of locally relevant digital content as well as physical books which also still have their place, though funding restrictions will mean that no library will be able to stock everything, instead authorities will need to ensure book stocks can be quickly and easily distributed between locations. A lady called Jane kicked this idea off. Andy helped shape it. Someone called @amyrsward tripped it.
  • I'd stick tiny little sensor pads at the bottom of all grit bins programmed to transmit a signal when the weight pressing on the sensor dropped below a certain pre-specified pounds per square inch. I'd stick a GPS transponder in there. I'd link it to a map on a supervisors dashboard so that he was notified visually when any grit bin fell below a pre-defined level. I'd use the mapping to progamme a route to all red flagged grit bins each morning to fill them up, taking fuel and carbon emissions into account. With thanks to Charlotte Gilhooly for collaborative joy.
  • I'd use the underneaths of street sweepers and refuse trucks to attach a sonar device to, and then get that to report back on potholes in the road that they drive over. A lass called Caroline came up with this one.
  • I'd make it so that everyone had the ability to book self service GP and nurse slots at their local surgery over the web to save on queuing and costs of telephone conversations.
  • I'd create a conversational framework for GP's and consultants where auditable conversations could happen on whether people needed to be referred in the first place and ensuring that people were given the correct priority in the queue.
  • I'd create wiki's for professional Networks in the NHS so that professionals nationwide could share best practice and knowledge. I'd stick a tunnel in there for 3rd sector so they could join in on the conversation too.
  • I'd make all patient records digital, and enable comments on all entries in a record, accesible by the lead GP, any consultants involved in care and the patient themselves.
And that's just for starters. Digital consultations, digital clinics, digital mentors. Across farming, education, environment, carbon, leisure, entertainment....a thousand things, a thousand ideas, all of them currently impossible.

One day they will be possible. If anything were possible, what would you do?

With thanks to Adrian Short for the bravery pill.


  1. If I could do anything? Why, I would fibre up the country, remove the copper bottlenecks that enable an obsolete phone network to hold this country to ransom. I would employ all the openreach staff to lay the fibre, together with all the unemployed. This in turn would create new jobs for innovative productive work instead of dead end jobs protecting an out of date business model and copper cabal who is only interested in shareholders. They don't even pay much tax because of the pension deficit they could pay off in a year if they chose to. Once we were all on fibre instead of copper we would be on gigabits, not a pathetic meg or two. The digital economy could thrive. Folk wouldn't have to worry about noisy lines breaking the connection, or distance from cabinets and exchanges. The information superhighway would open up and just WORK. Everyone young and old could get a connection EASILY and use it for whatever they liked. Films through a tv, or work, or play.
    Yup, that's what I would do. And then you could do your thing too.

  2. :O) You are, of course, absolutely right. I was talking to someone this evening about this. I grew up in Somerset, school was a 30 mile round trip each day. If I think about what being digitally connected could have allowed me to do....

    Am so so so pleased Cumbria got what it needed and deserved today. A beautiful place is a beautiful place but for a place to remain sustainable it must have more than a tourist economy, it must have a resistant and sustainable economy. If people can't get to you cos of foot and mouth or flooding, sell to them via the web instead. Keep things ticking over, keep reminding people you exist. Enable space to become outside influence resistant and it becomes sustainable.

    But you know all of this. Is there anything I can tell you that you don't? :O)

  3. Good to see this!

    I'd ensure that a digital version of every public document (form, leaflet, newsletter, whatever) was online and that the print version had a barcode and a human-readable URL on it. Sometimes you want paper. Sometimes you want a digital document. Sometimes you want both. It's great to be able to skip between them easily. Messed up filling out a paper form? Download another one. See an interesting poster or leaflet but don't want to carry it? Scan the barcode or type in the URL and off you go.

    Your pothole idea could be done with cyclists with handlebar-mounted smartphones. Use the accelerometer in the smartphone to measure the vibration in the unit which will give a profile of the bumps in the road. Match it up with the GPS and push all the data up to a big anonymised pothole datastore in the cloud.

  4. Document barcodes. So simple, so beautiful. Love it. Absolutely love it.
    I do think the way we map potholes and record them needs to change. I'm just not sure they're quite ready for our ideas yet ;O)