A London story

By Jonny Evans

This is a difficult day in London. Collectively Londoner's are gripped in anxious consideration of recent events. There's real fear violence may return to the streets today, though also signs of hope as communities work together to clear up the damage.  If ever there was a London problem that demanded a real Apple CEO Steve Jobs "Eureka" moment, this is it.

I confess I'm finding it difficult to analyse an iPhone rumor on a day when parts of my city are burning. London's problems are complex and some are political. I certainly don't see an exploration of the politics of this problem as at all relevant to this blog, but I can't help but recall what Apple's boss has said when it comes to developing solutions.

Take innovation and recession, for example: "The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting," he has said. "The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament."

This isn't just about dollar spend: "When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it," he said another time.

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So, it isn't about the money, but about where it is placed. "A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them," Jobs has also said. "Do what you love," he has advised.  Being passionate about what you're trying to do seems to be critical. Making connections between things that others cannot see. Joining the dots to kick-start your brain. Looking for non-obvious relationships which together perhaps define and serve a need.

There is a technological story of the day here today. It's a positive one. Londoners have been grabbing their news from Twitter overnight, mainly because the service has been a better, faster portal for up-to-the-minute information (and some false data) than slower-moving conventional news channels.

As events unfolded last night, a new Twitter group sprang up, @Riotcleanup (also now a website). This group now boasts over 50,000 followers and membership is climbing fast. It's a positive grass-roots attempt which is seeing hundreds of Londoners band together to lend a hand cleaning up the damage done.

Sure, it is a simple exercise in community activism, but as an expression that most of the people who live here do not condone the violence, that we want to protect our city and our communities, that we have the ability to care about our neighbors, that we can make a positive difference to what is going on -- surely this is something to be welcomed?

It is a beginning, after all.

There's a lot of damage to fix, not all of it physical.

Wish us luck.

Please do follow me on Twitter so I can let you know when I post new reports here at Computerworld.   

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