In the outside world: 6th December

Anjali Ramachandran, Head of Innovation, on noteworthy media happenings this week:

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MoneyDashboard

For anyone with an interest in management, planning and strategy, this is an excellent read from NYU professor and author Clay Shirky on why the US government failed with healthcare.gov. He has strong opinions: if politicians and leaders believe that ‘complex technology can be procured like pencils’ they need to look at what they’re trying to achieve long and hard, and the very basic but important point that if you don’t listen when people working on a project tell you there are problems, those problems are not going to go away. I’ve been a Shirky fan for years and he doesn’t often pen thought pieces, so do take the time to read it.

The Pew Research Centre and the Knight Foundation analysed the consumption of news when people access it via social media sites; they tracked 11 in particular. It is a US-focussed study but you’d imagine that the UK results would be similar. Facebook, followed by YouTube and then Twitter are the top sources.

The US has had mint.com for ages, where users can analyse their finances in detail. It’s very popular and successful. I mentioned the ongoing changes in the finance industry to a finance client just last week, so was happy to note that a startup called MoneyDashboard just received £2.7 million to help UK customers do the same. The other interesting news is that BBH’s Zag division is a shareholder in the company.

The success of the UK’s new Government Digital Service-created website is an example of the huge impact design can have when it comes to people being able to access information simply. In the same vein, Better A&E is a pilot project that has used design on noticeboards and posters to help the NHS reduce violence, aggression and frustration in A&E waiting rooms. One hospital in Southampton and another in London implemented the new design to excellent effect. Threatening body language and aggressive behaviour fell by 50% and for every £1 spent on the media solution, £3 was generated in benefits. There’s more in Creative Review here.

Google had their first ever ‘donatable Hangout-a-thon’ in celebration of Giving Tuesday (Black Friday, Cyber Monday, then express intense remorse for all your excessive shopping and donate to charity) this week. Celebrities made appearances and people were also able to donate via the hangout, which was an interesting feature. People have been able to shop via live Google+ hangouts before but the live donation feature is brand new.

And even better than the announcement of the Amazon Air Prime service where Jeff Bezos has visualised a world where drones will deliver our shopping in 30 minutes, is the Waterstones comeback that they’ll give you deliveries by OWLS (Ornithological Waterstones Landing Service). Now that’s called prompt response via social media, and a great PR story to boot. Well done Waterstones! Take a look, have a laugh, and enjoy the weekend!

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