Thursday, July 31, 2008

Creative educators; ideas assessment survey

I am involved in a small research project which is looking interesting, part of it requires gathering the perspective of educators from creative discsiplines. Can you help?

'Creative disciplines education is characterized by an experiential, project based learning environment, regular peer review and frequently led by lecturers who are also practitioners. In contrast, teaching entrepreneurship in business schools has been criticised for its traditional lecture and text book based delivery, as well as issues on the assessment of ideas within an academic framework. The aim of this research is to explore how creative disciplines education is taught, delivered and assessed, and how this might inform the development of enterprise education UK.'

Are you an educator in *any* creative discipline? If so I would be very grateful if you could complete this survey on how you assess ideas:

Creative Educators Assessment Survey!

It should only take about 5 to 10 mins and would contribute significantly to this emmerging field.

Following the development of the exercise, academic papers may be prepared for presentation at an academic conference (or for publication in an academic journal which uses this survey data as material). Institution details and names of individuals will be kept confidential. If the results are used for other purposes you will be consulted.

Many Thanks


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Community managers for start-ups

Following today's TE3 Open day and discussion around how, as enterprise educators, we can help students consider their marketing strategies. I came across this link courtesy of local journalist Joanna Geary about whether or not start-up owners can manage their own online communities.

Great to meet everyone who came today - I'll try and blog in more detail about the event in the next few days.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Digital divide - first thoughts

I got a bit annoyed yesterday evening when I noticed a question I'd raised on the 'live blog' for Birmingham's Big debate had been used in the context of a blog posting about some folks (especially older folks) not having mobile phones, in the context of the digital divide. Anyway once I got over my annoyance it was actually quite useful for me to get to grips with trying to articulate something about the digital divide. Here was my response to the posting:

I must have missed this one but as Technorati picked up your link to my blog and your quoting me I feel obliged to respond. The question I raised was in the context of the debate. Like you, my question was based on anecdotal evidence and intended to stimulate the debate a bit. Perhaps with all of this we each bring with us different ideas and perceptions about who we mean when we talk about the digital divide.

For me I guess it is born out of research work I've been involved in, looking at social inclusion in the creative industries - the digital divide often being cited as an issue or major contributor to exclusion. So perhaps I am/was thinking of a younger demographic than you or at least those of working age.

My point I suppose was that as mobile technologies become more sophisticated, more accessible and the various media converge, then the digital divide might not be as vast as we perceive. I think I was responding to an assumption often made that folks need to be sat at an expensive PC to get internet access, when in fact most mobile phones and increasingly TV's can get internet or digital services. My understanding is that approx 45 million mobile phones are in use in the UK belonging to something like 85% of UK households (not my stats from various online sources).

I think there are issues for example: if a job application form is only made available online, as I believe some local authority cleaning jobs are, then this is an obvious issue as a regular mobile phone would not be too handy in this situation. I guess my point is that a lot of assumptions are made about the digital divide and perhaps we need to be a little clearer about who we mean. Although I have worked with a lot of folks who would identify themselves as non-techy or not computer literate I also see them doing all sorts of sophisticated things with their mobile phones and accessing all sorts of digital services.
Incidentally both my parents and even my 91 year old Grandmother are or have been mobile phone owners.

Having slept on it I think what I was trying to say is a lot of this stuff is about individual perception and confidence, not necessarily about availability and as media converges, mobile phones and TV's become more sophisticated (and with them users) then the divide narrows. Of course this is not my specific area of expertise but certainly I think it is an area which will effect my own research - so thought on this all very welcome.

I should say that there is a disclaimer here: most of my experience related here is from a UK and urban perspective.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Environmental entrepreneurship - the sea change

This is just a reflection from my lecturer and enterprise educator perspective. As some of you will be aware this blog is about enterprise within the creative industries, following the research I am involved in within that sector. As part of this research I am pretty heavily immersed in enterprise education, initially from the how do you teach creatives to be more enterprising, but also generically how can enterprise be best taught and I've spoken about this here before.

Last month I attended and presented at the ICSB conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia - a sweet city by the coast. I presented some research related to recent ideas about implicit and explicit enterprise education and the idea of contextualised enterprise education. I'll explain about this another time maybe. But for now I just wanted to draw attention to an article I read in the guardian, some of the key note speakers at the conference and discussion I've had with my students.

I'll start with the latter. Back in January I was teaching on a module called 'Ideaslab' during these sessions one of the emphasis was on where folks find ideas, innovation and opportunities. To me an obvious area to look was to opportunities that climate change, greening consumer trends and the increasing emphasis on CSR might offer. So I developed a lecture and series of exercises to work through some of the potential ideas and opportunities. At the time I was a little bemused by how some (not all) of the students responded to this: i.e. as if I was trying to push some sort of political agenda or belief system. Still that is by the by and to me just re-iterated that attitudes towards enterprise and being an entrepreneur, in some quarters at least, are rather outdated.

Anyway fast-forward 6 months and I am in Canada at the ICSB conference and although there are a few papers here and there relating to the credit crunch, climate change and ethical businesses (you see it takes academia a little while to catch up - research -results-peer review to publication and dissemination is a slow process). But one of the occasionally annoying but generally valuable and interesting aspects of this conference was speakers during meal times - these were generally local successful entrepreneurs. A major characteristic of these entrepreneurs (and I don't know if it's a Canadian thing, a trend or a deliberate choice on behalf of the organisers) was that their businesses were generally coming from an ethical standpoint.

