Digilab Carol

I recently went to another Digilab event at the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons. It was a fantastic event (as they all are) and here is a  special seasonal run down of what was happening.

On the 1st day of December, Digilab showed to me…*

* Numbers may be wildly inaccurate. 

12 people enthusing


11 Vochleas recording


10 Beasts a-balancing


9 Quadbots scuttling


8 Curiscopes a-scanning


7 Virtual bombs disposing


6 Robots dancing


5 hours of Vive


4 The FTR gloves


3 Onty friends


2 Virtuali-tees


and some brain research for a PhD!



Do you feel the fear?

‘Tis the season to be scary! Halloween is a time for ghosties and ghoulies and things that go bump in the night. It’s also a time for taking on monsters and making them yours; for having fun with your fears.

Innovation is often faced by three main fears; fear of the unknown, fear of change and the fear of failure. So let’s have a look at these fears up close.


Fear of the Unknown

If you are innovating you are going to be stepping into new territory and this takes some people well out of their comfort zone. It’s not necessarily that these people especially like the current situation, but it takes a bit longer for them to adapt to a new one.

Other people are more comfortable with new things than others, so getting them on side can be really helpful in exploring the unknown. Another trick (or treat) is to sandwich any new material in between bits of familiar routine to help accustom people to new ideas faster.

Fear of change

Unlike those above who are just worried about the new and unknown, those who fear change (metathesiophobes) are also reluctant to let go of the old. If you’re introducing a new system or work practice it may be worth identifying what exactly about the old or current system appeals to the ‘phobes.

Starting working with new things can be terrifying, if only because you lose your sense of competence. You knew how the old ways worked, and the disorientation of starting anew can be daunting. It may help to remember how disorientating previous changes have been, and how soon you became accustomed to them.

Fear of failure

Innovation is built on a solid foundation of the failed ideas that went before. If you want innovation, you need to be willing to experiment and to fail. Failure is increasingly being recognised as vital to the processes of Innovation, and that it can be as important to celebrate failure as success. There is even an International Day for Failure (which also happens to be the International day for Natural Disaster Reduction.)

But just because we know it is important, doesn’t mean we are going to want to do it. We’ve all been taught to try to avoid failure, to minimise mistakes and to stick to the tried and tested rather than forge new paths. But these things are part of Innovation and many companies are trying to make risk a more acceptable option. After all, you won’t get anywhere if you are afraid to try.

Happy Halloween.

What’s your favourite (Innovative) Easter Egg?

Easter Eggs

No, I’m not referring to the intriguing but disturbing Bacon flavoured Egg, but rather the hidden treats in computer games, films and other media.

Apparently originating in eggs left in view on the set of the Rocky Horror Picture Show after a cast Easter egg hunt, Easter eggs are little hidden bonuses for the viewer. But where do the limits lie on what constitutes an Easter egg? Do the extra features or comments in credit rolls count, as when for example it tells you that if you’d left the cinema when the credits started you’d be home already? Do computer game oddities and glitches count even if they weren’t intended? Can the skewed skull in Holbein’s The Ambassadors be considered one despite pre-dating electronic media?

Should the Library have Easter eggs? Would we benefit from little hidden features that surprise our customers? It is possible we already do to a degree; features such as the “secret” café[1] and Orange 5/Blue 4 in the Main Library are obviously not located by everybody. But with the rise of Augmented Reality the possibility of having secret features in the library that you can only see through your phone becomes a real possibility.

What Easter Eggs do you fondly remember, and how can we/ should we add similar hidden bonuses to the library? Does it make a difference if you get told about it rather than finding it for yourself?↑↑↓↓←→←→B A

My personal favourite is the Developer’s room in Final Fantasy IV- you walk through a wall and run into sprites representing the game developers- many of whom tell you how badly they are in need of sleep. I didn’t discover this one without help, but I still enjoyed seeing it.

As for a library Easter Egg, I like the idea of a set of AR images such as maybe Grumbold§ holding up a sign saying “visit the Rylands” somewhere on Blue Ground or a parade of cartoon books down the middle of Blue 3.

[1] I overheard some students refer to the “secret café in the Library”- I was reminded of the “secret bunker” signposts you see photos of sometimes, as both are too signposted to truly be secret.