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Written by David Brunnen   
Sunday, 21 July 2013 12:41

joining the dotsTo be honest they never really work.  Parents may say that children’s colouring and puzzle books are in some way mildly educational but in truth their real purpose is to keep the kids quiet – particularly on long summer afternoons when parental attention spans are not equal to the demands of young minds.  Compared now to the wizzy interactive delights of computer games and online TV, those puzzles printed on cheap paper must surely delineate the digital distance between generations.

Remember those pages with numbered dots?  Even if you find all the numbers the long lines between the dots never yield any sort of riveting picture. And if there are too many dots the picture is blindingly obvious before pencil is taken to paper.

It’s a stretch to say that those cheap puzzles are a lesson in life but dot-joining, connection making, spotting the link, are grown-up preoccupations in business and political life.  Sometimes the picture is too sketchy and the links too tenuous but at other times the dots reveal pictures you may not wish to see.  Some big boys even retain their childhood habit of holding the pointed end of the pencil and rubbing out the lines as fast as annoying kid sister makes the connections.

That is more or less what is happening this summer in the debates about how to cope with the dots of the digital economy.  The damned dots are appearing faster, the picture is becoming obvious, erasers are wearing down and those irksome dot-joiners will not be denied – leastways not in our newfound open, accessible and liberated digital economy where truths can no longer be suppressed.

Open Data, collaborative leadership and the demise of traditional silos, confuses the old school brought up on over-simplistic 1980’s notions of aggressive competitiveness and independence.  The necessities of coalitions must be such a dreadful inconvenience to those who want their own way all the time.  Blessed are the dot-joiners who save us all from overdosing on policy makers’ perfect plans.  Blessed are those who work with, not for, others.  Doubly blessed are those who get out more, see the bigger picture and change their minds.

The time is coming when each and every one of us must decide.  Are you a link-maker, a dot joiner, or do you still yearn for some lost age of digital disconnection?  Will you close your eyes and go back to sleep or see the bigger picture and fill the gaps?



Private, Academic and Government-sponsored research has this year provided a flood of expert reports and opinion on many facets of the emergent digital economy.  These dots of information, taken together, add up to a bigger picture that demands fresh thinking – not least in the provision of access infrastructure, the ultra-fast connectivity that is essential for any modern economy and the programmes outlined in our paper on Economic Revitalisation.  

Readers may also have visited 'The Great Dot-Joining Debate Continues'


Last Updated on Sunday, 21 July 2013 13:52

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