The UK Government’s Industrial Strategy ‘Building a Britain fit for the Future’ (2017) places an increased emphasis on the academic community to produce research that has impact in the form of societal and economic contribution. This impact can be achieved in many ways, for example, by creating and sharing new knowledge that results in the type of innovation that leads to market growth, improved corporate performance, jobs, new products and services.
My British Academy funded research into chronic corporate under performance has yielded some interesting findings, based on a unique methodological approach that draws on research from the field of epigenetics. I recently presented the findings to the Global Crisis Team at Edelman, a world leading consultancy for crisis management. As a result, we are now developing a number of workshops for their international senior executives.
A key factor in delivering research impact is to develop relationships and networks (1) with professional practitioners and to disseminate research in a user-friendly way. In this case, a short paper entitled “Culture also eats innovation for breakfast!” was published in Strategic Direction (2). This is a zero star rated journal that has an international readership of management consultants and business people which enabled Edelman to understand the idea in a non-academic way.
BUs Academic Career Framework informs staff that they should be disseminating professional practice outputs – and yet not many do. So, if you want to start on the road toward research impact, then think about the professional outlets that can help you disseminate your research and build a professional practice network.
1. Oliver, J.J. (2017). Developing a distinctive digital profile and network. In: Kurcirkova, N., and Quinlan,O. (eds). The Digitally Agile Researcher, Open University Press, Chapter 8, pp.80-87
2. Oliver, J.J. (2019). Culture also eats innovation for breakfast! Strategic Direction, Vol. 35 No. 12, pp. 1-3.
Three researchers from the Advances in Media Management research cluster, Dr John Oliver, Melanie Grey and myself (Searchmore Muridzo) recently attended the European Media Management Association (EMMA) annual conference in Limassol, Cyprus. This is the premier media management conference in Europe and boasts of some of the best brains and scholars in the unique niche field that incorporates media and management. I was fortunate enough to be one of two recipients of the EMMA Annual PhD Travel Grant which enabled me to travel to the conference.
To be a participant at the conference and be in the presence of some of the most renowned scholars in media management, such as Prof. Greg Lowe from Northwestern University (Qatar), was a humbling experience but also insightful, as the feedback on my paper has helped me to develop the thinking around my thesis. The conference presentations themselves were not only inspired works but engaging and thought provoking. Networking and potential collaborations in the future were another bonus that came with the conference attendance.
The European Media Management Association is a warm and friendly group of researchers. Overall, the experience was eye opening and beneficial from a personal, academic and cultural outlook.
Searchmore Muridzo, PhD Candidate
Developing organisational strategy in uncertain competitive conditions can be problematic. Dr John Oliver’s (FMC) research into media management tools and scenario planning provides an insight into the problems faced by firms operating in dynamic markets and has been used to create a number of instrument impacts of international reach and significance.
James Gater,a former partner at Bell Pottinger, one of the world’s leading communication consultancies and now a partner at Special Projects Partners Ltd, commented that “The ideas presented in Dr Oliver’s research into ‘Media Management Tools’ used by business executives and his follow-up research into Scenario Planning was used to good effect. Indeed, we developed a Senior Communicators’ Development Programme in which he personally briefed senior Middle Eastern clients. Of particular note, I personally conducted scenario planning exercises, based directly Dr Oliver’s approach, with a diverse range of clients helping them see how their communications functions may need to adapt to future strategic challenges. These have included several government organisations (in South Africa, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE), a political party in Pakistan and an agribusiness in Liberia amongst others”.
Dr Oliver leads the Advances in Media Management research group, a cross faculty cluster that seeks to advance knowledge and create economic and societal impact.
Following a business engagement event on Digital Strategy and Business Transformation and subsequent publications in academic and practitioner journals, Dr Oliver’s work on the strategic digital transformations of the UKs Creative Industries and media firms has been credited with shaping Ofcom’s media policy and regulation. Ofcom recently commented that his research into the how Sky Plc had managed the digital transition over the past twenty years provided them with a unique insight into Sky’s strategic approach, and it enabled them to “think differently about their ‘growth strategy’ and diversification into new markets such as broadband, fixed and mobile telephony”. Ofcom concluded that Sky had in fact contributed to increased levels of competition in those sectors.
Ofcom also confirmed that the research had helped them to consider their remit as a communications regulator and the potential areas where they could use their expertise in the future, most notably in terms of the potential future regulation of the internet.
Dr Oliver’s research – ‘Strategic Transformations in the Media’ can be found on BRIAN.
Dr John Oliver (FMC) requires a research assistant to work on a British Academy funded project, starting in early January.
The project involves a longitudinal analysis of Corporate Annual Reports using the qualitative software package NVivo. The first stage of the research will involve up to 150 hours of work paid at Grade 6. The successful applicant will be an experienced NVivo user and proficient in English Language.
