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Work Experience

Over the past year, members of the pebble{code} and pebble.it teams have been mentoring 6th form students from The Lilian Bayliss Technology school. Through regular meetings and discussions we’re hoping to help these promising young students with guidance and advice in their studies, further education choices and careers paths.

A couple of these students joined us joined us for a week of work experience during the half term holidays. We placed them within our UX/UI team and put them to work on the new pebble{code} website, as well as helping them with one of their pet projects. Here’s what Mohammed had to say about the experience:

"Over the half term holidays I was privileged to work for one of the most prestigious software development companies in London. I sat with their web developers for a couple of days discovering and solving problems. I learnt the employable skills required put together with my web development knowledge to create the perfect software for clients. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and finally answered the question I have always been asking myself "how do web developers work behind a desk?""

Both teams at pebble{code} and pebble.it we’re mightily impressed by these students’ abilities to get stuck in and actively contribute to real-world projects. We’re convinced that the students we’ve met from LBTS have a bright future ahead of themselves.

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thatsinthebook

24th April 2014

pebblecode.com gets a makeover | part one design

Recently here at pebble HQ we’ve been working hard on an update to pebblecode.com. Now that it’s been released we thought it would be great to talk about the design process as well as explaining the tech involved.

One of the key motivating factors for the redesign was to bring the pebble {code} and pebble.it brands closer together. We’ll be releasing an updated site for our sister company int he future so stay glued to pebbleit.com for updates.

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markdurrant

17th March 2014

pebblecode.com gets a makeover | part two development

pebblecode.com recently got a makeover. This post is going to be about the development and the tech used. If you’d like to learn about the design process you can see part one of the story here.

Design lead

When the design team was given the brief for the new pebble sites, we were told that the project should be ‘design lead’ and we took this to heart straight away. When designing for the web it’s possible to let development concerns limit your creativity and this was something we were weary off from the start.

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markdurrant

17th March 2014

pebble {code} at Lloyds Innovation jam

Last week, we at pebble {code} had the exciting opportunity to take part in Lloyds bank Innovation Jam. Lloyds is a highly respected banking institution in the UK, and has been a constant on our high streets for 140 years, with over 16 million retail and small business customers.

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johnmildinhall

10th March 2014

Innovation != technology

Businesses are increasingly looking to technology to solve a requirement to innovate. Hack days are now the domain of corporations looking to generate ideas and creativity quickly. But for businesses to really embrace innovation cultural change is far more important than technology.

Offer the freedom to play

Within corporations fostering a creative environment can be highly challenging. Typically corporations have processes around everything from installing software to how to enter a building. Creativity cannot flourish when overly constrained by process and regulation. If an employee thinks that an idea will never see the light of day why would they even express it?

For innovation to be given a fighting chance a baseline is that employees are offered the freedom to express themselves, experiment and play. With the concept of experimentation a business should accept the idea that it is ok to fail. Clearly it is not acceptable for innovation to permanently fail but the word experimentation means that it should be expected that not everything will succeed.

Ideas come from anywhere

Too often in corporations a top down culture prevails around innovation. The idea that a senior management layer somehow directs innovation will seldom work. More likely to succeed is the idea that anyone can innovate and that each person within a business will bring something different. If a culture exists where individuals can express themselves freely innovation can flourish. For the senior management layer this means learning to let go of the reins if only in specific areas.

Remove barriers to creativity

As individuals hit barriers their propensity to innovate reduces proportionally. Within the realm of software the time to first commit for a developer is crucial. If someone has an idea they want to start working on it straight away. Developers do not want to go through a lengthy process for installing software or need to fill out forms to get access to a database. The ability to share ideas quickly and the time to get an idea in front of a colleague is also very important. How can innovation happen if it takes two weeks to provision a server to allow a web page to be shared?

For a developer the ability to code and share code instantly has been solved by being able to use PaaS products like Heroku. A developer can instantly push code and get a URL to share with someone else. Tools like Github and npm developers instantly.

For a corporation there may be security considerations but within a corporate firewall there should be no reason that experimentation cannot occur.

Conclusion

Innovation and creativity are not something that you can turn on and off in an organisation. If you really want to embrace creativity the culture and organisation of a business must be carefully considered. An innovative business will be a place where people can freely express themselves and are encouraged to do so. It should remove as many barriers as possible and make it trivial to share ideas. It should accept that experimentation can mean failure and that a top-down approach rarely succeeds. Then and only then real innovation can happen.

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shapeshed

7th March 2014

pebble {code} @ AstraZeneca Tech Fair

The other week pebble {code} was lucky enough to be invited to the AstraZeneca Tech Fair, in Cambridge.

image

It was a great to be chosen as one of the most exciting and innovative companies in the tech space, sharing the room with great companies like Google, Samsung, Intel, Microsoft and Huddle. There was lots of great tech on display, and we were delighted to have an opportunity to fly the pebble {code} drone!

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johnmildinhall

4th March 2014

pebble {code} @ Big DiP 2014

Big data is the buzzword of the times. Yesterday, we were privileged to attend the Big Data in Pharma conference in London. It was a fascinating insight into how the conservative and risk-averse pharmaceutical industry is using the cloud, analytics and a wider range of data sources to speed up the laborious process of getting drugs to market.

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johnmildinhall

20th February 2014

Innovation Opportunities in Retail Banking

pebble {code} is a place awash with ideas. We look at traditional industries and see a wealth of opportunities for disruption from technology. We have written a short report on areas within Retail Banking where we see potential for technology to offer consumers better customer experiences.

We see four major areas that will shape the direction of customer experiences in Retail Banking:

The report Innovation Opportunities in Retail Banking is available for free.

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shapeshed

7th February 2014

Encryption climate shows the value of Open Source

The Snowden revelations have thrown the surveillance climate wide open and some have suggested that the behaviour of the NSA has broken the web’s security model for everyone.

At the 30th Chaos Communication Congress [30c3] Nadia Heninger, djb and Tanja Lange delivered a brilliant talk about The Year in Crypto. Although there are some very technical sections I highly recommend that you watch it.

They cover a lot here.

Where open source wins

In this talk it is clear that Commercial encryption software has become generally less secure in the current climate. The strength of open source encryption is that because it is open source many developers can review the code and find any backdoors that anyone is trying to add.

Better Encryption

The bettercrypto.org site has a paper outlining practical ways to improve the way you use crypto both personally and in the software you create. It has recommendations and configuration for major web servers and best practice for using software.

If you are developing software for the web or value your privacy you should read it.

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shapeshed

10th January 2014

External Disruption for Tech Innovation

Gate keepers, security, working practises, bureaucracy, legacy, methodologies… These are all really important things that businesses need to train and mould their employees and users to do, but, they all get in the way of innovation, creativity, delivery and progress.

Businesses should outsource their tech innovation problems to smaller, more agile companies (like pebble {code}!). These agile companies have a thirst for new tech, innovation and creativity and can deliver worlds quicker than the in-house guys. This is nothing against the in-house talent, it is just that they are not encouraged to think and do it this way.

Software development should be thought of like science. How do scientists make progress? Trial and error. Why do businesses not do the same? Fear of failure.

At pebble {code}, we take our clients on a voyage of discovery. With our hack days, clients get to put their problems in the ring and have some extremely talented people have a crack at solving those problems. Some work, some don’t, but the whole process is informative, motivating and gets new ideas out there quickly.

If we can create 10 apps in a day, it really does not have to cost you the earth to test different approaches directly with the ultimate users of the software. If you go done the traditional route of specifying everything then you run the risk of ending up with a space craft to search the ocean.

Lesson: failure does not have to cost the earth and/or your job. When done right it is the most positive thing you can do in your software development process, it cultivates ideas and motivates the rest of your in-house team to think differently. It is positive disruption.

Interested? Email us at hello@pebblecode.com to book your hack day

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thatsinthebook

3rd January 2014
W214 Westminster Business Square 1-45 Durham Street London SE11 5JH
+44 (0) 20 3327 3940 hello@pebblecode.com