Tag Archives: Semantic Web

Antics with Semantics: The Innovation Interview with Semantics Pioneer, Ora Lassila

Wanting to speak to someone, both interesting and inspiring, about the Semantic Web and Innovation, Ora Lassila, an Advisory Board Member of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) as well as Senior Architect and Technology Strategist for Nokia‘s Location and Commerce Unit, was the obvious ‘go to guy’.

A large part of Ora’s career has been focussed on  the Semantic Web as it applies to mobile and ubiquitous computing at the Nokia Research Center (NRC), where he, among many things, authored ‘Wilbur’, the NRC’s Semantic Web toolkit.   As impressive as that is, as I did my research, finding out more about Ora, the more fascinating he, and his career, became to me.

Ora is one of the originators of the Semantic Web, having been working within the domain since 1996.  He is the co-author (with Tim Berners-Lee and James Hendler) of the, to date, most cited paper in the field, ‘The Semantic Web’.  Ora even worked on the knowledge representation system ‘SCAM’,  which, in 1999, flew on a NASA Deep Space 1 probe.

Leading up to our attendance and presentation at the Berlin Semantic Tech and Business Conference, Michael– the true ‘tech head’ of KimmiC – and I were extremely pleased that Ora, ‘the Mac Daddy’ of the Semantic Web, gave us so much of his time.   I hope you find our conversation with him as interesting as we did!

[I’ve italicised Michael’s questions to Ora so you are able to differentiate between us – though, I think it will become obvious as you read – lol!]

Ora Lassila (photo credit: Grace Lassila)

Ora Lassila: Capital I Interview Series – Number 13

Lets start out by talking about Innovation in general, and we’ll move on to the Semantic Web as we go along.   As this is the Innovation Interview Series, the ‘baseline’ question is always: how do you define Innovation?

Good question.  I think many people do not make a clear distinction between ‘innovation’ and ‘invention’.

To me, ‘innovation’ is something that not only includes some new idea or ideas, but also encompasses the deployment and adoption of such.  You can invent clever new things, but if you don’t figure out how to get people to use those new things, you have fallen short of the mark.

How essential has innovation been in your career to date; and how important do you envisage it being, going forward?

It has been important.  A big part of my professional career was spent in a corporate research lab, where inventing new things was less of a challenge than getting these inventions ‘transferred’ to those parts of the corporation that had more capability in promoting their adoption and deployment.

That said, I have learned that ‘technology transfer’ is not always about taking concrete pieces of technology, software for example, and handing them over to someone else for productization.  Sometimes the transfer is more ‘insidious’ and involves influencing how people in your organisation – or outside your organisation – think and see the world.

I would claim that some of my early work on the Semantic Web absolutely fits this definition.  So writing, publishing and talking all constitute viable means.  Also, we should not forget that people need to be inspired.  You cannot just tell them what to do, instead, they have to want to do it.

What do you think are the main barriers to the success of innovation?

I am not kidding when I say that the absolute biggest obstacle is communication.  That is, we should learn to communicate our ideas better to be able to convince people and to inspire them.  I have much to learn in this area.

Who and what inspires you? Where do you look for inspiration?

I have no good or definite answer for that.  When I was younger I was really inspired by the Spanish aviation pioneer Juan de la Cierva whose simple yet radical idea about aircraft – the ‘autogiro’ – paved the way for the adoption of helicopters.  And yet, one might argue that, in many ways helicopters are a far more complicated and complex technology than de la Cierva’s original invention.

Juan de la Cierva y Codorníu, 1st Count of De La Cierva

I am inspired by simplicity… I strive to create and design things that are simple, or at least not any more complicated than necessary.

What are, in your view, the current emerging critical trends in Innovation and technology?

I like openness, things like open-source software as well as Open Access and sharing of data as part of the scientific process.  I am hoping we see a fundamental change in how research is done.  In many ways we have progressed to a point where many problems are so complex that they are beyond a single researcher’s or research group’s capacity and capability to tackle.

Also, on the topic of openness, I like some of the recent developments in open government, e-Government, and such.

And what are some of the coolest mobile technologies you’re seeing launched? 

I am much enamoured with the idea that mobile technologies – particularly via the use of GPS, etc. – ‘ground’ many services to the physical world.  There are many uses for location information, uses that help me in my everyday life.

Furthermore, by making the mobile device better understand the current ‘context’, not only geographically but also by making use of other observations about the physical world (movement, sound, etc.), we can make applications and services better for users.