For further details or an informal chat, please contact Dr John Oliver (FMC) via the following email address (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The future of YouTube was a co-created research project between Emma Parrett, Strategic Partnerships Director at OMD UK and Dr John Oliver (FMC). OMD are a strategic communications and planning agency that employs over 8,500 people in more than 120 offices globally and are the most awarded agency network in the world.
One of OMDs clients are YouTube and the challenge they faced was how to develop long-term market insight and strategic solutions in a rapidly changing media environment.The project combined imaginative and systematic thinking in a way that provided a unique insight into future media environments and how YouTube could compete using multiple strategic options.
The impact of the project and the scenario planning methodology has influenced OMD’s business practices in a number of ways. They believe that their media planning team were better able to make sense of often conflicting macro-environmental trends and are now able to find more advanced strategic insight. Additional positive outcomes were evidenced by increased usage of scenario planning, as well as staff and client understanding of a methodology which they ultimately regarded as a way of obtaining strategic solutions in a rapidly changing business environment.
Dr Oliver commented that the benefits of academics working with industry professionals to create knowledge and instrumental impact on business practices has been evidenced in this project.
Furthermore, the YouTube project has been written up and published in both industry and academic journals and the level of publisher downloads has run into the thousands.
The article can be accessed at: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1Wbaj1lnoC6sq
In April 2017 Dr John Oliver co-hosted a business engagement event on Digital Strategy and Business Transformation with The Hackett Group (London). The Hackett Group are leading management consultants providing expert advice on digital transformation and benchmarking to major corporations and government agencies, including 97% of the Dow Jones Industrials, 89% of the Fortune 100 and 59% of the FTSE 100.
The event formed part of a British Academy/Leverhulme Trust funded research project and was attended by senior business executives from the likes of Ofcom, the Financial Times, Astrazeneca and Bell Pottinger. At the time, the delegates commented that it was an “excellent event” that provided different perspectives on digital transformation and new ideas on how to manage strategic digital transformation within their firms.
After 18 months, a clearer picture has emerged of the impact that the presentation of findings and subsequent discussion has had on business practice. Chris Davenport, a Senior Director at The Hackett Group, recently commented that “the event influenced our strategic approach to the development of a new Digital Strategy and Analytics service for our clients. This new consultancy service has been now been launched and several of our FTSE100 clients (among others Tesco, John Lewis and Unilever) have gained insight from this. Some of these clients have already decided to invest millions of pounds into resources creating many new jobs in Digital services and Analytics departments in their firms and we expect many more to follow”.
The research findings have been published in several practice management journals, whilst the academic papers are in the final stages of peer review.
Alan Rusbridger, the former Editor of The Guardian, recently gave an insightful talk to Fellows at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (University of Oxford). He described the impact of digitalisation and new media technologies on the Publishing Industry as “an asteroid strike” that had decimated organisational business models, value chains, profitability and employment levels.
Dr John Oliver (FMC) attended the event and commented that whilst the UK Publishing Industry continues to adapt and undergo structural change, the industry had in fact outperformed all other UK Creative Industries between 1997-2014.
Whilst the industry had seen the workforce contract from 308,500 in 1997 to 225,000 in 2014, the structural adaption of human resources has produced a positive effect on industry performance, with the Gross Value Added per employee by increasing from £20,554 to £45,244 (+120%) over the same period.
A copy of the paper can be found on BRIAN.
Oliver JJ. (2017). Exploring industry level capabilities in the UK Creative Industries. Creative Industries Journal, 10(1):75-88
The European Media Management Association Doctoral Summer School is a bi-annual event that has previously been run by institutions in Germany, Spain, Sweden, Portugal and Zurich. This year the Advances in Media Management (AiMM) research group hosted an international group of doctoral students at BU.
Dr John Oliver, Associate Professor of Media Management, said that “our aim was to create a community of learning where doctoral students, media industry professionals, BU faculty and professional services staff fused media management theory and practice to define the next generation of media management challenges”.
On the social side, delegates were given a Dorset cider tasting experience, an opportunity to see the grave site of Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein) and a Gala Dinner in The Library of the Miramar Hotel in Bournemouth.
Dr Oliver would also like to thank the Doctoral College for their support and those members of the AiMM team that helped plan and deliver what can only be considered to be an “excellent event” that has contributed to BUs international profile and reputation. Many thanks to: Dr Joyce Costello, Dr Chris Chapleo, Melanie Gray, Graham Goode, Maria Musarskaya, Muridzo Searchmore and Conor O’Kane.
Dr John Oliver, from the Advances in Media Management (AiMM) research cluster has been invited to join one of Ofcom’s Expert Groups.
In 2017 Ofcom became the BBC’s first external regulator and have set the regulatory conditions required for the BBC to fulfil its Mission and promote the Public Purposes. Dr Oliver will contribute to the development of measuring the distinctiveness of the BBC (known as Public Purpose 4).
