Knowing of my interest in mental models, problem framing and user interfaces (and clocks), the family has just given me a Bikron ‘Circular Binary Clock’ from the 1970s.

This marvel of modernity uses incandescent bulbs (pre LED) and flashes them in sequence to show the time.  It’s binary – but only in the sense of being on or off.  Seconds count up as 1:2:4:8:16:32.  Minutes, however, count as 1:5:10:20:40, and hours as 1:2:4:8.  The hours are in the upper half, the seconds in the middle and the minutes in the lower half and dotted around the corners.  See the instructions below and a video at  The video shows the transition between 5:14 and 5:15, (obvious, isn’t it?)!


Reading the Bikron

A bit of an evolutionary dead-end, this one.



Interesting day at the CfBI’s Fourth European Open Innovation Practitioners’ Consortium meeting, “Open Innovation meets Big Data” where I was presenting on “Big Data and New Business Models”.  I discussed how value drivers provide a way of deriving interesting business models from big data, why I think the Internet of Things will be so disruptive and suggested a few caveats to the hype that’s emerging round big data – illustrated with examples.  Also presenting was the Open Data Institute, Cambridge University and IBM.  Some very interesting conversations, two in particular:

  • Many talk of using big data to optimise, but few look at the opportunities to increase resilience – so beware fragile business models
  • The value of using real-option thinking when developing the business case around investment in big data and its use.

And some stimulating exploration of open innovation in the context of new business models and big data.

To be fair, iMPROV Electronics slogan is “Taking products you know and making them better with Reflex™ LCD technology” (  Which I guess is why the Boogie Board functions very much like a slate.


(Thanks to Peng for the image,