iOS app Android app

Jimmy Leach
Jimmy Leach is a digital consultant, working in as many places who'll have him, currently including ICANN, GEMs, Unbound and Portland. Prior to that he's been Head of Digital Diplomacy at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Editorial Director for Digital at The Independent, Head of Digital Communications for the Prime Minister in Downing Street, digital director at Freud and executive editor at He needs to stick to jobs for longer. He lives in south London with the missus and three kids.

Entries by Jimmy Leach

To Deliver Soft Power, Digital Diplomats Need to Move Beyond Platforms

(1) Comments | Posted July 14, 2015 | 2:44 PM

It feels like generations ago. It felt like a time of great promise when digital gunslingers were going to take the stuffy world of international diplomacy and change it forever, ripping up the rulebook and starting afresh. The set text for the time was a 2010 New York...

Read Post

Corporate Affairs Is Now Everyone's Business

(0) Comments | Posted June 16, 2015 | 10:57 AM

We all know, in the digital era, the key battleground for corporate reputation is now social media. Two-way conversations have become the norm. Static media like press releases and carefully worded reports are no longer enough. Consumers, influencers, shareholders and suppliers all expect direct access, instant response, and transparency -...

Read Post

If You're in EdTech, Then Hoping Someone Buys You Is Better Than a Business Model

(0) Comments | Posted May 20, 2015 | 6:00 PM

For quite some time now, entrepreneurs have been looking to the EdTech market as one where money will be made. The inevitable transformation of the schools model by technology will open up vast possibilities for innovation. Vast fortunes will be created, as these technologies are laid in front...

Read Post

'Only Connect': The Answer to Digital Learning Is in the Clouds, Not in the Hardware

(0) Comments | Posted April 10, 2015 | 9:08 AM

Anyone who has ever pottered around a typical school will have seen them, gathering dust. The huge flatscreen TV, the PCs on trollies, the range of gadgets, faddish once but now forgotten - the collateral of any one of a number of one-laptop-per-child/no-nerd-left-behind initiatives which proved better at spending money...

Read Post

Digital Voting Can Wait - It's Our Politics That Needs a Digital Upgrade

(0) Comments | Posted February 24, 2015 | 1:34 PM

It is, we are told, the most unpredictable election in several generations, with an endless variety of possible outcomes being outlined - and most of us couldn't care less. The parade of politicians telling us what we want to hear is met by a ripple of disinterest and apathy. Surely...

Read Post

If We're Abandoning Handwriting, Let Schools Revive the Ancient Art of Blogging in Schools

(0) Comments | Posted February 19, 2015 | 12:14 PM

Whatever they do in Finland's schools, the presumption is that they are ahead of the game. Everyone assumes they've cracked it, when it comes to education -- less so on beach holidays and suicide rates, but definitely on education.

So when the Finns decide that cursive...

Read Post

Don't Panic! Using Social Media in a Crisis

(0) Comments | Posted February 3, 2015 | 2:04 PM

Organisations and companies find that crises come in all kinds of disguises - 'physical', where something has actually gone wrong, or reputational, where people have simply started to hate you...

Crises of both kinds tend to fly pretty quickly on social media, and that can be a failure of

Read Post

Forget Social Media, the Real Interest Is in Your Inbox

(1) Comments | Posted January 5, 2015 | 6:20 AM

There's only two digital routes to information. Once we're on our laptops and tablets we either find information through the generosity of others, via social media or the occasional direct link, or through our own curiosity, via good old Google. We are our own editors, aggregating content via our own...

Read Post

Does Publishing Have a Gender Issue - and Can the Solution Be Crowd-sourced?

(0) Comments | Posted November 17, 2014 | 1:30 PM

The commonly-held view is that the world of book-publishing is a woman-friendly one, largely without a serious gender issue. Lots of women with degrees in the arts settling in amongst the bookshelves. There may even be an element of truth to the cliche -- compared to large part of the...

