Royal Society of Chemistry Lab Integration, 20th May in London

I’ll be contributing to the Royal Society of Chemistry workshop on “The Challenges Facing Laboratory Systems’ Integration” on the 20th May 2010 in London. More information here.

We’ll also have a couple of iPads with us if people are interested – we think this class of device has great potential in Labs.

Marc Benioff on the iPad and Cloud 2.0 – I wonder about ELNs

Interesting perspective on TechCrunch by Marc Benioff (of Salesforce fame) on the iPad and the Cloud:

The future of our industry now looks totally different than the past. It looks like a sheet of paper, and it’s called the iPad. It’s not about typing or clicking; it’s about touching. It’s not about text, or even animation, it’s about video. It’s not about a local disk, or even a desktop, it’s about the cloud. It’s not about pulling information; it’s about push. It’s not about repurposing old software, it’s about writing everything from scratch (because you want to take advantage of the awesome potential of the new computers and the new cloud—and because you have to reach this pinnacle). Finally, the industry is fun again.

It’ll be interesting to see what the iPad and devices inspired by it do for the world of ELNs. Clearly Marc’s got a very cloud-centric perspective but the success of Salesforce.com (which he launched when Enterprise software was very much a 3-teir world client/server affair) does mean he’s worth listening to.

Amphora’s new Corporate blog

We’ve just launched a new blog for Amphora as a company. This site (ELNBlog) will remain as my personal thinking space about ELN issues and anything work-related that interests me, and the corporate blog will become our general public voice.

There’s some seriously interesting times ahead for all of us and being able to have a separate corporate voice will hopefully make it easier for me to engage thoughtfully without having to consider the implications of what I write from a company branding perspective.

Electronic Laboratory Notebook Group on LinkedIn

My experience on the Internet to date has led me to prefer open, blog-based mechanisms for an Industry “Conversation” rather than the closed world of LinkedIn groups or indeed any other forum format. Each participant has their own platform and their interests/biases are plain to see and the readers can make their own informed judgements. The interaction of ideas can take place naturally and in the open for all to see and make their individual contributions.

With regard to “bed behaviour” particularly by Sales & Marketing personnel, I’m afraid I’m one of those naive people that believe open conversation spurs creativity, and if people act badly they’ll just look like idiots to the very people they are trying to “impress”. As long as there’s transparency it tends to self-correct.

However, I realise that only a few of us are willing or indeed able to Blog, so forums such as LinkedIn groups definitely have a role. There are a couple of ELN groups on LinkedIn, one’s pretty quiet and the other is somewhat stifled by rather outmoded policies.

So I’m delighted that a more open ELN group has been setup on LinkedIn – you can join it here and I would strongly recommend you do.

Here’s the group description:

This group was set up to provide a place where all can discuss content free from restrictions.

By joining this group you are agreeing to allow other group members to make comment on your discussions free from any risk of litigation or lawsuit. This means other members are free to make reference to trademarks and express their opinion positive or negative. The only recourse is to answer their discussion. Abusive replies will be removed.

Content from this discussion should not be referenced elsewhere.

Innovation requires uncensored discussion.
So feel free to discuss anything related to this topic in here.

I really like this approach, the only quibble I might have is “Content from this discussion should not be referenced elsewhere” which is going to be really tricky in practice – good ideas and discussion spread, that’s the whole point. But I’m sure we’ll have a discussion about it :-).

FYI the group was setup by Andrew Lemon who runs The Edge, producers of BioRails which is on my list of “interesting things to look at when I have time”. So guess he’s a fellow supplier although I’m not sure we compete that much – we briefly met at a conference once, but apart from that I have no relationship with him. I’m just pleased that someone is doing something to enhance the quality of conversation in the industry because we urgently need to something to improve the success rate and ROI of ELN implementations.

IQPC ELN conference in Brussels 28th – 30th Sept

I’ll be at the IQPC ELN Conference in Brussels in just over a week, as will a bunch of other interesting people – out of respect for their privacy I won’t list them in a public, Google-findable place – but it is going to be well worth attending if you want to meet some people with real ELN experience.

I think Jo and I are doing a Workshop on ELNs in Biology on Monday afternoon, and I’ve got a presentation in the main conference. None of which I’ve started working on… which will hopefully make them “fresher” and more relevant. I’ll put the presentations up on SlideShare when I’m done.

I’m not sure if we’re holding a formal “Amphora Dinner” this year but I’m sure we’ll all be getting together most evenings whatever happens – grab Jo or I in the meetings and we’ll sort something out.

Anyone for a Twitter hashtag….?