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Shape The World

The nominations for The Economist's Innovation Awards 2010 are now open. This is your chance to nominate the people who inspire YOU. Join us in deciding who is worthy of receiving one of these world-renowned innovation awards.

Our panel of judges

We are delighted to announce that the following individuals have joined our panel of 32 judges this year.

Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen, CEO, Vestergaard Frandsen (2009 Innovation Award winner)
Robert Guest, Washington Correspondent, The Economist
Julie Meyer, Founder and CEO, Ariadne Capital (2009 Innovation summit speaker)
Lesa B. Roe, Director, NASA Langley Research Center (2009 Innovation summit speaker)
You can view the full list of judges HERE

The Ceremony and the summit.

The Award Ceremony will take place on October 21st at the Science Museum, London with the summit following on from the celebrations on October 22nd.

We look forward to receiving your nominations.

We are The Economist. Live. Be inspired.

Picture: An advert for The Economist saying 'Shape the World' which has been placed next to a row of stairs, with thanks to clry2 for publishing on Flickr under a Creative Commons license some rights reserved.

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Promoting Criminal Justice Innovation

Should the UK create a new institution devoted to promoting innovation within the criminal justice sector? What would this body look like and how would it function? And how could it help support local innovators interested in addressing difficult problems like chronic offending, the re-settlement of ex-offenders, and low public confidence in the justice system?

As an American who works for the New York-based Center for Court Innovation, I’ve been given the unique opportunity to spend six months addressing these questions with the support of the Hadley Trust. During that time, I’ll be based at the Young Foundation, an organisation that brings together insight, innovation and entrepreneurship to meet social needs, based in London’s east end.

At first glance, it may seem odd to bring someone over to the UK from a country known for historically high rates of crime and imprisonment. Yet the last fifteen years have been a very promising time for the criminal justice system in the United States, as thousands of new, “problem-solving” court experiments like community courts, drug courts, mental health courts, and domestic violence courts have been launched and crime has declined sharply – as have public concerns about safety.

Fascinatingly, much of this innovation has been driven from the ground up, rather than centrally directed. My organization has helped play a role in this process, launching over a dozen demonstration projects in partnership with the New York State Court System and helping criminal justice practitioners across the country (and the world) launch their own problem-solving experiments.

My organization has also spent the last decade working with officials in the UK, most prominently in helping to set up the Liverpool Community Justice Centre. And in recent years, we’ve found increasing levels of interest in the model of the Center for Court Innovation itself, rather than any one of our specific projects.

Obviously, encouraging a culture of innovation and risk-taking within the criminal justice sector in the UK is no easy task, and last year, I co-wrote an article for the think tank Policy Exchange that lays out some key challenges. My job in the next six months - working in partnership with practitioners and policymakers in the UK - will be to explore these challenges in greater detail.

- A special thank you to Aubrey Fox, Senior Project Developer at The Young Foundation.

Interested in learning more about Aubrey's work or the Center for Court Innovation? Contact him at aubrey.fox@youngfoundation.org.

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Grazia launches first 3D augmented reality issue

Fashion glossy Grazia has become one of the first consumer publications to introduce augmented reality (AR) technology to their magazine.

This week’s issue of Grazia uses AR and 3D motion graphics to bring Brit award-winner Florence Welch and content from the magazine to life.

Readers can hold up pages of the magazine to a webcam or iPhone and unlock special content, from a performance by Florence to a 360 degree look at products on the fashion page.

Banana Republic is the first brand to integrate the new technology into their ad campaign, with a look at their new Spring chinos range.

At the launch of the new issue, Jane Bruton, editor in chief of Grazia, said: "This will be a stunning issue of Grazia for readers to experience. Augmented reality aims to give readers more ways to engage with the magazine and a sense of control over the content."

Emma Sheller, vice president of gap marketing for Banana Republic, said: "Augmented reality is an exciting new technology which gives Grazia readers and both our existing and potential new customers the opportunity to engage with our brands and collections in a much richer, more compelling way."

Angie Moxham, MD of 3 Monkeys PR, said that the launch represented an exciting new opportunity for PRs.

"In terms of PR, I think this is great idea. The one thing the publishing industry needs at the moment is a differentiator and this is original, innovative and above all, fun. This will undoubtedly open up a whole load of new doors and opportunities for PRs and their clients."

More information and clips of the AR content can be found here.

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Agenda for Transformed by You

If you've signed up  to ’Transformed by You’, then read on, if not sign up now! We hope it will be an interesting, exciting and productive day for all of us. The whole event will be interactive and fluid but to help move things along an informal schedule is outlined below.

Who are we?

