Tag Archives: Ada Lovelace Day

Using Iris to track conversations (photo by John Schnobrich)

Using Iris to track conversations around design thinking

I’m writing a content strategy for Design Club. We want to build a network of 50 after school clubs in 2019, and need volunteer mentors from the design community to help us. Designers tend to love the idea of what we’re doing – but most of them haven’t heard of us.

Brandwatch is great at tracking conversations over time on social media. And its new AI analyst, Iris, can pick out a spike in mentions of a specific word or phrase and give an instant summary of the things driving that surge: these could be links, influencers, pieces of viral content (videos, gifs or images) and/ or hashtags.

Design Club is a non-profit social enterprise and we need to find a low cost way to raise our profile. Social media is an obvious channel, but we need to use it effectively. As a starting point, Iris is helping me understand relevant conversations that are already happening online.

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A tribute to my Ada Lovelace Day heroes

Today is Ada Lovelace Day and all over the world, people are honoring and remembering women in science, technology, engineering and maths.


The three who are very much ‘front of mind’ for me this week are (clockwise from top left) Vivs Long-Ferguson, Roxanne Persaud and Charlotte Britton.


Vivs, Roxanne and Charlotte have been instrumental in building and sustaining the wonderful entity that is the RSA Digital Engagement Working Group (#RSAde for short). RSAde was set up as a working sub-group of the RSA Fellowship Council on 15 December 2009 (minutes). Intially, all groups were jointly-led. I convened the group on behalf of Fellows, Vivs on behalf of RSA staff.


The group’s original title was “Fellowship – supporting, connecting, mapping, developing specialist networks, new events”. This was a large and unwieldy brief, and we soon began to focus on digital engagement as the key way to enable connectivity and collaboration between fellows.


As staff co-covenor, Vivs was intrinsic in driving RSAde forward. Her deep experience of the RSA combined with her passion for digital, social technologies and high emotional intelligence earned her the title of “RSAde Midwife”.


As a lifelong fellow, Roxanne has been Queen Agitator, questioning everything, challenging preconceptions and, on a more practical level, providing technical expertise and knowhow where it matters.


Charlotte has brought invaluable consultancy experience to the table. Her no-nonsense approach is backed by a decade in online/ digital marketing. She has an uncommon ability to combine third sector understanding with a business-savvy mindset.


Without the three of you, there wouldn’t be a vibrant #RSAde. Thanks for making it happen!



Today is Ada Lovelace Day…

And of all the women in science and technology to whom I might be grateful, Marie Stopes (pictured above in her laboratory, 1904) has to come pretty near top of the list.

Stopes (1880-1958) pioneered family planning as we know it today. She was a tireless campaigner for women’s rights and her book, Married Love (1918) shattered taboos on love, sex, marriage and child-rearing.

Although her UK business ran into trouble in the 1980s (the clinic I went to as a teenager no longer exists), today, Marie Stopes International has more than 450 clinics worldwide and has protected millions of couples from unplanned pregnancies and unsafe abortion.

This year, Ada Lovelace Day takes on a special significance because I’ve been working on the RSA’s initiative to recruit more women members. The programme will officially launch at a glitzy reception next Tuesday (I think it’s sold out but you can always pop your name on the waiting list).

Although the RSA has always welcomed women Fellows (Marie Stopes was one of them), the current female membership stands at just 23 per cent. By celebrating female RSA Fellows in science and technology we hope to raise the RSA’s profile among women just a little bit.

The RSA’s Matthew Taylor and Laura Billings are also due to write posts today. It turns out Matthew is related to Ada so I’m intrigued to see if he says anything!

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons