To register or not to register your IP. That is the question

To be or not to be

Intellectual property is something people can struggle to understand. For me, it should be defined as:

  1. An element of a new product or service that offers your project an unfair advantage. An advantage you wish to make either unique or to exploit via licensing to competitors.
  2. An element of a product that makes it work differently and/or takes different inputs or outputs than your competitors that allows you to prove you are not replicating the IP of others

We create so much IP without even realising. There are a number of types of IP that we can consider registering. Some of which have value in particular contexts, none of which should be registered by a business unless they are of commercial rather than academic importance.

Businesses often innovate ideas, and some of these will be commercially successful. Some will not. We judge the commerciality of our idea based on our experience of our own business areas and expertise.

Assuming we see the potential in what we do then bingo we believe we have IP!

So what next? The first step is to shape analyse deeply what it is, is unique and apply the logic of IP law to your concept. Think first register second.

Non registered IP is often the route of the average startup. We can protect our ideas, at the very least for our own use with the limited hassle and limited risk. Outside of trademarks which I would recommend for any brand-driven business the registration of designs and patents should be driven by strict commercial governance. With the question being:

  1. Can I, or do I intend to enforce protection against larger players on my IP if I publicly disclose it?
  2. Do I believe that my patentable concept is a core driver of revenues within my business?
  3. Do I believe there would be a spin-off business or revenue stream in licensing my IP to other businesses?
  4. Do I believe my IP could be cross-licensed within my company to provide structural benefits within my organisation
  5. Do I intend to sell my company or IP in the future, will public registration support a better price than a company secret?

All questions for expert help.

Non registered IP- copyrighting

Whether you share material internally or publish it to the world then copyrighting is perhaps the most obvious and simple step in producing material. Whether it’s a legal agreement or a powerpoint, your ideas should be yours and yours alone unless otherwise agreed. Simple copyright shows you know what you are doing and how you’re going to approach it moving forward.

A few useful tips

  • Simply add your name and/or company and identify the copyright of the document as per the date of creation or publication. This way you protect yourself.
  • When commissioning third parties always have them agree to your ownership of copyright and other work outcomes. Otherwise, you could get a nasty surprise.
  • When co-creating or co venturing on a project always create an NDA. Even if it isn’t easily enforceable it sets the context of the conversation and it ensures how

Non registered IP- Company Secrets

Managing company secrets is important and where you believe you have IP of value but don’t want to publicise it or don’t want the rest of the market becoming aware of your approach, then company secrets and a methodology to manage them can be the preferred route.

A few tips

  • Send the basis of your ideas to yourself in a sealed envelope to be later opened in the event of a contending patent. If your idea is indeed patentable and is patented by others you can argue rights to it using this approach. If nothing else strengthening your case. Sometimes called the “poor man’s patent.” This approach can also be used to extend rights. That said how you handle IP internally on a day to day basis is more important than the act of time stamping and self-posting itself.
  • Ensure you have a timestamp on your design concept.
  • An idea is not a design concept. You should not consider ideas IP. They only become so once they have been seen as validated by your own market research.
  • Ensure you have policies as to how your IP is accessed and managed by staff, failure to implement this will diminish your company secrets.
  • If the IP is created by a staff member, why not reward them with recognition. You have a better chance to protect your IP with those who conceptualised it on board.

Registered IP


The easiest step is to consider is your brand name or your visual image important to what you own. If you had to rename your product or service would that be a costly problem? If you see your idea as really a “me too,” or an extension of someone else’s idea that had come before you, then is your ideas biggest asset the fact it can be trademarked? This is marketing. Registration and awareness are always best!


  • Protect exactly what you register. If you have a name that is unique register it in any style if you have a logo and brand document again register what you wish to hold as yours.
  • Don’t be put off if your name is registered in an unrelated field/ class. We are now in a global age where often names are not unique. Think Apple and Windows.
  • Provided the other company has no competitive interest in your space and your trading style in no way mimics their graphics then ultimately you should be fine.
  • File quickly a few hundred in costs can save you a mountain of costs, headache and time.
  • If there is a dispute and someone feels you are encroaching on their IP consider your next steps. It’s probably best to get advice.
  • If you don’t get a dispute still wait for your certificate from the IPO but identify companies who might have issues with your brand, don’t invest significant brand related capital before major investments.


Registered designs

Underutilized and yet fast to gain and rapid to apply. Seen most in the tech giants and used to maximum and often orbit shifting effect. Think of the apple app screens, home button etc. These have shaped how we integrate technology into our lives. Registered are not the poor mans IP. Just be careful not to rely too heavily on them. The big guys will have workarounds to your ideas, it’s your job to ensure your ideas are comprehensive and holistic enough to protect work arounds and to force licensing what you have created or alternatively buying you out. Be commercial register what matters economically.

  • Protect your approach for 25 years
  • Of importance to protect I that is systematic and not just brand related
  • There are ways of registering your specific work pathways through this mechanism if your method is strong enough
  • Are much faster to achieve than a traditional patent
  • Are just as enforceable as a patent
  • Do not come with
  • Once in the public domain, others will see and understand your approach. Make sure you’re comprehensive on your commercial USPs.
  • Be best to rather than just first to register your IP. File multiple applications if it’s required so as to strengthen your arsenal.
  • Why not right up your company secrets properly and index them. This will no doubt add rigor and value to your company.


We can sometimes believe these are restricted to the Einstein’s of the world and yet letting your Einstein loose on registration of IP by themselves can end up with Patents that although novel is of no commercial value. People often feel that patents are what investors will see as IP and yet patents take generally 2 plus years to achieve and require relatively significant effort to both file and protect. Most startups with IP therefore, shouldn’t defocus themselves through focusing limited resources on patents unless they have first devised a clear commercial strategy. If your plan was to register a patent application but you had no intention of completing or protecting it then I would be aware most VCs will not value your patent hugely and will likely be aware that even with a patent others will be designing competitive methods of achieving the goal your patent fits, even as you speak.

Of the IP one can register Patents are the only IP that tends to have tax benefits and incentives attached. A patent needs an input a process and an output which is both real and has physical significance.

In the UK software patents outside of image processing and data processing are extremely rare, as a result, other patent opportunities have to be sought which add value to the company and its processes.


  • Patents in many countries offer tax incentives. In some countries they must be fully approved in other OECD countries they must simply be argued for.
  • In the UK the patent box offers approximately 50% tax discount on patent-driven revenues (the figure is dependant on qualifying income)
  • When patenting target market must be considered. You can file extensions in target markets so as to ensure you cover the areas of the globe you plan to do business in. Your IP is both public and fair game after a while.
  • Dependant on what you want to register your patent for. My argument would be when its filed you should follow through to completion. Patent pending for 8 years as it can be in some European countries doesn’t fool anyone!
  • Patents are a solid mechanism of creating tax-efficient licensing revenue
  • Patents are a solid way of protecting given mechanisms which can make it difficult for competition to offer products and services that are as efficient as your own.


Whatever route you take with your IP file for the right reasons! Intellectual property. The product of our brains. Makes the world go around and it’s important you treat your own brain and its outcomes with the respect you deserve.

Extending the net of your IP and ensuring it is enforceable and is applied within your business is a whole other ball game maybe one for another article perhaps!



A call for “Psychological Equality,” and its importance to the workplace. Could it be even more important than Gender Equality


I have worked as part of many teams and served on a number of boards. Often as an entrepreneur, I felt as the outsider, the one who thought differently. This could lead to conflict and a failure in understanding between peoples of often very different psychological attitudes to how they approach problems and risk.

Equality has been a long-standing tenement to western society since universal suffrage. With the Gender pay gap in the news in the UK, could it be that perhaps “psychological equality,” is the next tenement that our society has to achieve?

Apples Think different advertisement famously said:

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

For every Gandhi, Jobs and Einstein there are unfortunately many millions of misfits who are “excluded from the team,” “denigrated,” made to feel different and unwelcome. Other forms of discrimination are obvious but its difficult until we interact with others in an environment to see how many of those who do indeed “think different,” never reach their potential, and in fact if “misunderstood,” early enough the individual can end up in a life of hardship, adding little value to society and being undervalued by it. Existing outside of the normal “social contract.” Is there a eugenics movement against the “quirky,” and behaviourally different within open society? If there is, is said exclusion ever the correct or only path?

The mainstream view just doesn’t always hold and unfortunately, this can exclude the different unless they stand up and be counted.

Although people have a natural state it is clear that day to day life is an intervention in itself. Individuals do change with time and can change with practice, shaping themselves to become the human beings that they want to become.

