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Presenting the YouTube of Radio: Mixcloud

A couple of posts back the head of our team, Carol Patrick reviewed the event 'Innovate 09', click here to read the post. Nikhil Shah was a speaker at the event and has kindly agreed to write a blog post on his company 'Mixcloud' - how it was started, the current success and future aspirations of the company. Happy reading!


The founders of Mixcloud - friends from Cambridge University - were frustrated with how hard it was discovering and promoting radio online. As radio presenters and DJs themselves, they were actively hunting down great shows every day and realised more could be done to help connect this content to listeners.

A year ago they quit their full time jobs and moved into a warehouse in West London to fix these problems. Their vision is to build the YouTube of radio - a definitive online platform for on-demand radio shows, from music to talk.

A few months ago they launched an invite only version of the site to start building the content and community. Demand has been high with invites shared extensively on sites like Twitter. They now have thousands of content partners and presenters, including Diesel Radio, former BBC Radio 1 presenter Chris Coco, leading music blogs such as Curb Crawlers, great record labels such as Border Community and many more.

The shows currently lean towards club music and DJs, given the founders' background in organising clubnights and warehouse parties. However they are already working on expanding the breadth of content and are in discussions with big house-hold names.

Mixcloud have an interesting view on the future of radio and are innovating to disrupt the traditional ways people discover and interact with the medium. They describe the concept as "Cloud Radio" and the content as "Cloudcasts", which are stored in hard-drives in the sky - the "cloud" - and accessible on-demand, anywhere.

Mixcloud is democratic - anyone can upload to the site and the listeners decide who get exposed. It is social - with lots of great features to share and discover radio through friends. Finally it is personal - the team are busy in the lab working on cool radio recommendation algorithms that help users find shows they love.

- A special thank you for Nikhil Shah for this blog post, and if you would like more information you can contact him at nikhil at mixcloud dot com.


Top picture: The Mixcloud logo - a cloud with sound brackets at the side.
Bottom picture: A screenshot of the Mixcloud home page showing the Mixcloud logo, popular content and featured content.


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So if you have 5 minutes to spare (it will literally take you that long!) head over to our questionnaire on Survey Monkey and fill out your answers!


All of your answers will remain confidential and will only be read by the Technology, Research and Transformation Team. If you have any queries or comments about the survey, please contact Kirsty Russell at kirstyjoanna.russell@kent.gov.uk.

Picture: A question mark within a black and white circle, with thanks to Leo Reynolds for publishing on Flickr under a Creative Comms license some rights reserved.



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Event Review: Innovate 09

The 2nd national Innovate event to be held at the Business Design Centre in Islington took place on 13th October.

As always it attracted a high calibre of speakers and exhibitors across a range of innovation themes. Everything ran smoothly except the strange devices that were given to everyone to help them track down colleagues, share business cards and store information. Unfortunately many of the delegates (me included) experienced problems with them and several appeared to be left on chairs and tables round the Centre.

The Creative Industries workshop proved very popular. It showcased several prototype innovations including a video archiving system, a wiki for radio, an interactive satnav system and some intuitive middleware for i-phones.

The panel debate on ‘growth opportunities in a Digital Britain’ was interesting and suggested that there were lots of opportunities and challenges out there for those that wanted to take the risk. I agreed with Stephen Dodson from DC10 Plus that a lot of the emerging applications were now outstripping the abilities of broadband to support them, especially when mobile. Something for further consideration in our increasingly ‘mobile centric ‘world ?

Lord Mandleson gave the pre lunch key note speech. In a suddenly packed auditorium he extolled the virtues of partnership working, the need for more innovative procurement processes and less silo mentality.

The afternoon session ended with a workshop on developing innovative ideas . Again this was very well attended by a range of people who offered some lively contributions.

Copies of the debates can still be currently found at www.innovate09.co.uk.

Thank you to Carol Patrick for the review of the event. Look out for our upcoming article on Mixcloud by Nikhil Shah who was a speaker at Innovate 09.

Picture: The Innovate 09 logo - 'Innovate 09' written in a turquoise color surrounded by a circle of 8 multicoloured dots.


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Still Picking and Mixing!

'Pic and Mix' Update - Help yourself to government data

Many of you will have heard about 'Pic and Mix', but for those of you who have managed to avoid my pleas for data, I’ll briefly re-cap on what the project is all about.

There’s a great deal of information and data available to the public, from bus routes and GP information, through to recycling statistics and Ofsted reports. All this information is freely available to the public but not necessarily easy to find. Part of the 'Pic and Mix' project looks to make this information accessible online from a single place. But in addition to making information available for download, 'Pic and Mix' makes the data available in a format which allows people to ‘mash’, personalise and share information.