Do you think we will have a ‘meshed up’ world that effectively bypasses the stranglehold telcos have on infrastructure?

I don’t necessarily agree that the telcos have a ‘stranglehold’.   They provide an important service and a critical investment in an infrastructure I don’t really see us living without.

But we need things like ‘net neutrality’ to make sure that this infrastructure really serves people in an open and non-discriminatory way.  in this regard I am also concerned about more recent legislative attempts [SOPA, PIPA, ACTA] that (perhaps unintentionally) will hurt the overall technical function of the Internet.

It seems that current Web based business models are founded on the idea that businesses have the right to record everything about users/consumers and profit from this information.  Do you think this is a sustainable business model, or do you think the user/consumer will start to think that they, and their data, is worth something and begin to demand recompense of some sort?

There are very few fundamentally different, viable, business models on the Web, so I can see that businesses would want to cash in on user data.  It is only a matter of time before the consumers ‘wise up’ and understand the value of their own data.  Personally I think we should aim at ‘business arrangements’ where all parties benefit.  This includes concrete benefits to the user, perhaps in a way where the user is a bona fide business partner rather than just someone we collect data about.

It is important to understand that what’s at stake here is not only how some user data could be monetized, it is also about users’ privacy.  Luckily I work for an organisation [Nokia] that takes consumer privacy very seriously.

You’ve got a fascinating history, and seem to have gotten into the Semantic Web at the very beginning.

The very, very beginning, yes.  I think I can argue that I’ve been doing this longer than the term has actually existed.

In ’96 I went to work at MIT…  I’d just been hired by Nokia, and they wanted to send somebody to MIT as a kind of visiting faculty member.   So, I worked in Tim Berners-Lee’s team, and one day he asked me what I thought was wrong with the web.

Tim Berners-Lee

Just a small question.

Yeah, not intimidating at all.

I said: “My hope has been to be able to build,” – what then would have been called agents, autonomous agents – and I said: “I can’t really do that because the web was built for humans and human consumption.  I would really, really like to see a web that was more amenable for consumption by automated systems.”

And he [Berners-Lee] said: “Yeah, that’s it! Now, how do we fix that?”

And I went: “Well, how about we try knowledge representation and apply that to web technologies.”  Because knowledge representation is a branch of artificial intelligence that has a long history of taking information and representing it in such a way that you can reason about it then draw conclusions from it… things like that.  We agreed that I would look into that, and that’s really how I got into all this.

Of course I had worked on various projects before that, that involved ontologies and knowledge representation, it just wasn’t done on the web.   The big reason being that the web had not really been invented yet.

There was Cyc and some other AI [Artificial Intelligence] things before that… 

Cyc is a very good example of an attempt to build a very large ontology that would encompass common sense knowledge.  But there are many examples of systems that used ontologies in one way or another for narrower domains.  Cyc was an overly ambitious project, in the sense that they really wanted to cover a lot of ground in terms of human knowledge.

I had worked on several projects in the past that applied ontologies to things like planning industrial production, or planning logistics.  So, the question really was, could you build a model of the world that was rich enough and precise enough that a system could use that knowledge to create plans for various things.  In my case those were plans for either how to run industrial production, or large fleets of logistics’ resources.

You were a long, long way in front of everybody else… at least ten years.  It’s incredible!

One might argue too far ahead.

I think at that time most people were just trying to come to grips with basic HTTP and web servers.  If you look at the vested interests, especially of software providers at that time… I guess it wasn’t really the right timing. But I think that time is coming now.

Yeah, I think we’re in a better position now and we’ve certainly seen a lot of adoption of Semantic Web technologies in the last few years.

I think elements of semantic are brilliant.   RDF, for example, is one of the smartest ways I’ve ever seen of describing something.  You can’t break the way semantics talks about something, whereas you can break the interpretation easily in XML.

I start to lose traction with it when it gets towards ontologies.  Do you think that ‘splitting the message’ would help with adoption?  For instance, you can use ontologies, but there is also a part of semantics which is brilliant for just doing ‘business as usual’?

I think there is a fairly broad spectrum of possible ways of making use of this technology.  I’m sure you’ve seen diagrams of the so called layer cake, with the different technologies layered on top of one another.

A Semantic Web Stack (layer cake) [image created by Tim Berners-Lee

I think that it’s up to you to decide how far up that layered structure you want to go.  There are a lot of applications where very simple use of just some of the most basic technologies will give you a lot of benefit.  And then there are other problems where you may actually want to separate a lot of the understanding of your domain from your actual executing code…  for those kinds of things, encapsulating that knowledge in the form of a potentially very complex ontology may be a good way to go.