What people don’t realise is with identification and profiling within education, social interaction and the workplace, both individual and group-based interventions are possible. These should be used to encourage the value of psychological diversity, and the concept that groups of diverse thinkers are important to achieving the best results. For those that struggle significantly with social interaction, additional support should also be supplied. Not to make the individual the same as everyone else, or even fit in more, but to enable them to feel confident in themselves and their own talents and abilities.

Clean language is an important part of social change. Being specific about what it is that characterizes someone as different is important. Is it their learning style? Their DISC profile? Their Myers Briggs Results? Their Mental Toughness?

I’m of the belief its anything we can easily measure. Having some signposts towards a way of identifying difference is the first step to developing group-based interventions that allow us to make life more fulfilling for those that don’t fit the norm. While there are only a few concepts of gender or race we could find when we drill deep enough, we are indeed all “psychometrically diverse.”

I’d question do the children who learn in a different style, therefore, have less access to effective education? It’s easy to see how the learning style of a child can sway how talents are applied in a world run in the current academic system. Could a kinaesthetic ace a test/ and understand the material just as completely as an audio-visual learner if the course was taught or the exam applied differently?
Are the people in the boardroom who think different more open to personal risk? Is the individual who designs new processes, always destined to be seen by the majority as one who thwarts existing ones, for trying to do things better?

Are the people who don’t have strong social skills always likely to be excluded from the general consensus whether at school, work or at home? For those with autism and other related conditions who find it harder to make non-literal distinctions in conversation ever really able to fit in, or avoid what others more socially adept may see as bullying or exclusion.

Even the successful who think different do they have a real hope of happiness, is it normally lonely for these people at the top, just as it is at the bottom those that see only natural authority rather than traditional positional authority? Are the same traits that enable these people to create movements the same said traits that ensure they will always be at the margins?

My answer to all of this is yes! Life is a melting pot and the last and perhaps largest barrier to true equality for me needs to be broken down.

How then do we start to tackle this problem? As with “Votes for women,” or “The Civil rights movement,” we need awareness of the problem to start to make a difference.

For these early discriminators, they were easy to identify. The gender and ethnicity of an individual are seen through the sense of sight alone. It’s much harder to identify who people really are at a psychological level and hence profiling is needed in what could be a suggested “evolution,” of the application of discriminators.

Beauty and or attraction to others perhaps people get. People will be attracted to qualities in someone, in this case, if consensual this is a very positive discriminator and one that is aligned with what might be a social equality revolution.

We can’t see the learning style of an individual. We don’t see their Myers Briggs Score. Their place on any spectrum or a 360 work profile in advance. Behavioural profiles are exhibited through behavior and interaction. If it had value however it is not a big jump to suggest behaviors should be observed and people profiled.

Insightful corporates have used psychometrics to measure traits both as a recruitment/ selection technique and to review the makeup of existing staff. The application extends today to self-help courses. This said a limited body of research has been carried out across wider populations and little is known as to how certain profiles interact best or could be managed too.

The value of women on boards, and of people from different cultures and backgrounds on boards are both well accepted, well studied and well understood by people at large, and yet one of the most basic human diversity issues that of how someone thinks has from my own understanding been largely unexplored.

Psychometrics in my own application of it has often brought clarity to myself around the considerations that made me different. As an example having done multiple psychometrics I often find I am significantly differentiated from my peers within the boardroom. On reflection where people are of a similar makeup to myself the team “works.”

I personally admit to a psychometric disability, one which prevents me from fitting in, that disability is being an entrepreneur and being an entrepreneur of a certain type.

“Think different,” as suggested by Steve Jobs, the entrepreneur we all aspire towards for his brilliance and success was a man that given his quirks did not fit in easily with any group, despite his ability to inspire.

I personally have only rarely sat on boards where all parties were entrepreneurial and mercantile just like me. In such circumstances the relationships throughout where almost wholly positive. The outcomes, of course, may not have been. People thinking the same way simply drives particular behaviors no matter how they think. Challenge is important but from a psychological perspective knowing when to stop challenging is important and for all parties.

This is where psychometrics comes in. I have not yet used a single psychometric which has answered all my questions or which brought clarity to my whole team. Finger Print Learning’s measure for Entrepreneurship, AQR’s measure for Mental Toughness, DISC, NLP (My course being through Transforming People) , Hofstede cultural dimensions report, Myers Briggs stand out as personal epiphanies, but I know how few are provided with access to these or value their significance to human interaction.

