Monthly Archives: October 2010

Resource Combining: Teaching, Researching & Practice

Recently I’ve written a commentary on a paper about resource combining for JBR.  It set me thinking about how we can successfully combine our teaching, research and practice to help students have some experience of ‘the world of work’ in the class room.

We are at the beginning of term and I’m teaching Managing Marketing Innovation.  This week I think we really managed to combine teaching, research and practice by welcoming our Guest Speaker, Allan Freinkel, CEO of StarTraq.  StarTraq (UK) Ltd. provide software solutions for enforcement agencies.  Allan has also been a participant into my research into business models and market making.

Allan has both national and international experience of start-up companies and provided the students with great insights into how to start, develop and run a business in turbulent times.  The students gave great feedback on their experience, really picking up on the importance of understanding where the value lies within innovation network, how you can constantly seek to create and sustain value by building platform technologies and how change can suddenly come (though policy, fincnace or technolgoical change) and completely disrupt a market.  Allan talked about how he used his network and knowledge to seek new ways of combining and accessing resources and also how he did this in an ethical but determined way.

What I loved about the session was the way an experienced practitioner combined and co-developed ideas and experiential stories with the ideas of great students who also had their own experiences and stories to tell.  Many of these students have just returned to university having spent a year working at firms like 3M, Johnson & Johnson, Texaco Mobile and Glaxo SmithKline.  One student asked, “What are you most proud of doing in all the work you have done?”  Allan identified two things: saving lives (by establishing non-speeding traffic norms through the provision of his speed enforcement technologies) and being able to employ people so that when they go home at night, they have a roof over their heads.  What a great session!

Allan also talked about his work with academics to develop his business.  Specifically he talked about his work with Dr. Annabelle Gawer at Imperial College, London.  Annabelle has a great new book on platform products.

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The Problem with Video Diaries

I’ve been thinking about the video diaries that I have and also all the video data that I don’t have too.  It seems that the managers that have the flip video cameras as data collection tools hate pointing the camera at themselves and then talking to the camera’s eye.  I tried it.  I’ve been videoing feedback for my innovation students straight after lecturers and workshops.  It is a weird feeling.  It makes you terribly self conscious as it gives you the feeling of being both watched and judged.  It works to some extent but I’ve been wondering what else ethnographers could use.  There is a new piece of kit coming out (it’s not on the market yet but worth taking note of).  It’s called SenseCam.  This is what the Microsoft site says about SenseCam:

“SenseCam is a wearable digital camera that is designed to take photographs passively, without user intervention, while it is being worn. Unlike a regular digital camera or a cameraphone, SenseCam does not have a viewfinder or a display that can be used to frame photos. Instead, it is fitted with a wide-angle (fish-eye) lens that maximizes its field-of-view. This ensures that nearly everything in the wearer’s view is captured by the camera, which is important because a regular wearable camera would likely produce many uninteresting images.

SenseCam contains a number of different electronic sensors. These include light-intensity and light-color sensors, a passive infrared (body heat) detector, a temperature sensor, and a multiple-axis accelerometer. These sensors are monitored by the camera’s microprocessor, and certain changes in sensor readings can be used to automatically trigger a photograph to be taken.”

Imagine the data you could get with this! You manager moves and you get to see what he goes, who he meets, what he sees!  I can see many exciting opportunities with this technology as a data collection tool.  There have already been trials in the medical profession with Alzheimer’s patients to help jog memory (see for example, Berry et al 2008).  Maybe SenseCam could be used as an aid memoir to in interviews as well as raw data.