Mindworks’ Weblog

Thinking Matters

Einstein and Thatcham

Posted by Andrew Cooper on July 31, 2008

I mentioned a while ago that I spent a year working as the project manager for a community planning exercise in a nearby town. The town was Thatcham, Newbury’s next door neigbour here in West Berkshire. It was a great experience and I’m still involved with the project on a freelance basis. The project was called the “Thatcham Vision”.

One of the consultation exercises we ran came in the form of a ‘wrap’ to the local free newspaper, which was a very cost effective way of getting coverage not only in Thatcham but across the whole district. This was important because we needed wanted to seek the views of non-residents as well as the 25,000 or so people who live in the town. We wanted to find some way to signal to readers that this was a little out of the ordinary, and came up with the idea of using the photo below on the front page. (The text was generated by the website at the address shown on the pic.)

This wasn’t the text we used in the final version of the wrap, a copy of which you can download here. You can also see the headline which accompanied the photo and puts it in context. (I notice in the version above Albert appears to be having problems with his apostrophes.)

I built a website for the project which is here, ran a blog and set up a Wiki to capture information about Thatcham.  If you visit the interviews page on the website you can hear me and Clare Tull, who worked with me on the project, being interviewed on Kick FM, the local radio station, shortly after we started working on the project.

The project was great fun and I very much enjoyed getting to know the local community. One of the highlights, for me, was being asked to chair a special Thatcham edition of Just A Minute which was run to raise funds for the Mayor’s charity. The evening was great fun, and was attended by the late Ian Messiter’s (creator of the game) wife, Enid and his son Malcolm, who as you’ll see from his website is a very interesting chap. Enid told us how she used to play the Just A Minute theme, the Minute Waltz, live when the programme was first broadcast in South Africa. (The wikipedia article seems to have missed Just A Minute’s South African roots.)

This is all pretty run-of-the-mill stuff for management consultants, obviously, so if you’re thinking of a change of career I recommend that you brush up on your Nicholas Parsons.

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2 Responses to “Einstein and Thatcham”

  1. The website address for the Einstein mash-up generator didn’t appear on the photo: it’s here
    http://www.hetemeel.com/einsteinform.php The site also includes lots of other entertaining mash-up generators which you can use to produce interesting pictures for your office wall. The G W Bush one offers many entertaining possibilities.

  2. Alison Robertson said

    What an interesting chap Malcolm Messiter is! I have always admired his father for setting up things so that he is able to get his name mentioned in the credits of ‘Just a Minute’, even posthumously. I love the BBC music for ‘The Secret Garden’ so it was lovely to put a name to the oboe soloist

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