My issue with ontologies is exactly the same issue I have with the current enterprise software providers… If you talk about mass adoption, as opposed to just specific domain adoption, for every extra entity – be it a class or data table – you decrease your adoption exponentially.   And, once you go up to higher levels, you shouldn’t assume you’re the only person that has a valid way of looking at the world, though you may be using the same data.  I think we’re saying the same thing…

Absolutely.  The interesting thing to say about the current enterprise software providers, I think, is that they have one model of the way to look at the world.   There are cases where companies have had to change the way they do business in order to adopt the enterprise software [currently available].

You have two choices: you either do it their way or else you spend a few million bucks and you do it their way anyhow.

I think that there is a possibility, with these Semantic Web technologies, of getting into more flexible uses of information and I kind of like that idea.

Over the last few years I’ve become increasingly interested in our ability to share information.  When you start talking about sharing it becomes really dangerous to have very complex, strictly defined semantics.  Because, like you said, other people might have a different interpretation of things.

But you want to nail some things down.  Understanding something about [the] information would give you a baseline for interoperating.  And then, you could do ‘better’ interoperation if you had a better definition of the meaning of the information.

I agree with you about understanding information.  But I think where most things fall to pieces – and this is also looking at business model languages and stuff – as soon as you get anywhere near processes with that information, it goes to hell pretty quickly. 

Exactly.  I spent a few years, at the beginning of the previous decade, working on a large Semantic Web research program funded by DARPA [Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency].  I was part of an effort to see if we could use ontological technologies to model web services.

Is that DAML and stuff like that?

Exactly; DAML, and DAML-S for services.  We very quickly got into process modeling; and those kinds of things get very difficult…

Very quickly.

Absolutely.  I think that’s the thing that still needs work.

The traditional approach to anything process-oriented just doesn’t work unless you have very tight coupling and a very controlled domain.  But I think there are a lot of different ways of trying to solve the same problem without having to get to that level.

I think that one of the things that is missing from the whole Semantic Web collection of specifications is this notion of action… a notion of behaviour.  It’s hard to model, but I think that we ought to work on that some more.

We [KimmiC/FlatWorld] have taken a more hybrid approach, so we use things like REST architecture, and a lot of stuff from the business world, in terms of authentication and authorisation. 

Sure.  I’m not in any way advocating the use of the WS_* collection of technologies. I’m not a big fan of those.

I’ve looked at all the SOAP stuff and there are a lot of problems… like business process deployment.  It is a nightmare to deploy these technologies.  It’s even more of a nightmare to load balance them.


Essentially, if you’re looking for dynamic relationships – be it in business or whatever – they’re just useless for that sort of thing.  They’re always designed around having control of a large domain space; this is especially true when it comes to deployment of applications.  I just think they’ve missed the point. 

I think the web is the best example of a redundant, massively-distributed application; and we need to look at it more as, “That’s the model,” and we have to work with it.

Absolutely.  I think that for 20 years there have been discussions about these sorts of ad hoc enterprises, or collections of smaller companies, being able to very quickly orchestrate themselves around a particular mission [purpose].  But I think that these technologies, just like you said, are probably not the right answer.

When you wrote your 2009 position paper you noted that rather than languages, the  biggest issues or problems facing the uptake of the Semantic Web were 1. Selling the idea; and 2.  A decent user interface.

Why did you feel that was the case then; and, has your opinion changed regarding these issues in the two+ years since you wrote your paper? 

Semantic Web technologies are well suited to situations where you cannot necessarily anticipate everything – say, about the conditions and context in which an application is used, or which kind of data an application might have available to it.  It is like saying that this is a technology for problems we are yet to articulate.  Sounds like a joke, but it isn’t, and the problem in ‘selling’ Semantic Web technologies is often about the fact that once a problem has been clearly articulated, there are many possible technologies that can be used to solve it.

The issue I have with user interfaces and the user experience is the following: Semantic Web technologies – or more generally, ‘ontological’ technologies – give us a way to represent information in a very expressive manner… that is, we can have rich models and representations of the world.  I feel that user interface technology has a hard time matching this expressiveness.  This issue is related to what I said earlier about not being able to anticipate all future situations; writing software that can handle unanticipated situations is hard.