As someone who tends to be project focused, I set big goals and have intuitively a false belief that those around me will naturally share my enthusiasm. It can be the case but obviously, I need to work on the people side.

I’m no Steve Jobs on the aggression or inappropriate behavior front but If something isn’t working I have a tendency to be too straight to the point and can be ignorant of people’s feelings. If I don’t think someone is right for a task I tell them very directly why, and only generally come to understand later why they say “it’s complicated,” when they don’t support me on what seems a logical challenge when facing the next hurdle.

When I set a long-term goal and see a blip as a blip while others start to scramble, I struggle to understand why and get aggravated. “We knew this day would come, we had identified this as a likely challenge now we have to tackle it.” Is generally met with panic and it won’t work. Emotions I with my profile often fail to relate or identify with. When others say “why,” I am thinking “why not,” the path to success I can almost taste once I have completed a plan.

I am fortunate I have a strong amount of psychological background data with which to understand myself. Many are impoverished from that same said perspective, some people have not been valued enough by society to be understood and those people need the most support. I know I am extensively flawed, but flawed in ways that can bring benefit, just as my peers do with their approaches. Yin and Yang in the workplace are in my belief what makes the fireworks rocket off.

This said of those profiled I am generally an unusual mix often in the 1% category or even sometimes lower frequencies. Definitely in the minority in almost every area of my approach hence I see a problem and an opportunity for more effective learning which those I am connected with may not readily identify or see the issue with.

A “maverick,” “Doesn’t follow the rules,” are often the slurs people like myself get tarred with, without saying it those with different psychologies are calling me my own equivalent of “unethical,” if using the language from their own worldview their opinion of the social contract is to follow the norm.

Not following the rules for a “boundary keeper,” is perhaps the greatest disrespect possible. With a better understanding of how our profiles interact and create amazing new things, I believe all that could change.

My belief is however with understanding the value of my rare disposition, and the dispositions of others common or not so common if deconstructed and understood could be powerful forces for good. If respected and put to task with the right team makeup, I believe mountains could be moved. No doubt the best organizations do this by nature and as a result are simply successful, while many bad ones cause pain, underperformance and acceptably “discriminate with or without words,” within what could otherwise have been high performing teams. Greatness comes because of and not in spite of difference, and that difference is not to be limited to gender, ethnicity or creed.

Successful VC’s and Accelerators have acknowledged this through the process, every IT team needs a “Techie,” and a “CEO,” one without the other is like having half a brain from a founder perspective.

My epiphany in terms of how perhaps psychological exclusion could be challenged came from a personal experience with physical disability. A lady who has been an inspiration to me since the day I met her. She is blind and yet overcame that adversity developing the skills to become a competent developer. She worked in our company for 6 months and yet unbeknown to me she hadn’t fitted in. Although on every org chart and process plan she had a place and a purpose wasn’t actually engaged or made feel welcome by other staff. The change came from understanding. The lady gave just one 20 minute talk on how she coded as a blind person. Perhaps what had been skepticism and a lack of understanding of capability became admiration and fascination. I saw a 5 fold change in how the lady was treated by colleagues even though I hadn’t noticed the problem in the first place.

So in closing, I encourage this as the first call to action. A call to create a movement to understand ourselves and our interactions with others. Whether a common profile or an unusual one to learn and gain from the existing knowledge of how and where we might fit could change our lives irreversibly for the better.

All boards, all organizations and all teams should analyze their psychological diversity, ensuring that you don’t all think the same, but instead, you put the right person to the right challenge and support them all the way is critical for success with momentum.


How do you compete with the app that “does,” or “can do” everything?

Social media network concept.

Social media network concept on phone.

Everyone in software has had that awkward conversation with the potential client…

We have focused on feature Y to make it unique, its taken us years to perfect so that it makes a real difference in your business.

The answer until you get to know them and show what you can do… “We already have that,” or “Our team or outsourcers could develop that.”

I’m sure I look puzzled when I hear it, I have taken a look at the public services of the company in advance, often those haven’t been updated in a long time and where they have the feature I mention is at best a screen which allows an admin to set a data field, not a fully interactive well thought out feature.

I’ll attend conferences and companies I have met will aspire to facebook and google levels of functionality and intuitiveness. 5 years later it isn’t done. When we find out little or no focus or resource are focused on the problem it’s clear why. I’m disappointed when those companies lose market share or go out of business given I could have helped much earlier and saved the headache.

