DNA Disco shows you which endangered animal you dance like and how you can protect it

Posted on May 30th, 2015

Shake your booty, save the penguin.

DNA Disco is a free mobile app to raise awareness of wildlife conservation by telling you which endangered animal you dance like, for example "you dance like a panda". It converts your dance moves into a DNA sequence, which is then searched against a database of real genes from endangered species to find the best match. You'll see the animal's conservation status and be able to support organisations such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to protect the animal and its habitat.

TRY IT NOW: go to dnadisco.com on your phone, press “Let’s Dance" and start dancing.

The challenge

The world’s endangered species are getting more endangered every day: we’ve lost 50% of the world's wildlife over the last 40 years.

Wildlife conservation isn't just something for fluffy bunny lovers. We're all affected by this. Saving wildlife means saving habitats and ecosystems. Ecosystems provide humans with clean air, pure water, food, medicines and raw materials such as wood. In 1997, these ecosystem services were valued at US$33 trillion per year, although the true value of the natural world is infinite because we can't live without it.

How can we create a real sense of urgency about this, without just scaring people away? And how can we do this most among the generation with the most to lose, young people worldwide?

The opportunity

DNA Disco is an idea for creating viral awareness among young people by tapping into things they already love: music, dance and social sharing. In just a few seconds, anyone can relate their own dance moves to the world’s endangered species. With just a bit of funding, we could start a movement.

Next steps

I have a beta version that works — you can try it at dnadisco.com. I want to improve this beta version by focussing on making it easier to understand, use and share.

What’s the app like?

Open the app. Do your dance. And in a few seconds, your moves are translated into a DNA sequence and matched to one of 14 endangered species.

Suddenly, you find you’re dancing like a panda. Or a snow leopard. Or a polar bear.

It simple, it’s physical, and it’s fun. It’s designed for sharing.

How it works

DNA Disco is a simple HTML5 game that matches movements made with a mobile phone to sequences of DNA belonging to endangered species. Once they’ve been matched with an animal the player is encouraged to adopt that animal through the WWF or sign up for WWF membership. Players are also able to share their result on social media.

The app uses open data from the European Nucleotide Archive. Genes are selected based on their relevance to the organism, for example the high density of myoglobin in dolphin muscle allows dolphins to stay underwater for long periods.

Building confident relationships through improvisation - Cambridge 26 March 2015

Posted on March 16th, 2015

Would you like to feel more confident at business meetings and networking events? Come along on Thursday 26 March to meet your fellow Cambridge HR members and learn the body language secrets from improvised theatre to help you look and feel more confident in those potentially awkward moments.

Networking is one of the most profitable activities you can undertake, particularly in Cambridge where so much business is driven by word-of-mouth. It's also important for those in HR to maintain dignity in meetings and not be railroaded by difficult employees. Yet for many people all that stuff about selling yourself, working a room and maintaining authority in challenging situations can leave us feeling uncomfortable and lacking in self-confidence.

This Cambridge HR Members Event is designed to make you feel more comfortable and confident, and to make business interactions and networking more fun. We'll learn some basic techniques from improvised theatre to help us look and feel more confident, including:
  • Reading other people's body language to feel less intimidated
  • Changing our own body language to feel more confident
  • Having presence and building rapport.

No-one can make you feel inferior without your permission" — Eleanor Roosevelt.

The event costs £10 per person and is being hosted by Birketts LLP at their offices at 30 Station Road Cambridge CB1 2RE. Registration from 17:30 with the opportunity to enjoy light refreshments before the facilitated session starts at 18:00 and finishes at 19:30. Car parking is available at the station a few minutes’ walk away.

Eventbrite - Building confident relationships through improvisation

Unhurried Conversation @ Browns Cambridge 12 February 2015

Posted on January 8th, 2015

We're hosting another of our Unhurried Conversations at Browns Bar & Brasserie in Cambridge on Thursday 12 February 2015 at 10:30am.

In an unhurried conversation, there is time to think differently and connect with people in a refreshing way. Unhurried isn't always slow, but it has a pace where people find it easy to join in and not feel crowded out. And listening can be as satisfying as talking.

Please come along, and bring a topic for conversation if you wish. We'll use a simple format to create good, human interaction.

We're doing this one at Browns over coffee. Hope you can make it.

Managing Uncertainty — Anglia Ruskin University October 2014

Posted on October 15th, 2014

Uncertainty is something we face at different stages of our life from starting university, beginning a new job, moving cities. Starting and running a business is no exception this week we shall be exploring how we can go beyond managing uncertainty, make it work for us and embrace it.

Wednesday 15 October 2014 18.00 - 21.00 at Anglia Ruskin University.

Plate Gain

Posted on September 18th, 2014

Every year, more than 600,000 tonnes of food is wasted in UK hotels, pubs, restaurants and quick service restaurants. Plate Gain is a simple technological innovation that will help the hospitality sector automate waste monitoring, as recommended by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). Automating the capturing of food waste data is more labour efficient, energy efficient, accurate, affordable and scalable than existing food waste solutions. We believe that Plate Gain is a real game changer.