All that said, I don’t like the term ‘Semantic Web applications’.  Users shouldn’t have to care, or need to know, that Semantic Web technologies were used.  These are just useful things in our toolbox when developing applications and services.

What are the key challenges that have to be solved to bring those two problems together?

I am really looking for new programming models and ways to add flexibility.  This is not only a technical problem, we also need to change how people think about software and application development.  I have no silver bullets here.

How do you see applications developing in the next few years – compared to the current environment – as you have mention we have to shift our minds from an application that ‘owns and controls’ it’s own data rather than simply interacting with data?

I think, again, this is about changing how people think about application development.  And, more specifically, I would like to see a shift towards data that carries with it some definition of its semantics.

This was one of the key ideas of the Semantic Web, that you could take some data, and if you did not understand it, there would be ‘clues’ in the data itself as to where to go to find what that data means.

As I see it, the semantics of some piece of data either come from the relationship this data has with other data – including some declarative, ‘machine-interpretable’ definition of this data, for example, an ontology – or are ‘hard-wired’ in the software that processes the data.  In my mind, the less we have the latter, and the more we have the former, the better.

In previous interviews you’ve noted that you feel users should have a say “in how they view  information.”  Do you think that users should become involved in making the semantic web more ‘usable’? And if so, how?

I think users should demand more.  There needs to be a clear ‘market need’ for more flexible ways of interacting with information.  User experience is a challenge.

On this topic, I also want to point out how unhappy I am with the modern notion of an ‘app’.  Many apps I have seen tend to merely encapsulate information that would be much better offered through the Web, allowing inter-linking of different content, etc. It kind of goes with what I said earlier about openness…

There’s a lot of guys saying they can plug two systems together easily, but it almost always means at the data level.   It doesn’t really work once you start applying context on top of it.

I’d like to see a middle ground where we have partial interoperability between systems, because that’s how humans interact.

That’s something we’re looking at as well.  I view it like this: when I go through Europe, I can speak a little bit of German, a little bit of French. I’m not very good, but I have to have a minimal level of semantic understanding to get what I want: to get a beer.  I don’t have to understand the language completely, just enough, in context, to act on it.

Speaking of acting on things… Ora, where are you going with semantics in the future?

That’s a good question. Right now I’m working on some problems of big data analytics.

With semantics?

Nokia is investing in large-scale analytics, so I’m in the middle of that right now.

I’m currently looking at how to tackle the problem of how to bootstrap behaviour.  Behaviour and notions of action are not well-tackled in the space of the Semantic Web, and I’d really like to get into bringing two information systems in contact with one another, and have them figure out how to interoperate.

That’s very ambitious.

Right.  And I’m not entirely sure if people understand that that’s an important question to tackle.

Oh, it’s an important question to tackle; it’s just more a question of… Again, you’re very far ahead of the game.

Well, I think that today, if you want to make systems A and B interoperate, it’s usually a large engineering undertaking.  So, it’s directly related to the question of separating information from applications…  you could pick the applications you like and take the information that you’re interested in and make something happen.  In terms of interoperating systems, right now we have a situation where we either have full interoperability, or we have nothing… we have no middle ground.

You can learn more about Ora via his website, blog and  Twitter feed.

[Kim, Michael and Ora Skyped from their homes in Boston and Sydney.]

[This interview has been translated into the Serbo-Croatian language by Jovana Milutinovich of Webhostinggeeks.com]

‘Capital I’ Innovation (Part 2) – An Introduction to the ‘Capital I’ Interview Series

To misquote Elvis Costello, “What’s so funny ‘bout Peace, Love and”  Innovation with a ‘Capital I’?

The reason I ask is, well… it seems to be something of a contentious subject. But hey, for a blog, I reckon that’s a good thing. Its the Lindsay Lohan side of blogging… at least they’re talking about it!

Seriously though, I have been really pleased to see the great number of people who are commenting on and discussing ‘Capital I’ Innovation, since the posting of Part 1 of this series last week. Apparently many readers are pleased that there is finally a ‘banner’ they can carry as they strive to stride forward.

There have also been those who have felt it necessary to remind me that there is nothing wrong with ‘little i’ innovation – though their penchant for ‘kissing frogs’ is beyond me (do see Part 1 of this series for the outing of this particular ‘in’ joke) – I totally agree. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the ‘little i’s’, however, they’re not what gets my heart pumping.

‘Capital I’ Innovation is what gets my motor running; this has been the case for many year, irrespective of what genre the innovation comes from. Throughout my years in the media I consistently strove to find people who broke the mold, led the pack, moved their own particular mountains – and find them I did. I also found some common denominators between them.