There are complex reasons why clients fail to address IT resource shortfalls, but usually, we as providers have simple answers to problems that really could transform businesses who are open to change.

It’s a much more positive situation when we get those inspirational people as clients who truly embrace the benefits IT can bring.

Those who take sensible advice, can ultimately also become our mentors advisors and often friends. We change their businesses by working in support of them. We as a result become better skilled and more experienced in our own field.

Clinisent offers a number of services, but has core competency in the laboratory supply industry. We understand laboratories and how they can scale regionally and globally and want to help. With years of experience we have on occasion taken what has been 4-6 months of managed effort with another supplier and charged a small price per unit, for a set agreed outcome and delivered in a week.

Its disappointing that the response from the person investing the $400-$1500 per day on the consultant for the 6 months. “Your too expensive,” “we don’t pay anything at the moment.” I watch large numbers of staff labouring away on menial tasks in the background as the statement is made.

The type of client we are talking about is often completely oblivious to the huge costs they already incur.  From printing costs at $0.60+ per report, with significant human administrative cost to the loss of market share which based on Mckinsey report could be leading to loss of a market expansion opportunity of 50% of total revenue per hospital to be captured from those who don’t act now. The lack of compatibility with client systems, is often costing delayed integrations and headaches for IT, sometimes leading to the replacement of CTO’s/ CIOs when groups get left behind or don’t deliver. The security issues and the costs of a potential data breach which could run into reputational costs of $10,000,000s. I ask is the app compliant? A blank response.

I ask is the app compliant? A blank response.

“My LIMS/LIS does that.” Is of course common. Frost and Sullivan 2014 show that Data Management, Reporting and effective Data Sharing are the biggest issues for LIMS systems. I’m left thinking not every bespoke LIMs system could have delivered against these needs, as when we last looked during the week the largest providers hadn’t overcome the issues we deal with as yet. Frost and Sullivan 2014 identify data management, data sharing and reporting as 3 of the top areas of weakness in the LIMS/LIS of today, and our product means the problems can be solved with little cost and critically without replacement of the LIMS that is already in place.

For any lab replacing LIMS/LIS is a huge risk to operational delivery. Even In circumstances where LIMS/LIS don’t provide core services they are difficult to replace. Removing or transitioning a LIMS/LIS in a lab is similar to open heart surgery in a patient. The heart is essentially so intrinsic that it can’t just be removed. Our product as a result adds longevity to systems that deliver in terms of day to day lab processing but which don’t facilitate the lab communicating in the best ways with doctors and patients.

Another conversation style can be, we have been offered an “app like yours for $5,000,” they say it will take a month or 3 months, we can’t justify spending more. Again I look wary of the claims made by the development company. Have they done something like you’ve asked for before I ask? I may ask. Aware that my own platform took me 7 years of experience in the lab industry 2 of them in genetics as well as costs of $1,000,000s in applied time, consultancy and development staff.

I set out with a clear aim to disrupt the laboratory industry and yet a me to or copy cat has come along and stole my thunder, by offering to “build an app.” I start to think of the risks for the software provider who to me has just promised the impossible. Given the total bill they will charge the client for a product like mine will make the project financially unsustainable. Why don’t they license our software and then deploy it for what could be a big reward.

My experienced A player UK HQ team, now swelling beyond 20 have dedicated some 2 years to perfect a product that we believe will transform the diagnostics industry. Elevating its place in health. Yet some guy/ app developer who doesn’t know labs, can, in theory, build what we have built inside 20 days? Simply false.

I have often returned to the office wondering, were did I go wrong? Why do they think that something built with experience, knowledge blood sweat and tears could potentially just be an app. Then I reflect. Its not all bad.

I need to be clearer, but also need to realize Rome wasn’t built in a day. The guy on the other side of the table hasn’t experienced what I can do for them, they truly just don’t picture it the way I do, they don’t know the steps I have taken…

We reflect and learn and I come to the realisation that at this stage of the business I like others in my position will win some and will loose some. We will “kiss a lot of frogs,” so to speak and no doubt with market traction will gain along the way some of those I met at various points along the way. For myself and those like me, we need determination.

If you are a lab or a software provider and would like to know more please get in contact with myself or one of our team, we would be only to glad to explain why the features we have laboured on for years will transform a number of your central processes in tried and tested ways to make you a huge return.

If you are a lab software supply company, a LIMS provider or someone working perhaps with a number of labs and you are in it for the long term with. If you would like to add value to your own products, then why not reach out?

