Tagged / John Oliver

The Friday Prof-ile: John Oliver

Welcome to The Friday Prof-ile – a chance to get to know some of our recently appointed Professors and Associate Professors a little better. Every Friday, we’ll be asking a different person the same set of questions to get an insight into their life, work and what makes them tick.

A headshot image of Professor John Oliver

John Oliver

This week, we’re chatting with Professor in Media Management, John Oliver…

What are your research interests? What made you want to study these areas?

My current research has examined the hidden effects of crisis events on organisational innovation and performance. It’s been very successful in terms of businesses engaging with the findings and it has influenced the UK Government’s new Innovation Strategy (2021).

Why this topic? Well, my research has taken a highly original and perhaps unusual approach to the topic. Doing something new is what keeps me motivated!

What has been your career highlight to date?

Developing my current research idea on the hidden effects of a crisis on firm innovation and performance been a struggle because its based on a truly original approach. That has meant a lot of critical feedback and even derision from many circles. So, to have the research inform the UK Government’s new Innovation Strategy has been pleasing to say the least.

What are you working on at the moment? 

A lot! But, an ESRC grant and publications on business innovation in a post-pandemic environment.

If you weren’t an academic, what would you be doing?

Management Consultant

What do you do to unwind?

Surfing, skateboarding, yoga and the gym

What’s the best thing about Bournemouth?

The beach

If you could pick any superpower, what would it be and why? 

Time travel – how cool would that be?!

If you were stranded on a desert island, what one luxury item would you take with you?

A surfboard

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Never, ever give in.

Everything has to be excellent!

In 2015, I was awarded a prestigious Visiting Fellowship at the University of Oxford- Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ). The next question was how do I fund such an initiative? Having looked at the various Fusion Investment Fund strands, the Santander Scheme appeared to be the most appropriate since it provides BU staff with travel and subsistence funds to support individual staff mobility and networking in the development of research, education and or professional practice.

During the fellowship period I conducted British Academy/Leverhulme funded research into the successful digital transformations of media firms. This work integrated three primary areas: business models, organisational strategy and dynamic capabilities in a longitudinal analysis (1995-2015).

Being able to conduct this research at one of the world’s greatest institutions has been an incredible experience. Whilst I have undertaken small project work with the RISJ over the past few years, there was a world of difference in living and working at the University. Academic work at the University of Oxford is a ‘lifestyle’ and one based on the pursuit of academic excellence. The work doesn’t stop at 5pm as there are numerous talks and lectures by distinguished people every night of the week!

The RISJ is a part of Green Templeton College which is a postgraduate college whose provision centres on health and management disciplines. At first, one might think that this is a strange combination, but their researchers were able to help with me some innovative work that I’m currently doing with the Boston Consulting Group in New York.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of my stay was the university’s focus on conducting research that aims to produce both conceptual and instrumental impact (vanity based research is clearly not on their radar). There is also a real ‘simplicity’ about the University of Oxford. You can see it everywhere, from the clean toilets, the pristine gardens, the student dress codes and the quality of their research. That ‘simplicity’ can be summed by saying that “everything they do has to be excellent!”


Dr John Oliver

Associate Professor of Media Management

Faculty of Media & Communication

My EUNF success!

I delighted to hear the news that my application to the EU Network Fund was successful. I aim to attend the 2012 Media Economics & Management Conference, Greece in order to network and develop collaborative relationships with academics from EU universities. The conference is a biennial meeting of the global community of media business scholars who reflect on contemporary issues in the economics and management of media industries and firms. It aims to provide to a platform for academics who research in this area to meet and network.

Some of the key themes of the conference relate directly to my area of research (Management in 21st Century Media Companies, Finance and Media Performance, Strategies, Competition and Multiple Business Models).

The conference also has a special session on the Creative and Cultural Industries which is of particular interest to me in my capacity as programme director of the Media School’s Professional Doctorate programme. The EU has just completed a consultation on various issues impacting the cultural and creative industries in Europe.  The responses to the consultation will inform the Commission and help it ensure that EU programmes and policies involving cultural and creative industries are fit for purpose. So there is the potential for EU funded programmes in this area.

I would also like to explore the potential for developing collaborative projects from the MEDIA 2007 programme  (2007-2013) which has a budget of € 755 million.