Though totally diverse, there are things that link these people, for instance, though at times daunting, they are compelled to tell their truths. Whether we want to hear it or not. Though many of them may not see themselves as business people, they are all certainly entrepreneurs – consciously or otherwise – and they steadfastly maintain and protect their ‘brands’.

Some of them boldly go where no one has been before, and most of them are applauded for it.  However, not all are popular for their decision to take ten steps forward, when one would, possibly, have been enough. Certainly a baby step would be easier to sell than the strides they often take. And yet this does not stop them, nor even slow them down. Whether they want the accolades or not, it should be noted that some of them may have even changed the way we see the world, if only in a small way.

I believe that ‘Capital I’ innovators deserve recognition, not just for their innovations, but for the very fact that they have refused to bow down to banality and boredom while they avoid or ignore the labels thrust upon them – even if the label begins with a ‘Capital I’.

In no particular order, I’d like to tell you about some of my past favorite ‘Capital I’ Innovator interviews:
Madelaine Albright – I was extremely fortunate to have been able to spend some time with this most gregarious and engaging, thought provoking and thoughtful woman. It came as no surprise to me that she would be erudite, informed and interesting; what was intriguing was the warmth she exudes and her infectious sense of humour, which was present throughout our interview.

  • Ms. Albright was the first female American Secretary of State – and thus the highest ranking women in American political history during her tenure.
  •  She was certainly not born on an easy path to public service, as her personal life saw more than its share of turbulence. In 1939 she and her family escaped to London after Germany invaded Czechoslovakia; many Jewish members of her family who were not able to escape were killed in the Holocaust.
  •  Following her retirement, Albright did not shy away from forthrightly and frankly commenting on world affairs. In one Newsweek International interview, she noted her fear that, “Iraq is going to turn out to be the greatest disaster in American foreign policy – worse than Vietnam.”
  • Perhaps the quote from that interview, which still resonates most strongly with me is this, “I wish everybody liked me, but that’s not possible; and I think in many ways, one is known by who dislikes you. I would just as soon be disliked by people who think that Milosevic was a good person. So, I accept those who dislike me with some honour.”

Terry Gilliam – I interviewed Terry the day after he had collected a Life Time Achievement Award at Amsterdam’s Fantastic Film Festival. As thought provoking as he is, I do believe I laughed more during this interview than any other, prior or since.

  • The animated, animating genius of the UK’s Monty Python’s Flying Circus,  Gilliam went on to direct some of the most memorable motion pictures of the last thirty years. Think: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Excuses à l’avance pour notre fabuleux amis français!), Time Bandits, Brazil, The Fisher King, Twelve Monkeys, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas starring Johnny Depp as the madly brilliant, or brilliantly mad, Hunter S. Thompson.
  •  Most Innovators and entrepreneurs are ‘multi-taskers’, and some would say they have to be. For Gilliam, this just came naturally: “I want to see the other side of something. So many things in my life have happened around me as I’m bumbling around doing what interests me.  I began as a physics major … Then I became an art major for a while… Politics turned out to be the major with the least number of required courses and the maximum number of electives. Under that I could do drama, oriental philosophy and economics; I invented a very liberal education for myself.”

Tom Wolfe – It’s only fitting that I follow Gilliam, who worked with HST (and from what I understand, it really did feel like a whole lotta work!), with Tom Wolfe, ‘The Man in White’. When I met Mr. Wolfe, who did, yes, arrive in his ubiquitous, immaculate white suit, I had to continually remind myself that I was conducting an interview, and not having tea with one of the icons who, as a young woman, made me realize that I wanted to be a writer.

  •  An acclaimed novelist of such works as The Right StuffThe Bonfire of the Vanities,  and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Wolfe is also one of the originators, along with HST of Gonzo Journalism – which can be described as that which puts the cynical-eye in eye-witness.
  • Being constantly labeled a Conservative doesn’t both him either, “Its okay with me, but I always say: What’s my agenda, what’s my program, what am I trying to do, what am I trying to accomplish? Really it just means that I’m not going along with the fashionable line.”

Brian Greene  – Going from fiction to fact in one healthy swoop (unless of course you are a card carrying creationist from back-yeller-holler) this particular thought leader stands out for me in the realm of science.