Nothing to loose and potentially a business-changing product that could compliment your organisations services very well. or

Where have Indiegogo and Kickstarter gone wrong?

Crowdfunding websites

Five leading support for reward crowdfunding platforms – Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, RocketHub, Crowdfunder and GoFundMe.

Having been an early adopter of Indiegogo and Kickstarter and probably being a gadget geek at heart myself, at least back since I personally started to contribute, I have now gone through a number of cycles of what can go right or wrong on both sites.

On the good side I backed the “Oculus Rift,” and its success probably drove the foundations of a new industry, (I still remember opening that box) on the negative side I have backed a myriad of products and really stand out because of the lack of any serious attempt to deliver.

Two event’s I experienced on each sites came when I backed the likes of the Moments watch on Kickstarter and the Seed from Moikit the principle being that I would receive an item. Of course I never have and probably never will on these and many other items.

Moikit in fact promised it was in production of its product and I would get my item February 2016 and yet still now July 2017 nothing…

This would seem fine if the project team had done their best and sent ourselves as contributors their learnings from the project. What actually has happened has been silence. In the case of Moikit which stood out to me, the company promised what could only have been a false deadline, one they never actually got round to correcting to this day.

Kickstarter and Indiegogo are both famously slow to respond and as such I as with all contributors don’t get any consolation or compensation whatsoever nor any governance when a project team disappears or goes rogue.

Crowdfunding will rise to the next level but it needs disruption itself if it is to get to the next level.

I feel a gap is opening up for either self-disruption or a separate product that manages product timelines in a better more transparent way than was achieved by Kickstarter and Indiegogo, it would be better for innovation team and for contributor if the process was better directed and managed and no doubt better for microfinance all round if we had deliveries of outcome.

Rio of the North

How Samba School showed for me how community might be the solution to problems in NI.

I have visited Brazil a number of times now and absolutely love the diversity and the attitude of people to very much judge people on how they treat others.

“Be kind and gentle to others and they will be the same to you,” a basic translation of some Famous Rio graphite perhaps gives a pathway not only for those in Brazil or Northern Ireland but perhaps also in the wider context of the world.

So I visited my first Samba School on this visit to Rio and it completely adjusted my view of how Brazilians actually were. Hedonism and revelry became structure and Order in one swoop and a dichotomy of complexity evolved in a way I had not previously understood.

For those that know Carnival Samba schools effectively compete in leagues to take the honor of the best in class, its an honor to take 1# place at Carnival and one that takes money and hard work from the communities that participate.

There are 15 or more judged factors and a school will dance March and play their way from one end of the Samba Drome to the other. The Samba Drone being a stretch of road surrounded by seating so that spectators can see.

Grandmothers are as essential as the beautiful girls to the pageant and revelry and the most important participants of all the flag bearers have a critical part to play together with the music. Perhaps some 50 people will exist in each line and the school/community will then come together in their thousands for the big day when in 50 or so minutes all that year’s training comes together as a proud and extravagant affair of cultural pride.

This Community tradition reminded me of Northern Ireland and made me reflect on how the country might entertain a future together as one.

So the Samba schools equivalent in the unionist Northern Ireland tradition must be the orange hall. In each scenario, the band is critical as is the music. The reason for pride is much different and the extravagance of Brazil is perhaps a more somber affair but why must it be so?

The community again young and old come together play music, in this case walk and all are proud of themselves.

The opposite number could be the Fleadh when some but not nearly enough people enjoy the music of the Irish, they see dancing and drinking bringing another community together as one.

My question is why a country such as Northern Ireland much smaller than Rio as a state, can’t come together as one? Northern Ireland at a population of only 1.8 million (2011) is dwarfed by the state of Rio at 16 million (2014).

Why can a band tradition of weekly practice in the unionist tradition and a lively Irish lilt not come together to show off “Our wee country,” in the light, it could and should enjoy as a friendly and exceptional place of cultural heritage and diversity.

If ever either culture actually “won,” against the other we will have lost what makes us unique and what makes us exciting as human beings.

Winning is losing at the human level of the battle as the music becomes so much less

The same could no doubt be said of Israel and Palestine, Iran and Saudi, India or Pakistan, the US and Russia. If either had or ever does win they all loose.