Imagine being able to select data relating to care homes in Kent, adding inspection reports, and the location of nearby support services. Having easy access to this type of information would help people make decisions about things that really matter and more importantly, empower them to me more informed and engaged with their community.

That’s what 'Pic and Mix' is all about.

There are more than 350 datasets on the 'Pic and Mix' website and we have started to promote the site more widely than the pilot group. We’re getting great feedback to our Tweets and were even mentioned in a BBC article! The priority now is to get more people using the site and personalising our data. We’re also still on the never-ending hunt for more data so manage non-sensitive data that may be of interest to the people of Kent, please get in touch. Your feedback on what we’ve done so far would be great and you can keep up to date with the project by following our tweets.

- A special thank you to Paula Rixon for this update on the Pic N Mix project. If you would like to know more about the project, you can contact Paula at Paula.rixon@kent.gov.uk or 01622 696934.

Picture: A Pic N Mix stall showing a variety of sweets with metal scoops resting on top, with thanks to Christophe Dune for publishing on Flickr under a Creative Commons license some rights reserved.


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Top 5 Delicious Links - Knowledge Management & Sharing

This is the beginning of a long and fruitful (hopefully!) series on the Team's top 5 Delicious Links on the topics we are researching into.

To start the ball rolling, here are our top 5 links on Knowledge Management and Sharing:


1) If you do one thing this week…Share your knowledge

Part of a series called ‘If you do one thing this week…’ on The Guardian's website, gives a great overview of why more organisations should encourage employees to share knowledge between themselves and the barriers that need to be overcome. Learn More.

2) Mining the Web for Feelings, Not Facts

Very interesting article on how the rise of blogs, social media sites such as Twitter and reviews has led to a ‘collective consciousness’ of internet users and has given rise to a new field, ‘sentiment analysis’.

Example: a quick search on Tweetfeel, for example, reveals that 77 percent of recent tweeters liked the movie “Julie & Julia.” Learn More.

3) The sum of knowledge -- online and accessible, no less

Exciting technological project – software has been created which can join and make millions of documents from hundreds of companies accessible - it has the potential to make the whole of mankind’s knowledge reachable! Learn More.

4) MyConnections: The jazzed up online phonebook

A case study on how Oxfordshire County Council replaced their old centrally-managed online phonebook with a self-service staff directory – like a business Facebook – together with 'Communities of Practice' (CoP) and blog software for all staff. Truly inspirational, it shows how a problem can be dealt with and solved imaginatively incorporating social media tools. Learn More.

5) OurBournemouth

Up and coming project, OurBournemouth will allow people who are living in the area to put forward suggestions on issues important to them, which will not only bring it to the attention of those in their community but also their councillors who represent them. Learn More.

Picture: A cloud of what 'knowledge sharing' is, with thanks to Choconancy1 for publishing on Flickr under a Creative Commons license some rights reserved.


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Are you a young politician in the making?


Kent Youth County Council (KYCC) is a non-party political organisation, focusing on the issues of young people. KYCC members work closely with officers and elected members of the KCC, informing them of young people's issues and concerns. Each year there are 10 formal sittings of KYCC that take place in County Hall. There are also optional work groups and other meetings including KYCC meetings that take place at a district level encouraging the members to campaign and work on issues that affect young people in their constituencies.

Kent members of the UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) are elected for the KYCC by the members to take Kent issues to the national sitting.

The 2009 elections for KYCC will take place at 160 Polling Stations in the schools, youth centres and projects across Kent from 14-22 November.

This year sees the launch of the Communities of Interest seats where 12 young people will be elected to represent their communities in KYCC and bring a greater awareness of the issues that face young people in Kent.

The results will be announced on Saturday 28 November at a ceremony in Sessions House, County Hall.

Recent events:

National Youth Takeover Day - More than 500 organisations and 5000 children and young people joined the Children’s Commissioner for England to take part in the 11 MILLION Takeover Day in November. From chairing the Head Teacher conference to planning the County Council’s budget - children and young people took their place in the decision-making hot seat!

Positive Activities Select Committee Report - KYCC members recently joined the County Councillors in the chamber to discuss and advise on the provision of activities from young people around Kent.

Kent Cultural Summit - Invited to share and exchange views on the strengths and needs of culture in the County, as well as agree on the process of working with other agencies and have a consensus on high level issues.

Intergenerational Cohesion Seminar Meeting with 30 EU commissioners and members of the European parliament, KCC officers and researchers from the University of Kent. KYCC were invited to discuss the relationships between young and older people and how they can be developed.

