Our first live event: the facts and figures

Reading Time: 8 minutes

On 22 and 23 July, we set up a live stream from the Commonwealth Games Business Conference.

As well as the YouTube video stream, we used every channel at our disposal – twitter, LikedIn, Google+, our websites – to stimulate the debate.

Scottish Enterprise CEO Lena Wilson talking at the Commonwealth Games Business Conference
Scottish Enterprise CEO Lena Wilson talking at the Commonwealth Games Business Conference

It was a huge effort for a small team. Three of us – including Erica Goodey, who led on this project -were at the event. I was backup and tech support, though thankfully I was not needed for that. Everything went smoothly. Others back at the office pitched in too, publishing updates live on our sites.

So, roughly half our entire available resource tied up for two days.

And there have been months of planning, preparation and practice leading up to these two days.

In all, we estimate our total effort involved in these two days is 124 hours: equivalent to one person working on nothing else for nearly a month. And we’re not even half-way done yet. Much of our planning is around what we do with the material we’ve gathered now the event itself is past.

You can see how the two days were received on our storify.

This was a first for my team, and for Scottish Enterprise/SDI too. We have been a publisher for years, but this was the first time we have been a live broadcaster.

So, how did it go?

Continue reading “Our first live event: the facts and figures”

Personas: fact or fiction? Answer: neither, and both

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In the 1930s, the German physicist Erwin Schrodinger proposed a thought experiment.

I’ll spare you the detail, as it was an experiment about quantum mechanics, and quantum mechanics is a bit weird. And it involved a cat, in a box, which may, or, may not, have been alive, or dead, or possibly both, or possibly neither.

But the upshot was this: If you have an equal chance of an event happening or not happening, a cat my or may not be alive or dead. And you won’t know which is actually happening until you look, at which point you destroy the possibility of the outcome you did not observe and therefore make the outcome you did observe real.

Schrodinger concluded that, until you actually observe the outcome, the cat is neither dead nor alive, but both.

I told you quantum mechanics was weird.

Continue reading “Personas: fact or fiction? Answer: neither, and both”

The Knowledge Library

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Something struck me on the flight to Belgium this week about the Knowledge Hub we have created on our sites. It’s not a hub (a rubbish word), it’s a library. The Knowledge Hub should be a place where customers constantly surface useful, relevant content.

Scott Monty’s article illustrates what we have in common with the New York Times. SE has access to many years worth of customer insight and business experience. We should be tapping in to this. This can be our core content.

It doesn’t always have to be new, it can be something an investor learned five years ago that is still just as relevant today.

We need to find a better way to surface industry content. Particularly on SDI. The current entry panel to the R&I section is fine, but when an article is closed the relevant industry filter needs to be automatically applied. We can still make it obvious to the customer that this setting can be changed.

Content relationships have to get better. Reading an article should surface information on the company and the supply chain. Location maps, video content, the project visualiser – all of this content has to link in a much more intuitive way. DMS will help.

When a customer searches for an event like MWS they should get a very rich experience.

The NYT report highlights the importance of understanding and exploiting the many different ways an audience finds and accesses content. We’ve done a lot of work towards understanding this, we just need to improve how we do it. I recommend reading the article and the original report.

Design content first … who would have thought of that?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

In November 2007, when I was part of what was then the SE web team, we were asked if we could take on a project.

The objective was to completely re-design and rewrite the SE website. Some of you may remember what it looked like back then. Including an incredible floating woman. Stock photography. It’s why we banned it.

The Scottish Enterprise website in 2008
Way back when …

Oh. And it had to be ready by 1 April 2008. SE would have a new remit by then. Would that be OK?

Continue reading “Design content first … who would have thought of that?”

Why accessibility matters

Reading Time: 3 minutes

My mother-in-law has cancer.

It’s been painful, these last few months, watching a woman who was skiing in the Alps at Easter hobbling around on a crutch this summer. Though not a fraction as painful as it has been for her.

The disease has entered her bones, causing them to become so fragile that she has fractured her pelvis. Which is where the crutch comes in.

Fortunately, her prognosis is good. Radiotherapy, not chemo, was prescribed. Bones can recover, and injections speed the healing process. Her health improves daily. Continue reading “Why accessibility matters”

The problem with pixels …

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You see, Apple’s newest tablet, the iPad Mini, creates a vexing situation: Its device-width viewport tag defaults to the same values as Apple’s original iPad (768×1024 pixels), even though the Mini’s screen is physically 40 percent smaller. That means every button, graphic, link, and line of text on a web page on the iPad Mini appears tiny—even when we try to do the right thing and build flexible, multi-device experiences.


Loan me your phone. I am off to China.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The question?

What would your response be if a colleague told you, they were going to China for a week on business, and then asked for a loan of your phone.

For me it would fall into 2 camps:

  • Camp 1: If it was my phone I might suggest, (strenuously), that they seek a phone elsewhere
  • Camp2: If it was a work phone I would suck my teeth for a bit, take out the “strenuously” and still suggest that they look elsewhere for a phone.

Why the unkind response?

The simple reason for this rather unkind response is that most of us eat sleep and breath our phones. They have become integral to most of our daily activities and they also store a lot of personal data on them. I would probably loan you my car rather than hand over my phone.

Continue reading “Loan me your phone. I am off to China.”

Mindmap Packages

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I have probably used north of 20 mindmap packages across various operating systems in recent years. They all have their strengths and weaknesses and none are perfect.

My ultimate choice was to use Mindomo. It does everything I need it to and works well across all platforms that I use.

Here is why I chose it:

My choice for the ipad filtered down to 3 packages

  1. MindJet
  2. iMindMap by Tony Buzan
  3. Mindomo

Mindjet (Mindmanager now branded just as Mindjet)

This is a great package and works well on the ipad.
We use it within our organisation for on Desktops and Laptops
It does not work without a network connection (show stopping fail)
The online version is very “Laggy” and frustratingly slow.

iMindMap by Tony Buzan

Tony Buzan “is” mindmaps and the package reflects that. It does amazing tactile genuine mindmaps
Visually rich
Uses colour well
Ipad version is quite tricky with normal sized fingers.
The mindmaps can sometimes look too tactile and do not plug into formal documents well.


Generally good at most things
Online version is fast
Ipad version is fast
Works offline on Ipad
Syncs with cloud version easily
Nothing much.
It lacks some features of the others and can be a little bossy about layout but none of these are large issues at all.

Opening the box – on new Ipad

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The long wait begins whilst the IPad charges for the first time.

I set up a new iTunes account using work email address. This needs a credit card to complete.  Using personal one at present. Now to load up basic apps for adding business functionality.

  • Dropbox and Google Drive for file sharing. (Google Drive is also an entry point to Google Docs which gives a good spreadsheet and word processor amongst other tools)
  • Evernote for note taking and bookmarking useful websites.
  • Adobe Reader for PDF files.
  • Flipboard for research and Media awareness.
  • Pocket for clipping websites to read later.
  • Grafio Lite (To explore graphing flowcharts etc)
  • Skype, Vibr, Teamviewer, Webex, Logmein & GoToMeeting for Online Conferencing and messenging
  • National Rail and Easyjet  apps for travel.
  • Bump for sharing Business Cards/Contacts
  • Scan, DocScan HD & ScanBiz lite for QR and Business card scanning.
  • Mindjet & Mindomo for MindMapping
  • YouTube and all the various TV apps for media access
  • Print Agent as Text Editor
  • Roambi (To investigate rich presentations built from PDF’s).
  • AudioMemo and Quick Voice for voice recording.
  • Print Agent (to explore WiFi printing)

Continue reading “Opening the box – on new Ipad”