  •  The renowned physicist and Pulitzer Prize finalist is finally bringing the theories from his book, The Fabric of the Cosmos, to a wider audience with a four-part miniseries for PBS in November.
  •  Perhaps because he truly believes that the majority of laymen share his thirst to understand the great ideas of science, Greene has found a way to explain these things – like using a loaf of sliced bread to explain wave particle duality §- using a language we can understand. Greene is able to impart his enthusiasm for subjects which, for most, may not be particularly palatable. He is able to speak the language that his listeners understand, thus, rather than speaking to me in terms common to Quantum physicists, he explained his ‘winding up’ of string theory in terms of poetry. We came to an agreement that, as in poetry – where often times the space between words is as important as the words themselves – with his theory, the space between the strings, is as important as the strings.

Nitin Sawhney – Speaking of strings, and music in general, London based Nitin Sawney is a standard bearer at the forefront of building bridges between Eastern and Western artistic genres and communities.

  •  Regarded as one of the world’s most influential and creative talents, he is a walking crescendo of crossing cultures. Sawhney is a film producer, songwriter, DJ, acclaimed flamenco guitarist and jazz pianist; he has even created music for a Play Station 3 game. I met the sublime Sawnhey in 2006 in Amsterdam  where he was conducting a symphony orchestra performing his composition for the 1929 silent movie,  A throw of  the Dice, alongside the screening of the film.

Eric Staller – live performances are what the installations of artist/inventor Eric Staller are all about.

  • Light and bikes are two common threads in Eric’s work, and my time with him was during his performance for the city of Amsterdam, with his mobile public artwork the PeaceTank. Seven masked and costumed riders toured the city on one of Staller’s circular ConferenceBikes. The team was led by a  symbolic Barack Obama (prior to his election) steering the PeaceTank, while past and present world leaders helped to power the pedals, contributing to the forward motion and the tour of the city. Staller believes in change.

John Wood –  I cannot have a list such as this, without including a man who is all about change. The author of Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, which he did, Wood changed his life –and was soon to change the course of a myriad more lives.

  • This change followed a 1998 trekking holiday through Nepal, where he became aware of the absolute lack of educational resources available there. He determined to build an international organization to work with villages in the developing world to meet the educational needs of villages and villagers.
  • With the help of a committed group of global volunteers,  Wood created the award winning charity, Room to Read. The Room to Read business model includes measured, sustainable results, low–overhead and Challenge Grants cultivating community ownership, along with strong local staff and partnerships. Perhaps most importantly, it is inculcated with the GST attitude (Get Sh*t Done).
  •  When I first met Wood, in 2005, in his role as part Dr. Seuss and part Andrew Carnegie – the Scottish philanthropist who built 2,500 libraries throughout the U.S. – Wood explained his long term goals to me. He wanted Room to Read to have opened 5,000 libraries by the end of 2007, and long-term, to have  provide educational access to 10 million children in the developing world by 2020. In later meetings he upped the ante stating that he wanted to have reached his target of 10 million children by 2015.
  •  Room to Read is well on its way to not only meeting, but surpassing those targets. By the end of Q1 2011 Room to Read’s accomplishments included: having built more than 1,400 schools and 11,000 libraries; they have published more than 553 Local Language Books, distributed more than 9 millions books, given more than 10,500 Girls’ scholarships and benefitted the lives of more than 5 million children. Now that’s GingSD on a monumental scale!

Thoughts of all of these inspiring innovative men and women make it particularly pleasant for me to, with today’s post, announce the launch of a new interview series, ‘The Capital I Interviews’.

These interview subjects come from a wide range of industries and crafts. They include technologists, futurists, artists and artisans, business leaders, market changers, venerated vintners, garrulous gastronomes as well as the great unwashed and underutilized. The group includes individuals who work in all types of circumstances, be they lone-wolves, or part of SMEs, large organizations or institutions. They are part of the public sector, the private sector. The only requisite is that ‘Capital I’.

I look forward to introducing you to this new group of ‘Capital I’ Innovators in the coming weeks and months.  The lineup is growing bigger everyday, and we look forward to delving into  a wide range of topics such as:

  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship;
  • The imperatives and barriers to enabling ‘Capital I’ Innovation to occur, let alone flourish;
  • How Innovation has affected particular career paths;
  • ‘Capital I’ Innovation heroes, and,
  • Does Innovation have a nation?

If you think we’ve missed something – don’t hesitate to let us know by posting a comment here.

I hope you join me in celebrating their successes, supporting them in their attempts, and standing together in our determination to move forward – together.