End of the Pier


It is a haphazard business trying to convert an idea into reality. Even for people full of self-confidence, there are often times of doubt and worry – this is normal and to be embraced.

Haphazard Business is developing a new kind of freely accessible public Innovation Hub to raise awareness how AI and other advanced technologies be can lead to better education, jobs, community and society. The hub will provide demonstrations, support and advice for people interested in using AI enhanced technologies to further their career, passion or education.

See below for research behind the hub development and to learn more get in touch here.


Recent Posts

    Starting a business is always somewhat Haphazard, however a gas leak, no water, weeks of storms, and Coronavirus initiating a stock market crash has been a little more than was bargained for … and Brexit is still yet to come! (2min read)
    Introducing the second Haphazard hub, which will open during March 2020 and slowly evolve over the coming 12 months from a traditional old British boozer into an innovation hub fit for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
    In advance of opening two Haphazard hubs, this post documents the struggling retail sector in the English seaside resort of Great Yarmouth, which is experiencing rapid decline, like many provincial towns in the UK. (15mins incl. videos)
  • INTRODUCING StonecutterSpace
    This 5-minute film introduces the new Haphazard hub space, shortly after collecting the keys on Friday 31st January 2020, 12:00pm; recorded live as I walked around for the first time.
    The Innovators by Walter Isaacson provides ample examples how the Information Age is a result of collaboration, with artists, creatives, impresarios and entrepreneurs always being as important as the engineers and scientists; and nurturing spaces a necessity for innovation (2min read).
    In this Opinion piece in the London Financial Times, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet (Google’s parent company), outlines why there is urgent need for regulation of AI, and that ‘companies cannot just build new technology and let market forces decide how it will be used’ (4min read).
    The new haphazard Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) innovation hub will quietly open this month in the English coastal town of Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, a location that reflects in microcosm, many of the issues the UK suffers today outside of the big cities. (3min read)
    The first Haphazard innovation hub will open in January 2020, following ten months of assessing various locations, attending numerous events and conducting intensive research on the likely future impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Read more … (2mins read)
    Elements of AI is a FREE online course from the University of Helsinki for everyone interested in learning what AI is, what is possible (and not possible) with AI, and how it affects our lives – with no complicated math or programming required. (1min read)
    In this FT podcast, the director of UCL’s new AI institute, Prof. David Barber discusses the importance of interdisciplinarity, need for innovation and having a wider public conversation about AI and potential impact, as this technology begins touching all our lives. (Read 1min | Listen 32min)
    In Finland, there are ongoing trials teaching prisoners the basics of AI and algorithms, as part of a wider programme by the University of Helsinki “to reach out beyond the highly educated and tech-savvy audiences of typical online courses.” (2min read)
    As Amazon considers licensing its Go supermarket technology to other retailers, the impact on jobs and the wider economy could be significant, as low-skill workers in the tens of thousands struggle to find alternative employment. (7mins read)
    The Haphazard Business blog post Ambitious Gateway has made the local Mercury newspaper, discussing the radical idea of moving the 140 years-old Winter Gardens to become the welcome beacon of Great Yarmouth. (1min read)
  • WHAT IS 4IR?
    As we head towards opening Britain’s first 4IR public hub portal, it is probably a good time to reflect on what 4IR otherwise known as Fourth Industrial Revolution may actually mean. (3min read)
    Responding to the Ambitious Idea of moving the 140 years-old Winter Gardens to the site of the Greater Anglia train station in Great Yarmouth, retired city planner, David Pigram* responds to why and how this might work. (3min read)
    Could a radical idea of moving the last seaside Victorian cast iron and glass Winter Gardens in the world become the inspiration for a faded Edwardian seaside resort, and a beacon for entrepreneurs seeking to advance the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
    In this Royal Society paper, the authors argue that, while there is no shortage of sound ethical principles in robotics and AI, there is little evidence that those principles have yet translated into practice, i.e. effective and transparent ethical governance. Ethical practice starts with the individual, and emerging professional codes of ethical conduct. As a starting point for discussion they propose five pillars of good ethical governance.
    In a world that’s increasingly litigious over intellectual property (IP), the challenge for entrepreneurs in the Fourth Industrial Revolution may well be how to adapt hardware and software to local needs without being issued with a Cease and Desist notice from an overeager law firm.
    University College London (UCL) AI vision ‘AI for people and planet’ seeks to position AI (Artificial Intelligence) as a force for good in the world. Members of the public are engaging increasingly with machine learning algorithms each day, often with little idea that a machine is responding on a chat…
    The Coded Gaze is the term used by technologist and poet, Joy Buolamwini to cleverly describe, in a fascinating 8-min TED talk, the bias that exists within many machine algorithms and risks this poses to society. (1min read)
    Start-ups are creating a large proportion of new jobs, which is why global cities are vying to attract nimble young companies. Yet, these same cities are creating barriers for those wishing to set up business and this provides opportunity for smaller towns to become MicroHubs. (5min read) Job Creation It…
    With the EU classifying ‘consumers’ in general as ‘vulnerable’, the need to diversify the workforce creating Ai-enabled technology is becoming ever more urgent if we are to stop the risks from unintended biases. (3mins read)
    How will local needs and demands be met by small-scale entrepreneurs in an Ai-enabled world where machines have few moving parts and much of the software is proprietary? (2min read)
    The Innovation Hub will be an environment where the public and entrepreneurs come together to learn more about the latest advances in technology being developed inside companies and university labs (2min read).
  • AI HUB