Ofcom will monitor the BBC’s performance over the course of the Royal Charter (2017-27) and will produce their first performance report later this year.
With the imminent arrival of General Data Protection Regulation and continued fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the misuse of people’s personal data and privacy has become a topic of strategic importance for governments, regulators and businesses alike.
Conor O’Kane, from the Advances in Media Management (AiMM) research group, has been researching the use of ‘privacy seals’ as a means to enable individuals to better control their personal data. His work continues to resonate with the popular press who have sought out his expert opinion in order to demystify the key issues surrounding data protection. His latest piece in the Daily Mirror argues that the use of a privacy seal would be an important step in rebuilding our public trust.
As the controversy over the use of personal data by Cambridge Analytica and Facebook continues to rage, many firms around the world are bracing themselves for further revelations of data privacy infringement.
Conor O’Kane (FMC) was recently asked to provide his expert opinion on the issue of data transparency and privacy. His research examines how provisions in the new General Data Protection Regulation impacts on personal information disclosure.
In a recent US Senate hearing, Mark Zuckerberg, was criticised for the complexity of Facebook’s privacy approach, with Senators asking why the firm couldn’t provide more user friendly information on their disclosure policies. In line with this sentiment, the Daily Mirror asked Conor to write an article summarising the controversy for their readership.
The online version of the article can be found at:
New York is the world’s media capital and it is no surprise that American academic institutions dominate the field of Media Management. Fordham University in New York extended an invitation to me as a Visiting Scholar, and as a Santander Universities Network partner, the process of engaging with them was straight forward.
My application to the Santander Mobility Scheme had 3 primary objectives which fused research, education and professional practice. During my visit to the USA, I taught on Fordham’s MSc Media Management programme, had discussions with leading media management scholars and the Editor of The International Journal on Media Management.
I also met with the Managing Director of the Boston Consulting Group to discuss the metrics that are used to measure the level of innovation in firms, as well as their the chronic under performance. I also had a meeting with the Editor of Strategy & Leadership to discuss developing a ‘Masterclass’ paper on Scenario Planning and how best to encourage Early Career Researchers to write for the journal.
All of this activity aims to develop a number of fusion based outputs and impacts into the near and medium term future. Overall, it was a great trip and many thanks to the Santander Staff Mobility Scheme!
BU are hosting a Doctoral Summer School between 4th – 6th July 2018!
The summer school is applicable to PhD candidates and early stage post-docs. Whilst the event is being sponsored by the European Media Management Association, we welcome applications from candidates whose research is located within a broad range of subject disciplines including: Business and Management, Communication, Creative and Cultural Industries, Journalism and Media Studies.
You can contact Dr John Oliver (email@example.com) in the Faculty of Media & Communications for further information or visit the following link:
The application deadline is Friday 30th March 2018.
A strategic commentary on the interconnected areas of corporate strategy and employee performance are discussed in the latest issue of Strategic HR Review. The paper provides a longitudinal analysis of how two firms adapted, reconfigured and transformed their businesses to meet the demands of an operating environment characterized by inexorable changes in digital technologies. It presents data and conclusions on how the management of “human resources” had delivered different employee productivity outcomes over the long term.
50 FREE downloads are available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/SHR-10-2017-0069
The future of YouTube is focus of a new co-created paper by Dr John Oliver (FMC) and Emma Parrett, Strategic Partnerships Director at OMD UK. Published in the US based journal, Business Horizons, the paper presents theoretical and empirical findings on how Scenario Planning was used to enable media executives to strategize and prepare YouTube for multiple futures, with multiple strategies.
The paper combines imaginative and systematic thinking in a way that provides a unique insight into future media environments and how YouTube could compete in each scenario.
Dr Oliver commented that “this co-created paper illustrates the benefits of academics working with industry professionals to create knowledge and impact with multiple stakeholders”.
The full article can accessed from: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1Wbaj1lnoC6sq
Dr John Oliver, from the Advances in Media Management research cluster (FMC/FoM) has been re-elected to the European Media Management Association Board. Following his election at the association’s recent Annual General Assembly in Ghent, Belgium, Dr Oliver will now serve a 3rd term on the board and be responsible for the Doctoral Summer School in 2018.
Graham Goode, from the Advances in Media Management (AiMM) research cluster recently presented his doctoral research at the European Media Management Association conference in Ghent, Belgium. Under a conference theme of “collaboration in the value chain”, Graham presented data from a multi-year content analysis of strategic collaborations of UK broadcast, production and distribution organisations between 2010 and 2016. The findings show that equity participation, a form of collaboration, where one partner provides finance and expertise to gain access to the other partner’s capabilities in content, formats, talent, people and production facilities, accounted for a substantial and growing proportion of collaborations over the last three years, replacing acquisitions, as the here-to (since 2010) main form of collaboration.