Book Review: Social Physics : How Social Networks can make us Smarter

January 6, 2017
My Christmas reading included a book called Social Physics – yep, a party animal (my others were Lord of the Flies and Knausgard Vol 3, both wonderful). Here’s the review: Airport bookstores are bewildering places – shelf after shelf of management gurus offering distilled lessons on leadership, change and everything else. How to distinguish snake oil from substance? My Christmas

Beer and Tacos with Samir Doshi from USAID

October 5, 2016
  Had a fun dinner in Brixton market last week with Samir Doshi, a Senior Scientist at USAID’s U.S. Global Development Lab, which describes itself as “an innovation hub that takes smart risks to test new ideas and partner within the Agency and with other actors to harness the power of innovative tools and approaches that accelerate development impact.” This

The Politics of Data – the bit the geeks forget?

October 23, 2015
Had a really thought-provoking conversation with Dustin Homer of Development Gateway last week. Development Gateway was originally set up inside the World Bank, then spun off as an independent tech organisation, and focuses on helping governments and international organizations make better use of data in their decision-making. So far, so technocratic, but Dustin got in touch because he read my

Big Data and Development: Upsides, downsides and a lot of questions

July 23, 2014
One of the more scary but enjoyable things I do is be interviewed on stuff I know absolutely nothing about (yeah, yeah, I know – no change there then). You get to grasshopper around multiple issues and disciplines, cobbling together ideas and arguments from scattered fragments, making connections and learning new stuff. Great fun. This week, I’ll blog about a

Creating a splash with Data Diving

August 30, 2013
Over a July weekend in London four charities and more than 80 data professionals took part in a “DataDive”, organized by DataKind UK. Ricardo, Richard and Simone from Oxfam’s Research Team (see pic of handsome hunks below) went along. Here’s what happened. If you came to London for a weekend during the best summer since 1976, how would you like