- A special thank you to Marc Burrett for the blog post and the image. For more information please visit the KYCC homepage here.

Picture: KYCC cheering on the stairs in Sessions House, Maidstone.







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October Newsletter

i-News
The October Issue

Join us at http://transformedbyyou.blogspot.com to find out the latest innovations within Kent County Council and beyond.

Keeping You In The Know

All consuming Google? Google is currently testing a new gadget that will take information from devices such as smart meters, which are advanced meters that identify consumption in more detail than a conventional meter, collect it and make it more easily available. Learn More

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Clubbing for jobs? It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ is a phrase commonly heard when an individual is looking for a job. However, the networks that are needed for someone to get ‘a foot in the door’ of a particular job are not always accessible; here is one soluti
on: Job Clubs. Learn More.

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The key to a kin
der, more intelligent mankind? The effects of violence in gaming pops up frequently within the media, case studies include Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold who were allegedly obsessed with the video game ‘Doom’ and killed 12 students and a teacher. However, the question is, can gaming also influence pro-social behaviour or learning behaviour? Learn More. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Back to Blog Basics - Do the words ‘tags’ and widgets’ give you the shivers? Love a blog but are not sure how to ‘subscribe’? This post provides some useful advice on how to navigate your way around blogs…Learn More.

DC10plus – Rolling out Digital Inclusion Products - DC10plus is the national collaborative authority on Digital Inclusion issues and how they impact at a local level. DC10plus is now moving into its second phase of development which involves rolling out successfully developed products to new local authorities and their partners…Learn More.

Are you experienced? - PublicExperience is a great way to put your own experiences of public services and suggestions for how to improve them in front of the UK Innovators Council…Learn More. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Scratching that inquisitive itch…


Do they love bees?

Psychology is all around us, are there positive outcomes to gaming?

Who said all pop-ups need to be blocked?

The death of the book?

Don’t be another brick in the wall...

Can coffee and notes on paper tablecloths liven up meetings?

Can simulation lead to negotiation?

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Future Thinking

Keep your eyes peeled for articles on 'Neuroscience and Innovation' (which areas of the brain relate to using innovation) and the first of (hopefully!) a sequence of 'Top 5 Delicious Links' on areas we are working on: gaming, knowledge management, virtual trainers, etc! We will also be writing an update on our award winning project 'Pic N Mix'.
We don't know everything that is going on! So please tell us your innovative thoughts, projects, pilots and ideas.

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Have Your Say!


Do you want to shout about something? If it’s new and exciting let us know!


Email innovation@kent.gov.uk to unsubscribe, get your innovation featured or to add yourself to our mailing list.


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Are you in the Red Zone or the Blue Zone?





























The field of neuroscience has developed a great deal over the last decade and the findings are now beginning to influence how we teach and manage others.


In our brains there are two main sub-systems that we refer to as the “Red Zone” (amygdala) and the “Blue Zone” (pre-frontal cortex). The Red Zone evolved first in the brains of our reptilian ancestors, it is responsible for our flight or fight mechanism – our instinctive reaction to danger. When feeling anger, fear or depression MRI scans have shown the Red Zone to “light up”. The effects can also be seen physiologically, our breath becomes shallow and our muscles tense, internally dopamine and adrenaline are released into our system. It severely restricts our ability to think rationally and creatively, our responses will be instinctive and risk-averse.

The Blue Zone evolved later and provides humans with the ability to reflect and learn, it is the source of our creativity. When we are in this state we will generally feel calm, relaxed and better able to exercise judgement. In business it allows us the freedom to think constructively and plan for the future, during the recession we need to benefit from these faculties more than ever to ensure that we are able to create new businesses, new markets and a new economy having learnt from the mistakes of the past.

The brain only has enough energy to put into one zone at a time, understanding and being aware of what triggers each state in ourselves allows us to consciously manage our brains and our thinking.

The recession has offered many examples of organisations reverting to the Red Zone, daily newspaper headlines, TV reports and closing down signs have all literally affected our brains. The Red Zone is important in alerting us to danger and spurring us towards action, but it is only by thinking with the Blue Zone that we are able to effectively and creatively respond. In a recession it is the companies who do this who will be front of the queue in the up-turn.

Therefore as business leaders and managers it is vital for us to recognise when we are in the Red Zone and create strategies to us shift back into the Blue. We can influence not just how we think and approach our work but also that of others by listening deeply, promoting a sense of safety, demonstrating trust and showing respect.