    With Ai embedded technologies pervading life in general, whether wanted or not, an objective of the Innovation Hub will be to raise awareness of what is already available and the opportunities these innovations offer to improve people’s lives (5min read).
    Not all hubs need a physical space; many form around a dynamic charismatic individual who creates a unique community that becomes like an orchestra, making a greater impact collectively than any individual player could achieve alone (5min read).
    Margate needs a leader to take it to the next stage to becoming a Creative Industries Hub, until then it is down to Turner Contemporary and Dreamland to lead the way (4min read).
    Discovering a small retail park with a host of excellent independent businesses in rural England, creating a perfect commercial hub, was a particularly fine surprise (2min read)
    The Haphazard trip has prematurely ended due to an issue with Brook the camper van’s engine. (1min read).
    Cliftonville in Kent has many of the ingredients to becoming an east Kent hub for the creative industries, particularly design and small tech start ups, if only the powers embrace the area. (10mins read).
    Potential for Herne Bay in Kent to reinvent itself as a forward-looking dynamic, economically vibrant town is stifled by nostalgia for a faded golden period. (3mins read)
    Electric vehicles were already being mass produced more than a 100 years before Elon Musk released Tesla’s first cars, demonstrates that being ahead of the curve is not always best, even when the business case is correct! (4min read).
    Are radical and determined people attracted to towns were there are already radical and determined people or do people become radical and determined by living in a radical and determined town? This was the main takeaway from a visit to Leiston in Suffolk. (2min read)
    Elizabeth Garrett was the first woman to qualify in Britain as a doctor and surgeon. Using her career as a case study, this post poses the question whether a strong support network is the only way overt discrimination can be overcome? (read 5mins)
    Although grand projects are important, it is the small, almost unnoticed ideas and actions of millions of people that build societies and drive progress. A successful hub requires lots of people doing something they want to do, no matter how minor it may seem, creating a hive of activity and innovation. (Read 3mins)
    Great Yarmouth has amazing potential with numerous historic buildings and fantastic waterfronts. It just requires a strong grand vision to drive it into the 21st century (7min read).
    A flat battery at the beginning of a journey is a good analogy for how quickly plans can go wrong. (1min read)
    Planning for the weather when organising an event can be a useful metaphor for explaining how the best laid plans can quickly disintegrate if contingency is not built-in. (1min read)
    What will the place of work look like over the coming decades as lifelong jobs with one employer virtually disappear? Will careers become more Haphazard? (2min read)
    Touring Brexit Britain seeking to discover what novel ideas will emerge from such a tumultuous period.
    Recording of Chris Mortimer, founder of Out Of Time Records discussing the changes he has seen in Ipswich over the past 30 years.
    Ipswich in Suffolk is undergoing a transformation and appears to be building many of the key elements to make it into a hub city that will attract business, new residents and investment. Day one of Haphazard business was full of pleasant surprises.
    For music rights to be shared equitably, standardisation for inputting metadata is required, yet until technology takes over, it will fall to people recording music to have a routine to ensure accurate information is enter, so they get paid all that is due. (2min read)
    The Fourth Industrial Revolution may offer a way back for men who are no longer rooted to a job, religion or partner and, in attempting to give-back to the community, sometimes find themselves spiralling into counter-productive tendencies, which American scientists have termed the ‘Haphazard Self’. (5min read)
    The perception of Haphazardness often overrides the reality. In creating the Haphazard Index (Hi) it will be necessary to distinguish between what is actually happening and how it is being perceived.
    Is the abundance of choice a potential barrier to starting a business or developing an idea?
    In this guest blog post, Founder and Managing Director of Busworks, Gillian Harwood describes her incredible journey from being handed a letter by a bailiff, while hold two small children, taking possession of her house to creating the highly successful Busworks business hub and other creative spaces around Britain.
    This post discusses the threat to hubs and creative spaces across London and internationally as global capital require higher returns from rent and developments.
    The Creative Work And The City symposium discussed some of the issues facing creative hubs in London and Southeast Asia.
    The idea behind Haphazard Business is to create a new type of Innovation Hub. Haphazard Business is the journey to realising that idea.
    What is an Art Intervention? (1min read)
    An aspiration of this project is to create a Haphazard Index (Hi), a simple methodology to measure the amount of Haphazardness existing within a business.
    The law is an arbiter of disputes and competing interests; the pinch point when conflicting viewpoints cannot be reconciled. Could a similar balance that a Judge is required to pertain, for the law to appear fair, be developed to assist in deciding if an idea is worth pursuing?
    Creating standards for almost everything would be the most logical way to avoid Haphazard business practice and smooth out day-to-day living, yet all it seems to have done is cause political crisis?
    When companies or employees become too ridged they run the risk of stagnation, and when too loose the Chance of catastrophic error increases. Both scenarios often lead to the eventual failure, which is why balance is needed between procedures and Haphazardness.
    Is it possible that not being able to plan the life ahead could lead to mental health issues? Or does trying to plan every detail of a future life cause mental health issues?
    The project intends to develop a Haphazard Index, which will attempt to audit the positive or negative impact Haphazardness has on person or organisation.
    This provocation claims that most people work in constant process with few outcomes, and people should embraced the artist methods of enjoying the process more the finished artwork.
    We all have ideas, all of the time! Some flash and are gone, some gain momentum before quickly fading, and then, very occasionally, one pops into the mind that sticks, develops and leads to something real. Every idea has its own individual author.
    This first post explains the need to define the word ‘Haphazard’ and need to create an accompanying Glossary.