Hosts: Simon Wakeman ( MC for the day) and Carol Patrick

Lead Facilitators: Amy Sample Ward and David Wilcox

Support Team: Charlotte Edwards, Adam Fox, Tracey Gleeson, Sean Hale, Noel Hatch, Leanne McMahon, Chris Orton, Tom Phillips, Ian Proctor, Kirsty Russell and Hollie Snelson

Centre Manager: Matthew Payne

10:00 - 10:30: Registration and networking (Foyer)

10:30 - 10:45: Welcome and overview of the day – Hosts (Darwin Room)

10:45 - 11:05: Warm-Up and Introduction - Lead Facilitators (Darwin Room)

11.05 – 12.35: Morning Session – All (Breakout Rooms)

12:35 - 13:30: Lunch (Foyer)

13.30- 13.40: Recap, Review, Recharge- Lead Facilitators/All (Foyer)

13:40 - 14:50: Afternoon Session - All (Breakout Rooms)

14:50 - 15:50: Storytelling – Groups reps/All (Darwin Room)

15:50 - 16:00: Thank you and What's Next - Hosts (Darwin Room)
Agenda for Transformed by YouSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

LocalGovCamp - A Survivor's Guide

Travelling up on the 7am ghost train, I sat with a colleague heading to London for other reasons. When asked, I said I was off to an unconference. “Are you a Roman Catholic, then?” was his reply. Say it slowly, and think about penguins. You’ll get it.

The day taught me a lot about the unconference toolkit. I’ll remember to take mine next time. You need to take:

1) Your geek-alarm – it will go off. It’s usually the site of the scraggy pullover or the laptop adorned with campaign stickers that does it. Expect them to be outnumbered by real people, though.

2) An intact sense of humour – particularly at what might pass for “breakfast”, if provided.

3) Some means of time travel. - I like the unconference way of designing the agenda , allocating time-slots, rooms, etc , by benign mob rule at the start of the day. A bit annoying when you go to your chosen second session, and find that while you were in the first, they moved it forward to run simultaneously, in another room. This gave me a good opportunity to commandeer a plug socket for 45 minutes to charge up my laptop. I’d have selected a different session, but there wasn’t one I was keen on – an unconference risk. You’ll have plenty of choice, and no shortage of other session refugees with whom to network, hunt plug sockets, etc.

4) A two way adaptor in your toolkit – no one’s laptop batteries last like the adverts say. Less chance you’ll come to blows over the plug sockets.

5) A very open mind. The nature of these things is to challenge. Challenge what you’re doing, and what you’re not, challenge what you believe and why you believe it.

Anyway, localgovcamplondon:

Justin Griggs (NALC), Hugh Flouch and Will Perrin ran a cracking opening session for my day, enigmatically headed “Harry Potter and the Vicar of Dibley”. It was about grassroots (ie Parish) local government and community engagement. My introduction to the concept of “ram-raiding” your local council. Very thought-provoking comments about areas where the local active on-line community far outnumbers the people who voted in local elections.

When it comes to “Embedding Social Media”, the early adopter local authorities quickly floated to the surface. Not yet sure whether anyone is really learning from anyone else’s experience, or whether all are just ploughing the furrow they think will suit them best. Or should that be “all reinventing a similar wheel”? And what does happen when 170,000 residents have a Facebook page, but only 20,000 buy the local paper? The demographics are going to be so much more important than the widgets.

Naked Council” was, for me, the session of the day. Nothing technical, not even hugely well attended, but as an intellectual exercise, Anthony Zacharewski’s (The Democratic Society) premise that there was value in trying to determine what local government would be like if invented today, with no history, preconceptions, or statutory framework was compelling. And very hard to keep it truly “naked”, if electoral democracy and accountability still need to be built in. team@nakedcouncil.co.uk will get you on the mailing list.

Local by Social was another session about mainstreaming social media. Social by social had limited resonance at local levels, say its protagonists. Local by Social is a re-run, focused on local impact. I like the comment that “Social media cannot be on the list of things perceived by local councils as “threats”.

The Internal Comms session I attended suffered from end-of day delegate fatigue. I believe it is vital to distinguish between the types of conversation that exist, and those within an organisation are important. Yammer and its ilk give people a “safe” place to learn social media skills, to storm, norm and perform. Takes courageous managers to encourage it. It might bite, and might be all the better if it does, from time to time. It might throw up the weird and off-the –wall. That way lies innovation, of course.

If they do it again (localgovcamplondon, that is), I’d go again, because it would be different. But I’d take my toolkit.

- You can find the #localgovcamp Twitter stream here, photos here and videos here.

- A special thank you to Tom Phillips, Community Liason Manager for Kent County Council for the wonderful blog post.

Picture: A wall of sessions written on post it notes organised into different rooms and times for #Localgovcamp @ Birmingham with thanks to jamie_garner for publishing on Flickr under a Creative Commons license some rights reserved.

