This is pretty ingenious. While all other bids focused on building extravagant stadiums and fancy infrastructure, Japan’s bid focused on transforming the very experience of watching sports (and this applies to not just football).
The bid “involved projecting 3D holograms of the games live onto soccer football fields around the world, allowing folks that can’t make it to Japan for the actual games to get a pretty great simulacrum, while standing next to people that look like them and are probably rooting for the same team. “I have to admit that the idea of this blows my mind away,” said Japan’s committee chief Kohzo Tashima.”
The test of an ambassador is telling truth to those who wield the power – having the guts to tell the department that its plan is a delusion. Here is Anne Patterson in Islamabad, discussing Pakistan’s support for “terrorist and extremist groups” and telling Washington “there is no chance that Pakistan will view enhanced assistance levels in any field as sufficient compensation for abandoning support to these groups”. She states bleakly: “The relationship is one of co-dependency, we grudgingly admit – Pakistan knows the US cannot afford to walk away; the US knows Pakistan cannot survive without our support.”
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Oftentimes, when you want someone to fix a problem or improve a product or service – you hire an expert.
But sometimes, the solution you want won’t come from the expert you hire. It’ll come from the users of your product.
Case in point: the National Demographic Health Survey of the Philippines.
Normally, if you want to improve survey design – you hire people with a strong background in statistics or demography. But their tendency is to design something very complex (though likely theoretically sound) but far from useful. People who maybe at a better position to improve the survey would be the users of the data – researchers, health officials, and policymakers who need these numbers to effectively gauge performance and impact.
Another case in point: the existing health information system in the Philippines.
The whole system was designed by statisticians and health experts who designed the form that will be filled-out by field health personnel and the system that will organize information in these forms into useful data.
Problem is, the forms have become too cumbersome to fill-out and data too difficult to collect for existing indicators.
The very goal of the information system was to help health officials track their performance. Now it has become an additional burden that hinders actual performance of their duties. There’s a large disconnect between the data being collected and what users (e.g. health officials) need.
I suppose this doesn’t just apply in health and information systems. I’m guessing one reason why Apple has been so successful is its ability to translate the expertise of its people into something that users actually find useful and relevant.
There is the case of the Philippines. I have tried hard, and yet I cannot for the life of me comprehend how we got into that mess. Perhaps we could not have avoided it — perhaps it was inevitable that we should come to be fighting the natives of those islands — but I cannot understand it, and have never been able to get at the bottom of the origin of our antagonism to the natives.
Audio link from NPR at end is highly-recommended