The first was a business who re-cycled office furniture and computers and stuff - they then re-used them elsewhere in the world - e.g. furnishing schools in a developing country. The point of the business was to reduce stuff, otherwise headed for landfill, service some corporate CSR policies, do some good in the world and make some money in the process.

The second was a modelling agency run by a very young entrepreneur (24 yrs old) he'd been in business since he was 14! Thing is the business was a different kind of modelling agency - the models were all 'normal' sorts of sizes - you might know some of them from the Dove campaign.

So I thought I'd take these examples back, both hugely successful companies with a conscience, for my next cohort of students. Then just to add a little punch to the argument I came across this from the Guardian. Seems investors are dictating change by backing environemntal and ethical businesses with their funds.

Perhaps the next group of students will start to take this a bit more seriously.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

How to register for TE3

If you want to go I forgot to add the llink to register for the TE3 Open day - there are still some places - go to:

Open day details and registration

It's a free event.

TE3 Open Day 2008

Well it's come around fast - you may recall me wittering about the 2007 Open day for the TE3 (Technology Enhanced Enterprise Education) project, where I presented the evalutation I'd been carrying out, last year. Well, somehow a whole other year has passed by and once again the Open day is upon us. The event is hosted by Birmingham City University here is the press release:

Universities Unite to Enhance Enterprise Education

[10th July 2008] Leading practitioners of enterprise education from across the UK, will be sharing the latest innovations in enterprise skills development, at the fourth annual Technology Enhanced Enterprise Education (TE3) Open Day. This year’s event will take place at Birmingham City University’s Technology Innovation Centre (tic) on Wednesday 16th July 2008.

Established in 2003, the TE3 project has developed into a collaborative community of Midlands-based enterprise education specialists. In order to expand this collaboration to a national stage, the TE3 Open Day is co-organised with Enterprise Educators UK, a national network of over 500 higher education practitioners from 83 member institutions.

TE3 Open Day co-ordinator, Charlotte Carey, a Lecturer in Applied Research at Birmingham City University’s Business School says: “The main emphasis of this year’s event is on play, as we want delegates to get hands-on and experience the technologies themselves. Sessions will range from high-technology virtual worlds, to mind-mapping table cloths!”

The event’s opening session will explore how internet-based ‘Web 2.0’ applications can be utilised to create engaging and connected enterprise education. The Head of the TE3 project, the University of Birmingham’s Dr Kelly Smith, will join Birmingham City University’s Charlotte Carey to assess the use of Web 2.0 tools, including blogging, social-networking, wiki’s and Twitter, in enterprise-related curriculum.

The University of Wolverhampton’s Jane Edwards and Kevin Brace will then take delegates on a short tour of the virtual learning spaces in the internet-based virtual world, Second Life. Delegates will be invited to sample a virtual enterprise project, which allows participants to experience the cut and thrust of business, in a low-risk virtual environment.

The open day programme also includes an exploration of a wide range of high and low-technology solutions for student engagement and curriculum development, with contributions from Leeds Metropolitan University’s Alison Price and Sheffield Hallam University’s Dr Simon Brown.

Commenting on the importance of enterprise skills development, the Head of the TE3 project, Dr Kelly Smith says: “Enterprise education gives students both an alternative career option and the confidence to make a difference in whatever type of work they choose. By utilising new technology, we can spread learning opportunities to a wider audience and make learning more engaging, helping more students to develop vital entrepreneurial skills”.

Dr Simon Brown, Director for Enterprise Teaching and Learning, Sheffield Hallam University and Vice-Chair, Enterprise Educators UK says: “The TE3 Open Day is a great opportunity for colleagues from different backgrounds to meet and share experiences. Our association with this event provides a welcome opportunity for members of Enterprise Educators UK to learn from this well established and highly regarded project.”

The TE3 Open Day will take place at tic’s Millennium Point campus in Birmingham City Centre. Further event information can be found at

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Research and entrepreneurship ditty

I've been doing some work on my literature review this afternoon. Like I guess a lot of folks in my situation this can seem an overwhelming experience. I am currently about 18,000 words in. It looks like this section alone will be approx three chapters eventually and I am working away at each of the various sections. But as someone who is not the worlds fastest reader I struggle a bit with it, not least because for everything you read there is a ton more other stuff you could read and all the stuff the folks read who you're reading. Or put another way it's like climbing a mountain in order to reach a destination only to discover, when at the top of the mountain, that there are multiple other mountain ranges a head each of which need climbing.

Another frustration is that each hours reading only seems to result in one or two sentences of critical analysis of said literature. so results are slow going. Today, however I have been getting into it. The mountain was entrepreneurship, the following mountain ranges appear to be economics, neo-classical and Austrian (Fine Art degree is feeling less useful by the minute). I did come across this little ditty that I rather liked, while considering definitions of the entrepreneur, it goes something like this:

An alternative definition suggests that when discussing the role of the entrepreneur, within ecenomic development, one can frame the discussion by taking the view of a historian with hindsight, here the entrepreneur is identified by ‘being the one who was right when practically everyone around them was wrong’ (In Carey 200? Casson, 2003:10)

Not sure why quite liked that one.

Other news PhD related. I have started to disseminate my survey - this is slower going than I'd like, the sample group are harder to reach than I anticipated and I am anxious about whether or not they'll participate. Still fingers and more crossed - I'll blog about this more at some other point. As well as something about researching, ethics and blogging.....coming soon.