Read Post

In the Digital Diplomacy Battle, the Upstarts Will Start to Win Out

(0) Comments | Posted October 6, 2014 | 11:27 AM

In the digital world, the momentum is always with the upstarts. They are the gamechangers.

Once upon a time, Amazon were upstarts and the people who changed the rules of book retailing -- now, for good or (mostly) ill, they are the gatekeepers of the book industry. For TV, Netflix...

Read Post

We're Drowning in Branded and Social Content -- Can We Have Curators Back, Please?

(3) Comments | Posted September 2, 2014 | 6:11 PM

It's become a relentless bombardment of the banal, the trite and the trivial. While there's nothing wrong, per se, with the likes of Buzzfeed, Upworthy and all their competitors and imitators, the growth of social and data-led content sites and their link-bait headlines ('you'll never guess what happened next') means...

Read Post

Crowdfunding Comes of Age, Heralding a New Social Age for Authors

(0) Comments | Posted August 9, 2014 | 10:42 AM

Finding a publisher to take a punt on historical fiction can be tricky -- when that fiction is written in a shadow language and based on a campaign of guerrilla warfare against the Norman invaders of the 11th century, perhaps even more so.

Yet, The Wake, from Paul...

Read Post

EdTech and the Changing Role of Teachers Puts Questions in Different Mouths

(0) Comments | Posted March 19, 2014 | 12:59 AM

I read recently about a study in Communication Education that said that a "normal" child asks one question per subject per month. Separate research in the British Education Research Journal, (yeah, yeah, not comparable data) shows teachers asking pupils 291 questions a day.

So what's more...

Read Post

While Choosers Aren't Users, the EdTech Disruption Will Take a Different Path

(0) Comments | Posted February 6, 2014 | 11:50 AM

Digital disruption of familiar industries has taken an almost familiar path - consumer expectations begin to vary from the traditional delivery of a supplier. And into that gap, there comes the upstarts, who base their products and services on the expectations of the consumer, and not the legacy habits of...

Read Post

Will It Be the EU That Finally Gives Us a Social Media Election

(1) Comments | Posted November 13, 2013 | 5:21 PM

One of the more enduring assumptions of political campaigning in recent times has been the idea that digital media 'won' the Presidency for Barack Obama in 2008. That it was the geeks wot won it.

From then on, there has been plenty of digital real estate laid waste to...

Read Post

The Digital Divide That Will Decide the Future of EdTech

(3) Comments | Posted November 8, 2013 | 12:18 PM

At its most basic, education is a content industry -- information suppliers delivering into (hopefully) the willing minds of their audience. The pupil/teacher relationship reduced to provide/consumer.

But many content industries have been ravaged by a digital revolution and come out the other side disrupted, almost unrecognizable: It started with...

Read Post

Your People Can Tweet My People: Twitter Diplomacy Takes a Step Forward, But Let's Not Get Too Excited

(0) Comments | Posted October 2, 2013 | 6:17 PM

There's been a good deal of excitement (well, relatively speaking) about the recent twitter exchanges between US President Barack Obama and Iranian president Hassan Rouhani.

It was neither matey banter of the kind used by Australia's Kevin Rudd (when he was foreign minister) and UK Foreign Secretary...

Read Post

Add Digital Diplomacy to the Long List of Failures Over Syria

(1) Comments | Posted August 30, 2013 | 4:21 PM

Digital diplomacy, the hipster cousin of public diplomacy, has been enjoying something of a Golden Age recently, with any (Western) diplomat or minister of any note (and the more forward looking senior officials too) offering digital pronouncements, policy engagement and two-way conversations as a mechanic for gathering support...

Read Post

Here to Stay?

(15) Comments | Posted November 24, 2008 | 12:03 PM

It's already showing the signs of a classic break-up. While you should be enjoying the warm glow of the honeymoon period, you're already starting to have naggy little doubts. Is he still committed to this relationship?

He hardly calls any more and when he does, he wants to talk...

Read Post