The General Practice Forward View and the Language of Change

It’s a truism of progressive thinking that brave new worlds are a whole lot easier to envisage than to implement. This has certainly been the case in the healthcare sector; over the whole life of the NHS, the consistent milieu has been one of an organisation struggling to create an ideal version of itself while …

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The curious case of the death of the high street

Is it possible that rumours of the death of the high street have been somewhat exaggerated? The news media sees a steady stream of stories about how our traditional shopping habits have changed, how we now shop online first, how we use comparison websites and social media to make our consumer choices; and alongside these …

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Getting Carter: the NHS cost revolution

Now the dust has settled, and the gleeful shock-horror media lens has moved on to some other undeserving victim, we can begin to understand what Lord Carter of Coles’ interim report on operational productivity in NHS providers is telling us. Reading the full report is a revelation in several ways: first, the potential level of …

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The fifth wave

The future of the NHS. We currently hear a lot about this subject, and an awful lot of what we hear is basically handwringing; either because the writer comes from the camp that feels the NHS is underfunded, or is suffering from budget cuts; or because the writer feels that the NHS is too big …

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Socrates’ objection updated: how should we use computers in schools?

The digital revolution is a ubiquitous juggernaut; hardly any element of social and working life is now carried out unaccompanied by a screen of one sort or another. It is a brilliant technology, and has enhanced many facets of our working and cultural lives. So it’s perhaps inevitable that digita

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Clever machines, digital brains: shrinking markets?

Reading the MR press, one might be forgiven for thinking that social media and big data have more or less completely colonised the environment. What happens online is what really happens. This, despite plenty of evidence that human beings still largely live and communicate offline, and still more ev

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Future Sport

My earliest memories of sport (the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, and the 1966 World Cup) are also my earliest memories of television: the Tokyo theme music is running through my head as I write this. I’d guess that the same is true for most of us; sport is inextricably linked to our mediated experience

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The Trillion Dollar Baby Sex Scandal

The youth market is huge; estimates vary between $1.5 and $2 trillion annually. That’s an awful lot of money being spent by, and on behalf of, children. A concomitantly large amount is spent on marketing to children and young people; in the US, for instance, something approaching $17 billion annua

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The cult of the cat (well, maybe)

What is it about the cat? Of all the animals we call ‘domestic’, the cat has a unique status; one often hears it said that cats domesticated us. They also arouse far more polarised views than most animals; you love them or hate them – and people often do either of those things with a frankly w

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Plastic apocalypse?

Plastic is ubiquitous, indispensable and (unfortunately) relatively indestructible. In many ways, it is the defining product of the twentieth century – cheap to make, flexible in application, disposable – and its use in the twenty-first shows no signs of decreasing. At the same time, plastic is th

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What’s eating MR?

If you’ve been reading the MR press over the last couple of years, you could be forgiven for thinking that some big bad monsters are coming to eat us all up, and spit us out in forlorn terabytes. But is big data really the nemesis of traditional market research? And will social media analysis real

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Extreme shopping

A Jubilee spring followed by an Olympic summer: Brand Britain has had a pretty good airing this year. It’s been a feast for those corporate brands that have clustered around the big events, too; many of the sponsors are reporting excellent customer feedback, and despite the Champagne Charlie surfa

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