Just like I did with my first book here’s an intro to my new book which is out now! The initial premise of the book was to highlight the various ways in which organisations sabotage their own research & innovation efforts. With time (I submitted my table of contents to Apress in July 2019), it turned into a broader analysis of the motivations and shape of dedicated research and innovation efforts since the 2000s compared to the post-WWII era. It turned to the hype of innovation/research work and how companies create that hype with space, people and outputs.

Chapter 1

I wrote a book on the history of technology in the home which came out in 2018 and six weeks into my government mandated self-isolation, I’m thinking about what I wrote.

Home as a space to return to, not exist in.

Pliny the Elder (A.D. 23–79) famously wrote

‘One prefers one’s home to all other places. Home is where one is most emotionally attached.’

which works if you have something else to compare it to, say the trenches of a Roman camp.

Home becomes a prison if you are in a relationship with a violent partner or one struggling…


Anecdote 1: My downstairs neighbours have had people over for dinner on Friday. In a pandemic.

Anecdote 2: A South London yoga instructor suggested we all ‘clap for carers’ and ‘millions’ of people did it at once last Thursday. I only heard about it the next day because literally noone on my street did it even if I too live in South London.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, one of the definitions of coherent is ‘having its parts related in an organized and reasonable way’. Sitting here, at home, starting week three of my self isolation, I propose that the…

(In light of conversations with Alyssa Alabassi and her experience of front-line support of COVID-19 right now)

Could we support the NHS with access to light industrial talent (design students, prop makers, fashion designers) to manufacture ‘good enough’ face shields and protection scrubs for front-line NHS staff while manufacturing face masks which would at least protect staff from the general public when they come into a care situation. Our conversation with Alyssa is that currently staff are using face shields which are not large enough and bin bags to protect themselves. Some GPs have started using 3D printing facilities in…

(This post will link all the threads of client work I’ve had since I wrote my book on Smart Homes. You could call this ‘the missing chapter’.)

So the UK government has just announced it will start fining landlords who rent out properties that are below an E rating on their Energy Performance Certificate. In 2030, it’ll be a C rating. This is the second time (that I can find) that this policy has been attempted. In the Netherlands, all offices will have to be rated C by 2023. What’s going on?

Well, it turns out the ‘digital transformation’ revolution…

I just spent 21 days on holiday in rural Japan, my third time there. 31 million people visited Japan in 2018 and most will stick to the shinkansen (fast train) that connects the large cities (Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima) or areas like Nara, known for its temples and pilgrimage, but I’m much more interested in its rural modern art museums and generally the wanted to share my favorites in the hope to inspire visitors to get off the beaten track.

Art Sentouchi Triennale, Takamatsu (pop. 420K)

Takamatsu is a harbour town in the Kagawa prefecture, about 3h away from Osaka…

In researching my first book on smart homes I ended up uncovering a lot of women’s work. Work that wasn’t very well documented. Work that was largely forgotten. Then through my work travels, I kept visiting homes, museums, galleries where I would find out more about other forgotten or lesser known women in design and architecture.

Ghyslaine Boddington asked me to speak at the International d+iD Symposium hosted by the University of Greenwich on diversity and inclusion. These are some thoughts to compliment my slides.

A problem of focus

Photo of the Bauhaus Dessau by Lucia Moholy

Lucia Moholy, who was neither a student nor a teacher at…

Yesterday, the 4th edition of Ada’s List annual conference took place at the Financial Times building in London. I volunteered to produce it back in July and I wasn’t even in the country when it took part (holidaying / writing retreat for my new book). And everything looks like it went really well thanks to on-site producer Leanne who I handed everything over to a week before.

We had two hour long handover calls because that’s all that was needed for an experienced producer to wrap their head around what Merici, Anjali, Karoline and I had been building up to…

I left my role as Head of Labs at Bulb in late April and moved on to work with Overlay a project incubated by ING Labs researching how financial institutions could utilise building data to develop a new generation of sustainability-led financial services.

After working with Bulb, EDF & British Gas over the past 15 years, I certainly knew plenty about energy and smart building solutions (access control, environmental monitoring, occupancy monitoring) but started digging into how these things connect to the world of finance. …

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock you’ll have noticed it’s the 100 year anniversary of the Bauhaus this year. I graduated from a 4 years industrial design degree from the University of Montreal in 2004. I graduated knowing nothing about the Bauhaus and not only that but I thought design history started with Raymond Leowy, in the 1950s. Many people today not only think that this is true for design but also technology and advertising.

Being a voracious reader and then researching my book, I realised that it wasn’t just about being taught about the Bauhaus but talking…

Alexandra D-S

Author of 'Smarter Homes: how technology has changed your home life' (Apress, 2018) Writing a book on corporate innovation culture out in 2020. Designer. UK.

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