- Peter Harrison, the author, works for entheo, an agency that helps organisations to understand and redefine their ways of thinking and working. For more information about who they are and what they do click here or e-mail him on peter.harrison@entheo.co.uk

The Red Zone /Blue Zone metaphor was coined by Group Eight Education – for more information about their work click here.





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Could you be the next Apprentice?


Most people have seen the hit TV series, The Apprentice. Well Robert Bromley is an apprentice within our team and wishes to share his journey so far and invaluable advice to all those who are unsure of what step to take next on the career path.

'After finishing my GCSE’s I had to make a decision that would change my life completely, a decision that thousands of young people around the world have to make each and every year. I had to choose what to do next, how to go about it and who to contact to do it.


Unsure of the options I began my search. I instantly thought about A-Levels and college, I knew that neither of them were right for me but the only other option (or so I believed) was to go and find a job that would most probably be very hard repetitive work for very little money.

I searched high and low for an option that involved working as well as gaining qualifications. Just as I was about to give up, I received a letter from my local Connexions about an opportunity called the “Kent Success Apprenticeship Scheme”. It involved working 5 days a week but also completing an NVQ Level 2 in 'Business and Administration'.

I sent in an application form and within a week I had been invited to an interview for the next day. The interview went really well and the Kent Success team were very kind and welcoming. They explained that I had got through the interviewing stage and that they would now try and find me a position within the KCC for a year. They told me that the process may take several weeks to several months but to be patient and a position will arise.

After only 2 days I received a phone call telling me that the Technology, Research and Transformation Team would like to interview me for a position, and if it went well, I could start as early as one month away. I was so excited that the interview date came in no time and I was offered the position to start on January 6th, I gratefully accepted.

My first day came around quickly and I was really nervous. I hadn’t done anything in almost two months and was now going back to the early starts and late finishes. Thankfully, everyone made me feel at home and I was shown the routine tasks I would be asked to do daily. The main tasks were sorting out the post, photocopying, making phone calls on behalf of various people and answering the phones for various people. Once I had learnt the phone shortcuts I was set loose and given normal work as if I had already been there for several weeks. This really helped as it showed that just because someone is on the Apprenticeship Scheme they are not treated differently from the other staff in any way.

After a couple of weeks I was introduced to my NVQ assessor. She told me that I would have to complete five units throughout my NVQ; two of them compulsory and the other three would be my choice. She also told me that I would have to pass two general office exams, and she arranged some dates for us to have our reviews.

I am now 10 months through the Apprenticeship Scheme and have become good friends with several people in the office. I have been offered a permanent position to start when my NVQ ends. Since starting I have never looked back. I now have a promising career in front of me as well as an extra qualification, and therefore would recommend the Apprenticeship Scheme to anyone leaving school.'

If you would like some more information on the apprenticeship scheme, you can find it here or by emailing info@kentapprenticeships.com

Remember: Your future is in your hands.


Picture: Sir Alan Sugar, Nick
Hewer and Margaret Mountford, with thanks to Goatee for publishing on Flickr under a Creative Commons license some rights reserved.





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myPublicServices
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myPublicServices


The web has changed the way world is run. Here at Patient Opinion we couldn’t help but ask the question “why have Public Services been left behind?” We decided a national get-together for people who are trying to get the Public Sector up to speed was needed. The progress in some areas has been fantastic- why cant this good work expand into all corners of the public domain?

So (albeit a little nervously) we took the plunge and booked the Abbey Centre in London to hold our first national conference to get these people together. It turned out that our fears were unfounded- and today, under 2 weeks after myPublicServices on eventBrite was launched, we sold out- with some amazing people. From national newspapers, politicians, NHS managers and independent sights that just want to improve their local communities- the breadth is extraordinary and we couldn’t be more excited. It was the perfect example of the power of the web to allow groups of people to come together at a low cost.

But it’s not just the list of attendees that we are overwhelmed by- the support for the event has been extraordinary. We decided to make it free, but a gift economy – where those attending have to bring something to give, like some time, knowledge, a talk or some cake (we’re serious) and to our surprise everyone is pitching in with offers of everything from chocolate brownies (yes please) to expert consultancy on financing social enterprises. Extraordinary, and inspiring.

So now we’re sifting through the offers and thinking about how to shape everything in a way that will work on the day. And, given that the whole point of the conference is that things don’t always have to be top-down, we aim to let the attendees decide what they want to do- exciting, if slightly nerve-wracking!

Do keep up with our blog to see how it all unfolds! http://mypublicservices.wordpress.com/. If you have any questions or queries, please do not hestitate to e-mail Lauren Ivory here.

- A special thanks to Patient Opinion, and especially Lauren Ivory, for the blog post. The team are really looking forward to the event!






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