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Is the tail getting too long?

The words "crowdsourcing" come up time and time again as successful ways to involve people in co-creating the answers (and questions!) to the massive challenges we face in public services.

Let's not even pretend we can get anywhere near being as responsive to these issues as we'd like to. Even Google can't. But what we do need to watch out for is that we don't allow a divide to be created between the 1% which is allowed for the crowdsourcing but which doesn't impact on the real decision making processes and the 99% of the decision making to be made behind closed doors, which itself does have an impact on what and how services are designed. They shouldn't be separate worlds, but often they are. 

Paul Clarke covers this debate well in Hard Wired State 

"How many of these ideas are actually crossing the seemingly vast divide to become ‘production’ public services? We have a few ideas about why this might be the case: not enough will to change; would it scale?; procurement never works like that in practice; sure, you can design smart new services but can you sustain them?… And so on…"
And because of these tensions, many the people innovating at the edges feel the emotions above. To put this in context, this image was a visualisation of people's tweets on the Social Innovator launch at NESTA.

We don't claim to have the answers to any of this, but we thought that we ought to try and tackle what we can as early as possible in this journey. That's why we've hopefully been pretty honest that for this event we will seed challenges we've crowdsourced with staff that they can see are key issues. People can then vote them to the top of the table or relegate them to the dropzone, if they disagree with them or think we've missed issues out, they can even suggest their own. On the day, you will be able to pick a challenge and get into a group to come up with ideas to tackle it.

Why get people to vote? This is less about going for xfactor style democracy which is probably not the best way to tackle digital inclusion. No, it's building on the pledgebank principle, ideas are more likely to take off if the challenges they help tackle are issues which people actually believe in. So if we put one of our challenges up there and the participants don't vote for it, that gives us a pretty good clue!

It's not me, it's you... 

Have a look here and you'll see the newest challenges submitted. What do you think? 

Do you have any better ideas? Add them on, it's as simple as writing your idea in the "I suggest you" box.

Manchester or Middlesborough?
The league table of challenges seems to be changing all the time. What we've found is that the most popular ones are the most general like "helping people share skills in their communities" or "finding out what's going on in your local area" whereas similar but more specific challenges are mid table or in the drop zone.

Something that's been going around my mind today, is will the more general challenges mean people get more freedom to brainstorm what idea they want to develop that tackles that challenge or will it mean more time discussing what that challenge actually means and less time developing it into a prototype?
Is the tail getting too long?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Videos, magical things and cupcakes - what type of event is this?

On Saturday 20th March, we’re going to be bringing people together for a day to develop ideas and prototypes that tackle local challenges that you think are important. Sign up here if you haven't already!

A few people have asked us whether this event is going to be like a conference, a consultation or even a crowdsourcing crowdpleaser. Well we can guarantee it won’t be either of the first two and we would need all the cupcake creativity of twuttle to be able to pull off the latter. Today is their first birthday, so this post is dedicated to them.

Anyway, there are different ways of organising events that blend socials and innovation - short meetups, all day events and even weekend camps.

Groups are organising meetups right across the county, with @canterburygeeks and @meejahub to name but a few, with some like @twuddle evening having its own special branch @twampon. We were particularly inspired after meeting #tuttle 101, themselves inspired by Lloyd DavisTuttle Club.

Public servants too are self organising to get their heads around how to be more open and collaborative using the web. People like Dave Briggs have been helping them do that in really creative ways, with events like LocalGovCamp and UKGovWeb and in the third sector, NFP Tweetup and Netsquared have been leading the way.

Others like Steve Moore and Amanda Gore are getting together people from other sectors to get ideas around how technology can tackle critical social challenges, from 2gether08, Reboot Britain to 2morro.

And then there are challenge type events like SICamp and Netsquared Challenge, who work over a whole weekend or more to get people to come up with ideas and turn them into prototypes. It was my own experience taking part in this and meeting the winners of a recent SICamp that really convinced us to try mixing up the sociability of meetups with the impact of innovation camps.

Tomorrow, we’ll tell you a bit more about what we mean by challenges, but in the meantime let us know if you have any questions, or if there are any similar meetups, unconferences, barcamps going on that we should know about – we’d love for you to come down to Transformed by You.

Videos, magical things and cupcakes - what type of event is this?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Social Innovator

We were at the Social Innovator seminar yesterday. More on that later, but in the meantime, this hopefully gives you a flavour of the online conversation around the event and the launch of the website. Wondering if the adjectives are about the emotions of the people at the event or what trying to innovate for social good do to us!

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Raising the Funds

Have you ever had to raise sponsorship for a charity run and thought to yourself ‘there must be a more interesting and fun way to do this than knocking on neighbours doors and begging work colleagues to write their name and how much they are willing to give?’

