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Owen Pringle
Works at Amnesty International
Lives in London
193 followers|177,666 views
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Solis interviews Shervin Pishevar: "Innovation and disruption comes when you have nothing to lose," and why at 4:25. But hold out for a fascinating anecdote about his time in Uganda at 7:35.
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Owen Pringle

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After Amnesty activists relentlessly targeted Shell on Facebook, Twitter and email over the past few days, Shell have finally responded to us publically on their Facebook page! Take a look for yourself at https://www.facebook.com/Shell

Nevertheless, once again they are not taking responsibility and attempting to shift the blame. Lets keep up the pressure and hold them accountable for the mess they have caused! We want you to post the following response as a comment on their wall!

Shell, you say you clean up no matter what the cause - but Bodo has been in a mess since 2008. And according to the UN, the clean up job you do does not comply with Nigerian regulatory standards or even with your own! Yes, sabotage is a real and serious problem, but it is not and never can be a defence for decades of failure to stop spills and clean up pollution. You need to own up, pay up and clean up. http://bit.ly/shellcleanup
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Very wise move on Google's part, given the prevalence of low-spec handset users in the Global South, many of whom will graduate to entry-level smartphones over the next 48 months.
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Enough said, really.
Ali Adelstein originally shared:
 
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Jupiter (lower-right of moon) on a cold July night in London.
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Owen Pringle

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The First Digital Strike of 2014?

As I write, London's 48 hour tube strike is in full flow, directly impacting nearly 4m commuters per day, alongside countless more whose coveted personal space on bus or train is infringed upon by refugees from the underground network. Needless to say, it has resulted in absolute bedlam, but has also precipitated a blitz-like spirit amongst weary travellers as Zone apartheid is briefly forgotten.

This is, of course, no real crisis for Londoners. By the time you read this, we'll have moved on to our next obsession. However, the reasons behind the strike reveal a trend that will be felt for a long time to come. Under proposals from Transport for London (TfL), the capital’s transit authority, by 2015, there will be 950 fewer staff on the underground network, anticipated to save upto £40m per annum. And although 200 jobs could be created when the proposed 24-hour service goes ahead on weekends in the same year, this still represents a significant net loss in terms of employees.

The proposed staff cuts will be achieved through the closure of 268 ticket offices. On the surface, this could be viewed as a simple cost-cutting measure, or an example of the unequal nature of Britain's financial recovery; after all, these are real people losing their livelihoods. But if you peel away the outer layers, it becomes painfully apparent that, at its heart, this is also a story of how technology and the utilisation of digital channels in industry have become so pervasive that they are changing the very fringes of business operations.

As I see it, there are three technological imperatives behind these changes. Firstly the fact that commuters, tourists and anybody else using the underground network, have shifted away from seeking relevant knowledge through personal contact, in the guise of a manned ticket office or information point, towards knowledge retrieval via their personal electronic device. A plethora of apps, services and social media tools are now available, providing a combination of real-time and legacy data, from official and unofficial sources. I use Twitter for real-time travel info, Google Maps for journey-planning and there is now even an app that will make automatic refund claims for delayed journeys on my behalf.

The second imperative relates directly to the automation of electronic ticket purchasing and renewal, in the guise of Oyster. Whilst London was not the first city to adopt a contactless smartcard system for public transport, the breadth of its usage is staggering. In the nine months to 2014, over 227m purchases were made, but only 42% were carried out at underground stations. A mere 3% of transactions are fulfilled through ticket offices.

TfL’s third imperative, I believe, is the opportunity to transform the physical spaces of ticket offices, from what I might hazard have become cost-centres, to profit-centres through their reassignment to click-and-collect points for busy online shoppers who prefer not to take time off work for an Amazon delivery. Already, Asda, Tesco and Waitrose have signed up to begin services later this year, and talks are being held with InPost, the parcel locker operator, all of which form part of a commercial strategy to boost TfL’s income to £3.5bn over the coming years.

Taken together, these technological imperatives amount to nothing short of an organisation responding to the unstoppable force that is digital change. Whilst the emotional cost of job losses should not be underestimated, it can come as no surprise that the metropolitan transportation system of a global city should respond to changing norms and embrace technology. Public transit innovation will continue to evolve, with the advent of self-driving vehicles, congestion management, urban tolling and sensors to monitor car parking spaces. Now the world's population is mostly urbanised, cities will become smarter by default, their inhabitants demanding more from civic infrastructures. 

But, far from being an isolated incident, TfL’s actions should be viewed as a trajectory for all businesses, irrespective of sector or geography. There are numerous, albeit less high-profile or newsworthy, examples of how responsive organisations are being to the challenges thrown up by digital transformation. Given the fact that no industry is immune from the technology-induced change we are beginning to experience at the fringes of industry, there will be many more. 
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Not really justifying or deriding the reasons behind the strike itself, Marco, but I feel your pain.
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Clever and timely take on the Noah Kalina original.
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Amnesty International has launched an open innovation challenge with IDEO with a view to using technology to reduce the impact of unlawful detention. Keen to get as many heads on this one as possible.
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Have him in circles
193 people
Nancy Schwartz's profile photo
Robyn Glen's profile photo
Stephanie Rudat's profile photo
Nicolas Flores's profile photo
Piotr Poznanski's profile photo
Florian Leppla's profile photo
roland van der harst's profile photo
Work
Occupation
Director of Digital Communications
Employment
  • Amnesty International
    Director of Digital Communications, 2007 - present
  • ITN
    Commercial Director, New Media, 1997 - 2000
  • BSkyB
    Brand Director, New Media, 2000 - 2002
  • Southbank Centre
    Head of Media Services, 2002 - 2007
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How you like them apples?
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London
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Manchester
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