Loose-coupling is the idea we need now.

The current crisis we face has revealed lots of systemic and societal issues and inequalities, and lots of inadequacies in our thinking and how we’ve constructed our lives based on our mental models. One of the ideas we’ve built upon is that tight-coupling provides security, solidity and reliability. We’re starting to realise that the downsides of tight-coupling include over-reliance on structures and systems that by their very nature include single-points-of-failure, cascading failures, and knock-on effects.

Tight-coupling is the idea that the parts of that system should be dependent and reliant on the other parts. A business with a fixed supply chain that relies on a single supplier is tightly-coupled, and if that supplier fails then the business fails. A family with a single source of income from one person’s job is tightly-coupled, and if that employer fails then the family fails. A person with few or highly specialised skills needs an industry that requires those skills, and if that industry fails to need those skills then the person fails.

Loose-coupling comes from computer system design, and in our internet-era we should be considering how ideas that understand the nature of networks can be used in our mental models. Loose-coupling means that any part of the system can be replaced without disrupting the entire system. A business can quickly and easily swap suppliers, a family can shift to another income source, a person can make use of lots of different skills.

Now more than ever, as we think about what the future of our society, our economy, our businesses, and our lives look like, we should be avoiding building tightly coupled systems and convincing ourselves of the illusion of solidity that comes with it. Instead we should build loosely coupled systems that give us multiple routes through the networks, allow us to replace parts more easily, and are adaptable, flexible, and able to respond to changes and crisis.

Linking TV programmes

Running route planner app

An idea for an app for runners: It asks how far you want to run, e.g. A marathon, over how many days, e.g. 30, and then plots a circular route on Google Maps for that distance. And if you miss a run it would spread that missed distance out over the remaining days. It could even allocate the distance to be run each day on a curve so that you start with a smaller distance and go further each day and by the end of the time period you’ve covered the total distance.

Safe Driving App Idea

This app would have four main aspects:

1. Sat nav
Pretty standard functionality but essential for getting users to put their phone into windscreen holder and open the app.

2. Looped video recording
Lots of drivers are using in-car cameras to record what’s going on in front of them so they’ll have evidence if they have an accident. This app would make use of the phone’s camera to record short videos that loop so erasing the previous recording unless you press a button to save the video.

3. Braking distance warning
Since the app is already using the camera and the GPS it could also use both to detect the vehicle in front, measure the distance between the two, and calculate the stopping distance at that speed. It would then alert the driver if they are getting too close and not leaving themselves enough safe braking distance.

4. Driving efficiency reports
Since the app is collecting data about the driving it may as well show the driver with a simple dashboard with things like top speed, average speed, etc., and more interestingly driving efficiency by calculating all the accelerating and braking and providing a score that encourages more efficient driving next time.

Slave Speakers – an idea for an app

I have an idea for an app. The app would be installed on all of your devices, would connect them using Bluetooth, and would allow you to assign one device as the master, on which you would play music, and make all the other devices slaves and so control their speakers to play the music from the master device. We all have multiple devices, now here is a way of using them to play music throughout your home.

Chat app idea

I need an app that pulls messages from various sources into a single interface so that regardless of whether someone sends me a text message or a Facebook message I can read and respond in just one app.

Faringdon Loyalty Card

Faringdon are introducing a loyalty card, a bit like my membership card idea from a while ago.

Loyalty card scheme to be launched in Faringdon on Saturday 9 June– 25/5/12

Residents in Faringdon will soon be able to get their hands on a brand new loyalty card offering discounts in many of the shops in the local area.

The new scheme, which will be launched on Saturday 9 June, will give people the opportunity to take advantage of offers in 31 outlets around the town, ranging from food retailers to hair and beauty. Offers that card holders will be able to take advantage of include exclusive money-off deals, special product give-away deals and many more.

The new loyalty card will be available for the first time to the public at a launch event on Saturday 9 June. People will be able to pick up a card from a stall manned by local businesses in Faringdon’s Market Place between 10am and 4pm, as well as from the 31 business outlets taking part in the scheme.

The cards which feature an illustration of the Folly Tower, cost just £2 each with all funds raised from the proceeds going back into developing the scheme and to benefit local business.

As well as receiving a fantastic array of potential discounts, anyone purchasing a loyalty card will also receive a regular emailed newsletter telling them about new offers and events in and around the area that they maybe interested in.

The scheme is being funded by Faringdon Chamber of Commerce and being delivered in partnership with the Vale of White Horse District Council.

Paul Brame, Chairman of the Faringdon Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Chamber is delighted to support this scheme and are very pleased that over 30 local businesses will now benefit.”

Cllr Elaine Ware, cabinet member for Economy, Leisure and Property for the Vale, said: “This scheme has received great support from traders in Faringdon who have provided some fantastic discounts for card holders to take advantage of. We hope that as many people as possible come along and get hold of a loyalty card and help support the local businesses involved.”
VWHDC – http://www.faringdon.org/nvtalkingpoints.htm

My idea was to get local independent businesses to sign up to provide a 10% discount to card holders who pay £10 to purchase the card. That way the scheme doesn’t cost the local businesses anything up front, which makes them more likely to sign up with the scheme, and all the income is from the sale of the cards, which would require a lot of pushing. I still think it’s a good idea, but like so many ideas, it would take someone to put a lot of time ad energy into it to make it work.