Horizon: The Creative Brain How Insight Works (BBC Documentary)

14/11/2013 § Leave a comment

A chimpanzee brain at the Science Museum London

A chimpanzee brain at the Science Museum London (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SUCCESS ISN’T about making one big decision…

16/05/2013 § Leave a comment

Jimmy Wales (left) during Wikimania press conf...

What was the biggest turning point in Jimmy Wales’ life?

“I am Jimmy Wales and therefore have a reasonable amount of knowledge about what I think and what I have done.
Lots of people have asked me this, so here goes.In my experience, life doesn’t work like that.  I think this is similar to the very common theory of entrepreneurship that suggests that what you need is “one big idea” and riches will beat a path to your door.  (This is what drives a lot of people to be scared that someone will “steal the idea” – a sure form of paralysis that kills a great many startups.)Of course simple but wrong answers would include “starting a free online encyclopedia” or “leaving my job as a trader to start a company” or “teaching myself to program in C while studying something else in school”.But my life, good and bad, is a series of decisions every single day.  Some decisions are bigger than others, but no decision is bigger than that ‘every single day’ series of decisions.  The thousands and millions of decisions you make are much more powerful than any one ‘big’ decision.Why is this important?  A lot of young people are worried that they’ll make the wrong “single big decision” when the moment comes.  You might.  You might not.  It won’t matter nearly as much as you might think.  Every single day you have the power to decide differently, to choose a new path, and that includes decisions about whether to study something new, whether to work an extra hour or go home, whether to watch this movie or that, whether to read this book or that.  And all those little choices are critical – get a few of them wrong, but try to get most of them right.”

SPOT THE insight…

01/05/2013 § Leave a comment

This enterprising individual obviously had an insight and acted on it.

It’s amusing and probably  effective. What do you think the insight is? Use the the comment box below.


I’M CONSCIOUS, therefore the universe is conscious! … So what?

16/04/2013 § Leave a comment

Micrococcus bombycis flacherie microbe

Micrococcus bombycis flacherie microbe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyone who has to put up with me on anything like a regular basis will know I tend to go on about two things. One is my political ranting, which I try to keep separate from my business life. The other subject may not seem particularly business oriented but, from an insight point of view, I think its a fundamental element of what I do.

A couple of years ago I came to a personal conclusion about life which, when I tell people about it, usually registers a sort of ‘so what’ shrug.

To me though the idea that ‘the universe is conscious because I am conscious’ was an amazing revelation. I know it’s hardly a new idea. Lots of religions say something very much along these lines and quite a lot of new age mumbo jumbo assert something similar too. But the difference to me was that I’d worked this conclusion out from things I’d observed myself. What’s more, I think the statement is absolutely irrefutable – even for the most empirically-minded skeptic.

The argument goes like this: I am made up of atoms and particles and all of that other stuff Prof. Brian Cox likes to enthuse over. I am just a physical object made up of other physically objects that can be found floating around the universe. There is nothing special or magical about me that can’t be explained by physics, chemistry and a very long period of time. I’m a bit of the universe bound together into this admittedly quite elaborate bundle of stuff.

I assume you’re with me on that. The human form isn’t anything particularly special and conforms to the laws of nature that can be found everywhere in the universe. I am made up of the universe and I am indivisible from the universe.

And yet I am aware of myself. I have theories and ideas about my place in the world and how and why I came to be here. I am, in a word, conscious.

Putting these two irrefutable conclusions together, it is only logical to conclude that the universe is conscious. The Universe Is Conscious.

I’m not saying necessarily that the universe is uniformly conscious. I’m not saying necessarily that the stars we look up to at night are looking back at us or that the atoms that make up my cornflakes have an opinion about my eating them. But I can say with absolute certainty that some parts of the universe ARE conscious, because I am conscious and because I am a little part of the universe.

So what?

Yes, indeed, so what?

That was the next question that came to mind once I’d settled on this conclusion. Why am I conscious / why is the universe conscious? What purpose does it serve the universe for some or all of it to be conscious and aware of itself?

Sadly I am still working on this conundrum. On a personal level I can gain a sense of pleasure from being aware of my own existence and the amazing world I live in, but I’ve yet to identify any particular benefit being derived by the wider universe that extends beyond my own form.In fact, I did, for a while become quite depressed by the idea that there didn’t seem to be any kind of benefit when looked at on the grand scale.

But that’s for a different blog post.

The reason I’m sharing all of this with you is because I’ve just been listening to a BBC Radio 4 programme (again already!) about this very subject and if you are in any way intrigued by the ideas and ramblings I’ve just been writing about, you might also want to listen to this broadcast / podcast:

Here’s the link:

A Natural History of Me!

If only one in ten cells in the body is human, then what are we? Paul Evans investigates.

WRITE IT down: James Pennebaker…

13/04/2013 § 2 Comments


Diary (Photo credit: Barnaby)

Not sure if anyone interested in psychology caught this BBC Radio 4 yesterday, but I found it fascinating. As someone who’s kept a diary all my life and wondered why, Pennebaker suggests diary writers are more psychologically disturbed than the norm – but that they would be far worse if they didn’t keep a diary. (may be related to Facebook?) Writing things down allows you to create a narrative from an otherwise chaotic experience of life…


NEW TWIST on old media…

24/02/2013 § Leave a comment


See More here: http://designtaxi.com/news/355900/Charming-Vintage-Style-Typographic-Chalkboard-Art/

On the same sort of theme, it reminds me of some of Jeremy Deller’s work when he uses an old medium – in this case early parade banners –  to say unconventional things. I just enjoy the twist both approaches achieve.

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18/02/2013 § Leave a comment

English: Members of the Christopher Street Day...

The National Union of Journalists were on strike today, meaning the BBC’s Radio 4 was finding it hard to fill its airtime at around 8 o’clock this morning.

Normally I’d be fully in support of the journalists, whilst at the same time feeling a little distressed that I didn’t know what was going on in the world. Fortunately however, this industrial dispute meant that, instead of John Humphrey’s yelling at a Government minister about horse meat, I took my shower listening to a short lecture about innovation, which I’d encourage anyone interested in insight and breakthrough thinking to spend 14 minutes doing the same (listening I mean, rather than taking a shower – though that was good too.)

In it, you’ll hear the economist Tim Harford tell the moving story of Mario Capecchi, whose struggle to get funding for his experiments tells us much about where new ideas come from, and how to foster them.

You can listen or download the podcast below.


The picture, obviously was purely a gratuitous ploy to grab eyeballs… sorry

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