Perhaps if watched and understood more closely communities such as Rios Samba Schools can show the world how to truly connect to each other.  How to replace nationalism with localism, in a way that in the Northern Irish example can see the Lambeg drum and the Bodhran played together and Scottish and Irish dancing performed in unison so that our wee country can “wiggle its behind” with the best of them in the spirit of competition and friendship in Rios famous dance capital.

Just some images I took of fireworks in abstract that inspired me

Taken at the Eagle Wing Festival Groomsport Northern Ireland.

Copyright T A Cuthbert 2016.

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Disrupting the existence of Big Influence for small thinkers, and small influence for Big Thinkers…

quote-people-who-are-crazy-enough-to-think-they-can-change-the-worldDisruption is happening all around us, but despite “shake ups,” “Big data,” “Small data,” “IOT,” and “Blockchain,” often those in traditionally influential positions find it hard to facilitate and implement appropriate change.

Models that have worked in some cases for a lifetime get refitted into new models and its hard for those with traditional responsibilities to take a gamble on what is new. This is of course not wholey because of small thinking, but rather through the restriction in thinking that happens because of real world responsibility.

The costs of change for large organisations are of course huge, from tectonic shifts required in culture, to the changing of every day working practices for 10,000s – 100,000s of people change is difficult. Many of the stakeholders will share the Big Influencers/ change agents traditional mindsets. These are people who have got stuff done in the past and continue to aspire to apply their toolkit to the problems of the future.

These guys should not be written off, they add real value but importantly they evolve incrementally rather than generally in a disruptive way. Even the disruptive of this group can through process requirements see their ideas as set in stone. If it doesn’t fit a model they have seen, implimented or understood they won’t “get it,” and only when a new idea fits an existing lens is it seen for what it is, that being dynamic industry wide change.

As such for an idea to impact the big influencers it must become a “movement,” it essentially has to have a buzz word as regardless of how new anyone wants ideas to look deep and meaningful they have to

So how do you convert traditional bounded thinking into new thinking? The Answer engage the early adopters, those being the people in every industry who just don’t feel comfortable unless change is afoot. Cement the thoughts of the pragmatists through using real life use cases and testimonials from the early adopters.

Through this you can create a paradigm shift in culture so when someone decides to stand up for the idea they may be putting their neck on the line to some extent, but they won’t be in line for the chop, and a career of good planning and attention delivery isn’t destroyed by having the wrong hunch.

Remember market disruption takes years not months. Google started 1995 but it was in 2002 that it launched its killer app for monetisation that being “pay per click.” It’s taken the world a long time to value Facebook in monetary terms but it since establishment in 2005 in 2015 it turns over $17.93BN having disrupted interpersonal communication forever. Tectonic shifts in practice do come and when they come it’s those that have influenced and led the change that tend to capitalise on opportunity most.

The answer from my nascent point of view is to be pragmatic, bring people along with you, and capitalise on influence, don’t distance the “Nay Sayers,” for the problem with them is simply that your idea is not ready for them until it’s nearer to that shift point, a problem for you not for them. It’s when you reach that point that they will help you make the difference. Continuously ask the question what can I do next… You have to survive until as a market entrant you cause genuine disruption, and it’s only through picking up advocates along the way that that will happen. There is no doubt an art to these practices, arts I am still a student of. There is no one way to do it, happenstance will have its place. My advice is to try and learn and hopefully one day you as a reader will realize and reshape your dream to fit the needs of the influencers of the world you work with.


The science of care

When we are unwell, or when we see a relative being unwell, we get the chance to explore the care system. When in the hospital as an end user we see the nuts and bolts of the care pathway. We see the influence of the consultant, the doctor, the sister, the nurse, the care assistant, the cleaner.


All these people are key to making our care and that of our loved ones complete. Care being the operative word… Unfortunately, we don’t all get better, and even if we do, to directly attribute that wellness to the doctor alone would be wrong. Strong knowledge and the correct interventions are obviously critical but at the same time it’s the care we and our families are shown that is critical.

We want to find a human connection with our carers we want to feel like they can empathise with the situation, we want to know that they care. Of course the doctor cares just as the care assistant does but the importance of “caring skills” is perhaps much more essential in the caring assistant who we see so regularly, than it is in the doctor.

We don’t want the care assistant to devise the next intervention or to interpret our results, rather we want them to simply show they care.

So the argument is there is a science to this debate, that “care,” can be tangible, can be monitored, is substantial… Empathy matters and should be recognised as a key element of the care process.

