Interesting elsewhere – 29 March 2010

Things which caught my eye elsewhere on the web

Marginal Revolution: One Game Machine Per Child

Beginning at the top left we see that households with incomes just below the cutoff were much more likely to have a computer than households with incomes just above the cutoff – thus the voucher program has a big effect on computer ownership.  The top right figure shows similarly that the voucher program increased computer usage since computers were used much more often in households with incomes just below the cutoff than in the non-eligible for voucher households with incomes just above the cutoff.

Now take at look at the figures below. The one on the left shows that the voucher program significantly increased the time spent playing computer games. The one on the right which looks at the effect of the voucher program on the use of computers for homework – the punch line is clear.

3 principles of innovative organisations – 100% Open

So in summary, smart organisations know that innovation never arrives on your desk fully formed – rather needs iteration, socialisation and combination – and they open up, focus on building networks not ideas, and actively seek to spot new opportunities outside of their core business.

Boring innovation: Robert Brook

Oh, sorry – didn’t I say? Ah, yes, innovation has a budget. And a timescale. And a board – you know, just to check that we’re innovating in the right way. Nothing too … er … innovative.

Ada Lovelace Day: A new kind of civil servant

It’s great for government departments to set up social media channels and talk to their audiences in new ways. It’s even better when ministers and senior officials take the plunge personally. And it’s critically important that people in my kind of role walk the talk.

But we’ll only change the way government works when bureaucrats deep in the bowels of policy departments take the step of using them regularly and for professional purposes.

The Guardian

Get a politician to make a speech about technology and plans in front of a roomful of geeks, and you can see them thinking as he lists the things he’s going to do: “Nah, that won’t work. Nope, that’s going to be buggy as hell. Uh-uh, can’t be done with the present framework.”

That’s because programmers are a class who are perhaps the most acutely aware of how badly wrong things can go, and how having expansive hopes about a project can founder on the rocks of implementation.