According to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), 600,000 tonnes of food is wasted in the UK hospitality industry every year. Some of this is made up of things like peelings, cores and bones, but the majority is (or once was) perfectly good food. WRAP research indicates that by not throwing away good food (and diverting food waste such as peelings, bones etc. to anaerobic digestion) pubs restaurants and hotels in the UK could save more than £720 million a year.

Around a third of this waste is food left on plates by consumers, which amounts to 200,000 tonnes with a value of £235 million.

To reduce this "plate waste",
WRAP recommend benchmarking current waste by weighing and categorising all plate waste over the course of a week. Food premises can then experiment with measures such as reducing portion sizes, and at a later date repeat the benchmarking process to see if waste has been reduced.

The problem with WRAP's recommendation is that it is a labour-intensive process that is slow, costly in staff time and error-prone, particularly at busy times.

The solution is to automate the weighing and categorisation process. By taking digital photograph of the plate as food is scraped into bins, Plate Gain uses secure cloud-based image processing technology to identify the food. By weighing the bin using electronic scales, Plate Gain ascertains its weight and approximate value.


Plate Gain’s potential impact on the hospitality sector is both financial and repetitional. Plate Gain saves restaurants money by reducing the purchase and preparation costs of food that would
otherwise be wasted. It is much cheaper than alternative manual processes. It is more accurate and can be run continuously. Reductions in plate waste are good for the brand in terms of corporate social responsibility. Unlike Plate Gain’s competitors, the system requires no change in staff behaviour so training costs are minimised. Airlines and cruise ships may realise additional costs savings through reduced fuel consumption as food weight is reduced.

The revenue model is a monthly subscription with free hardware. Additionally, Plate Gain has the option to sell consulting services and anonymised data. Plate Gain’s entry strategy is to target commercial food businesses and public sector food premises. Revenues from commercial food businesses, such as restaurants and pubs, will be used to subsidise public sector organisations such as schools and prisons.

The social impact is reduced food waste, leading to reductions in water use and greenhouse gas emissions from energy, transport and landfill sources. These and other factors will become increasingly important as the global population approaches a peak of 9.5 billion people around 2050.

Two-Prov with Stuart Reid and Antony Quinn at CB2 Bistro Cambridge

Posted on August 9th, 2014

Come see me and Stuart Reid perform our first two-prov show at CB2 Bistro tomorrow.

How to Be Yourself In Any Language at The School of Life

Posted on July 24th, 2014

Together with John-Paul Flintoff and Jude Claybourne, I ran a session in How to Be Yourself In Any Language at The School of Life on 5 July.

The feedback from participants was very encouraging:
  • “A very innovative way to learn language"
  • “Gave me more confidence. A wonderful way to connect with others"
  • “Really good fun and inspiring"
  • “Fun and creative. I would do the course again I enjoyed it so much"
  • “Very productive, thought provoking – and fun!"
John-Paul, Jude and me (photo by Barbara Le Lan)

How to be Yourself in Any Language - The School of Life - 5 July 2014

Posted on June 29th, 2014

We can all imagine what it's like to speak naturally. We did it as children, we sometimes do it with people we know well, and we see other people doing it on TV. But in practice, much of the time, many of us feel that we can't be truly "ourselves".
The greatest difficulty can come when we speak foreign languages -- a context that worsens the things that might also feel bad in our own language. Speaking foreign languages -- for work, or on holiday -- we worry about getting things "wrong", go blank, and tend to adopt a cautious, low status persona that doesn't feel comfortable for us or for other people.
This class is designed to help you speak happily and freely in ANY language (including your own), and find ways to express what needs to be expressed even when you don't have the right vocabulary -- because there's always a way to improvise.
As well as talking, this class uses theatre games, often in foreign languages, to see more clearly what we may be doing in everyday life (and because the games provide a welcome dose of laughter). You don't need to be good at languages, or acting - in fact, the less expert you are, the better.
Saturday 5 July 10.00 to 13.00 at The School of Life (London).

Why America Lacks Global Leaders - Harvard Business Review

Posted on May 2nd, 2014

In Why America Lacks Global Leaders Bronwyn Fryer notes that "for C-Level leaders in global organizations, one single characteristic - “sensitivity to culture" (so-called “cultural empathy") - ranks at the very top of the requirement list. This rare quality can’t be “taught," or injected simply by working in an overseas office.
Cultural empathy requires a degree of egolessness, because you have to surrender the notion that your country, or language, or point of view is best. Cultural empathy means that you have to not just see through the eyes of someone who is different, but you have to think through that person’s brain. True cultural empathy springs from personality, early nurturing, curiosity, and appreciation of diversity".

The FBI approach to negotiation

Posted on May 2nd, 2014

From Artificial emotional intelligence by Giles Colborne.

Antony Quinn

Communication for humans and machines