To date Phycology, and Psychiatry, the social sciences have diverged perhaps from the technology available. Facebook knows perhaps more about our interactions than we as humans could ever pick up at a human level. Psychometrics on the other hand has gone further and at the very least certain measures give indications of personality types and how someone may be predisposed when it comes to vocational callings. For our purposes is the individual driven to “care.”

New tools will emerge to tackle the individual applications in care.

Diagram of the situations involved in care:

clinishare care

The argument here is that measuring care and understanding it is a requirement of any future healthcare service. No “Watson” can replace that very real and deep connection of a caring and supportive glance from an empathetic human being.

This evolution of an understanding of care however requires the evolution of a new industry. Unlike direct clinical outcomes care is not a statistic can be picked up through a simple Internet of things (IOT) approach, but rather it requires the talents of a facebook type platform applied differently. From IOT we are starting at the tip of the iceberg, but we will no doubt grow much deeper.

We cant just expect to record blood pressure, and run a complete blood panel and expect to understand care, no rather we need to go through the steps of activation, engagement, leading to enablement and empowerment.

The Digital runway to patient driven care :

the digital care pathway

Only after time getting to understand this data will we then perhaps have insight into a brand new world of complex data, gained not from devices but gained directly from us.

The future of healthcare as it always has done involves people, understanding how “care,” impacts us is the next hurdle for us to overcome in this digital health revolution.

Once we know how “care,” impacts us we can start to understand how to intervene, to create better carers, and to ourselves become better carers.

Small data in healthcare

elephant-and-mouseThe spread of big data and its limitations evolves our thinking on the specifics of the “big data,” revolution. I am not the first to say it but “small data,” whatever definition we give it is the next major milestone in the evolution of our understanding of abstract and chaotically recorded information.

I have come across many successes and failures and it has been my conclusion that those that start with a “small data,” project are usually infinitely more successful in deriving value from their data than those that start off on a long journey towards a big data holy grail.

In English there are many phrases that if obscured can help to explain the reason for the success of the “small data,” approach:

“Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

“Don’t bite off more than you can chew.”

“Eat the elephant one piece at a time.”

One of my favourites is “Mice don’t mate with elephants.”

“Small data,” to me is the key buzz word for the coming years in healthcare software as we endeavour to build a comprehensive software matrix across distributed and hybrid infrastructure. We will connect new types of data that have not been compared or contrasted before and we will derive multi vertical benefit, but key to achieving this aim is deploying technology in a step by step fashion.

In order to achieve any wins the stakeholders in IT projects need us as IT professionals to deliver one piece of the puzzle at a time.

Clinishare has evolved sophisticated integration, security, research and engagement tools to facilitate the sharing of data in an effective and appropriate way to derive meaning. We are excited to engage with partners and those interested in joining us on our journey to this brave new and open world of “Clinisharing.” To find out more contact


Applying Critical and Lateral Thinking Appropriately

critical versus creative thinking

No matter what the situation or job position an individual will at times be faced with insurmountable problems. Based on how we think we will let these problems bother us to a greater or lesser degree. For the doing person, who manipulates the outcome directly it is essential a problem is overcome, we don’t want such a person to give up until task is achieved. While for the manager/ leader, who achieves aims through manipulating other personnel it is vital that they “kill it quickly,” and think laterally to avoid problems and redeploy resources so that they effectively by pass the bottlenecks.

Generally as we go up the management hierarchy, Critical thinking diminishes in terms of its day to day value. After all it would defy logic that a senior manager would be able to solve a problem through critical analysis any more effectively than a dedicated member of the technical staff who had understood and worked on a problem directly for years.

The manager usually reverts to lateral thinking to solve the problem. Essentially they can get round the problem in the way that critical analysis constrains others from doing.

In regards to lateral thinking we identify the key aim and link that with the key outcome and essentially bypass the problem.

In order to function normally we need both trains of thought, however as we industrialise labour so the balance of these mechanisms are changed. Essentially a manager in more and more senior positions should be able to think more and more laterally, while articulating their suggestions to their staff through a series of explanations delivered at a critical level.  A technical hands on person needs to be more and more critical in their thinking, no one wants the person building the product, not to build it…

Sometimes simply seeing the problem through a new lens brings new vision and understanding.

Image source: Kirby (2004:17)


Kirby, D. A. (2004). Entrepreneurship education: can business schools meet the challenge?. Education+ training, 46(8/9), 510-519.