Category Archives: Innovation

Latest paper – based on a talk in Berlin last September 2012

I really enjoyed being in Berlin (or rather Potsdam) last September and presenting this paper to a conference organised by the excellent Friedrich-Naumann Stiftung Fuer die Freiheit – the think tank of the of German Liberal Democrat Party. And full marks to them for having an excellent url – i.e. !

It’s not fashionable to be optimistic about our energy future but I am and this paper outlines some of the reasons why. There were a lot of thoughtful questions from the audience which I always savour as well. Although I speak German and nothing like as well as I used to, one had to admire that the whole conference was in English as were the questions. Sometimes a speech doesn’t “translate” well to the written word but this one reads well  – if I may immodestly say so. 

Anyway, here is the paper.

Space Tourism

I’ve got a number of policy/personal interests; energy, crime data, tennis and space – and a couple of new platforms that I will be revealing soon. Following my paper for the IoD on Space: Britain’s New Infrastructure Frontier back in May, here’s a link to a video which I only just discovered on the BBC website interviewing me about the potential for Space Tourism back in July or rather (as I argued) the potential for research. I’ve since addressed a number of feedback points about the report in this post – Yes, the UK will need a spaceport. For most people though, this won’t become real until XCOR and Virgin Galactic first launch their suborbital vehicles some time in 2013/14. In the meantime, the regulatory framework is still to be determined – I have this year sat on two UK Space Agency workshops on future Space Plane regulation.

Anyway re: the photo and video above – did they really have to put in a moving space backdrop of planets in the background?

I must admit, it is quite funny ! launches today

At last – after many months of difficult development, the Economic Policy Centre , the think tank which I am proud to be Chief Executive of,  is launching today a new ground-breaking platform –

UKCrimeStats is the UK’s only crime ranking platform for neighbourhoods, Police Forces and Streets with maps, analysis and reports – starting with this one here – Decoding the Crime Data Dec 10 to Feb 11.

I don’t know why crime isn’t researched by economists more – it’s so expensive. The last Home Office report in 2000 priced it at £60 billion a year and it’s a safe bet that it’s gone up since then.  At the very least, government should start measuring that cost. How can you start to deal with a problem without knowing the true cost of it?

Regional and Regeneration policies share the same fallacies . . .

Writing in the Yorkshire Post today, I described what was wrong with typical regional policy and how to do it much better. I suggested doing effective, boring and unpopular stuff like moving workers to the work (not the other way round) with more low cost roads and buses and paying lower wages and benefits in poorer areas to increase employment. This would do so much more  than taking a bet on  low-return but glamorous infrastructure projects like high speed rail or shovelling taxpayer funds towards the latest fashionable industries – remember Scotland’s semiconductor industry?

It occurred to me later that much the same could be said about regeneration policies. Which brings me back to this event I covered for Planning IN London 5 years ago and a speech I gave to the British Urban Regeneration Association a couple of months later. Apart from big budget quangos of course, they generally share the fallacy of the Big Man – they know what’s best.

If only they did !

Don’t download Trusteer Rapport if you use Gotomypc !

HSBC is telling all its customers to download this programme – Trusteer Rapport. Unfortunately, it never occured to them to do the work and check for programme compatability with major software for small business customers. And is very clearly not compatible – my pc is completely unaccesible !

It doesn’t help that Trusteer support said  to me today that there is “a known problem with gotomypc” but fails to make it known to the wider world anywhere on their website.  Oh well, I’m writing this blog to warn others and hurry them up on a fix of some sort. And I will write again when HSBC, Trusteer and Gotomypc get back to me with a solution.

Now, more than ever, I understand the rationale for a move towards cloud computing.