Well, I may have found a way.

Whilst researching for the blog I came across The London Project. The group had just won an award and really wanted to pick it up, however to do so they would have to fly from Atlanta to London which would cost in the region of $10,000! So, they came up with an innovative way of raising the funds. They offered individuals the chance to buy an item for them to place in their suitcase to London, whether it be a rubber chicken, a chimp, a toilet seat or a feather boa.In return they would place the purchasers logo on an item and take a picture of it in front of a London landmark. Not only did they manage to hit their goal and go to London, they had a lot of fun in doing it:

‘We're here in London! Walking around everywhere and taking in the sights.
Yesterday we saw the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. There were a lot of bagpipes and funny hats.
Also, they brought out this huge dog that looked very majestic, yet alien-like at the same time.
From the B-Pal we went to Big Ben. Which we decided is more like Medium Ben. We got some great photos of it and Parliament later as the sun set. Around that time we went onto the London Eye. 450 feet above London! It was incredible. From there we got some great shots of The Brandy Agency's rubber chicken. And we had a very memorable tea party in honor of HEDDY.
Looking forward to visiting agencies today. We'll keep you posted.
Thanks again to everyone for helping us get here. We could not have done it without you.’

A similar initiative was featured on Springwise not very long ago called ‘Needs for Sale’. There were many charities that artists Christine and Justin wanted to support, but couldn’t raise the funds to do so all by themselves. So, they decided to paint items that the specific charities may need, such as ‘Phone calls to our troops’ for the Red Cross and ‘A Nice Home’ for Habitat for Humanity, set a price and enabled people to donate the money to that particular charity. They’ve also set up a similar websites called Wants for Sale. These are paintings that they themselves as a couple would like to buy, for example a painting of ‘A Little Shopping Spree in SoHo’ is currently on sale for $2,500 and a picture of a cooker on fire has just been sold for $220 to pay for the couple to take cooking lessons.

Want: 'To Get Into The Museum of Modern Art'

Want: 'Gambling Money for Vegas'

So next time you want to raise some money, why not encourage people to donate by getting creative and giving them something in return for their money? You never know, it might be more fulfilling then pestering family and friends or taking a loan out for that trip to Las Vegas !

To read more about the London Project please visit here: http://www.thelondonproject.com/index.html
Needs for Sale: http://www.needsforsale.com/
Wants for Sale: http://www.wantsforsale.com/

- Kirsty Russell

Top picture: A painting of a 'Pop Art'/Andy Warhol style painting and on the right a photograph of Andy Warhol's famous Marilyn Monroe painting which is hanging in the Museum of Modern Art.
Picture Below: A painting of red and black gambling chips with a photograph of US dollars next to it. Thanks to justin_and_christine for publishing on Flickr under a Creative Commons license some rights reserved.

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Adopt a New Way of Thinking

Did you know that there are two different ways of thinking: divergent and convergent? Neither did I until I picked up a preview of Paul Sloane’s new book entitled ‘How to Be A Brilliant Thinker’.

Sloane explains that ‘convergent thinking’ is our normal state, which involves examining, criticising and analysing a concept and its consequences or outcomes when we hear it. Too many of us use and rely on this in everyday life, which has been shown in an experiment by psychologist Wason (I attempted to explain this in this blog post however I don’t believe I can put it any simpler than in the book chapter!). The experiment basically showed that students had a set of beliefs and assumptions, and we look for evidence to confirm these all the time instead of questioning them. For example, if we have a belief that all squirrels are grey we are more likely to go out and find more squirrels that are grey (and confirm our belief) rather than looking for squirrels that are different colours.

‘Divergent thinking’ on the other hand is more of a spread of ideas. This involves stretching our imagination and making wild, seemingly unrelated connections between two ideas. It’s basically us accepting that in fact there may be squirrels of a different colour rather than believing that only grey squirrels exist. It allows us to use our imagination to explore all sorts of new possibilities.

I felt that the first chapter of the book was very interesting and I enjoyed how he included elements (although rather complex) of cognitive psychology, science and music examples to illustrate his points however I do feel it could have been a lot sharper and more concise.

Now that I know about these different types of thinking, I am looking forward to borrowing the book out of the library and learning about how I can adopt divergent thinking in everyday life.

- Kirsty Russell

'How To Be a Brilliant Thinker: Exercise Your Mind and Find Creative Solutions'
by Paul Sloane
Published by Kogan Page (3rd Jan 2010)
ISBN-10: 0749455063
ISBN-13: 978-0749455064
Picture:  A participant at a workshop exploring divergent thinking by drawing with a marker pen on a flipchart, with thanks to Chris_Corrigan for publishing on Flickr under a creative comms license with some right reserved.

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Poll Time!

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