More on the original outline of the Haphazard trip

There was no fixed route or direction of travel. The journey was dictated by events, recommendations, invitations, weather, roadworks, and just randomly stopping. The intention was to mimic the sense of haphazardness often felt when starting a business, developing a useful product or creating an artwork.

The menu (hamburger top left corner) contains blog posts, photos, recordings and short videos of places visited, interviews and discussions on how ideas emerge, creating stimulating discussion and debate.

Feel free to comment or write a guest blog post. Welcome along…


This is a self-funded project, any donations to Haphazard Business are very welcome. Thanks John M


John M


  1. Reply

    In my view, if anything the world is becoming less predictable and forecasting is guess work. If you have an objective in mind then you need to ensure that your approach is agile and that you can adapt what you are doing by comparing where you are with where you want to be. Planning years ahead and expecting to achieve the end goal without adapting won’t usually get you where you want ot be although Universities such as the one I work at do take such an approach.

    1. Thanks for comment Carol, there are other comments along similar lines appearing in regards the need for agility. Karl Richter mentions the need of coping mechanisms for the ‘current mega trends re increasing uncertainty and unpredictability’ (Haphazard Routine) and Prof. John Wood touches on the idea ‘auspicious combinations’ (Abundant Choice), which can create a synergy from two or more perceived negatives.

      The question this poses is how much agility can a person/organisation build into a plan? With such rapid improvement in technology and the unstable political situation likely to continue for a long period, is the risk decision makers just sit on their hands?
      John M

  2. Reply

    survival of the fittest, those that adapt will survive, the Kodak’s of this world won’t. If your plan does not have a mechanism for feedback and acting on it like many public secotr organisations it wil eventually fail. People who manage more established businesses are probably at the highest risk and the most likely to sit on their hands till it is too late.

    1. Your response prompted me to look up Kodak to see what it is up to these days. I became friends with an ex-Kodak exec who gives a fantastic talk on the Kodak collapse, and highlights some of the things you mention here. This Kodak video from 2014 , https://youtu.be/Dmy167ABd3E discusses the journey of their new SONORA system, and clearly feedback is front and centre in the General Manager’s mind and how they have been expanding the business. This might be a good case study for later in this project. Thanks, John M

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