Category Archives: Comment and Opinion

Female Digital Entrepreneur

Motherhood and setting up digital enterprise – what are the challenges?

In a recent blog post, Dr Angela Martinez goes beyond the over-optimistic rhetoric usually associated with entrepreneurship and highlights The Reality of the Female Digital Entrepreneurs.   She states:

…the overwhelming conclusion of research into self employment by women, particularly mothers, is that it is more likely to intensify activity in both work and family spheres rather than resolve the tensions between the two.

Continue reading Female Digital Entrepreneur

5 Productivity Myths for Creative People

Graham Allcott, founder of time management training specialists Think Productive, takes us through some productivity myths.

myth-busting

Time management – it’s a myth

When someone is feeling overwhelmed and has too much to do, they often say things like “I need to get better at time management”, but time management is the wrong definition, and it leads to people chasing a problem that can’t be solved. As effective as the best business leaders are, they cannot manage time either: everyone has the same number of hours in their day. The problem is really how we manage our attention. If I focus on time, I may very efficiently schedule difficult work for Friday afternoon, when I’m so tired I don’t have the attention resources available. Likewise, we all have only 2-3 hours a day of what I call ‘Proactive Attention’ – where our attention, energy and concentration levels mean we’re truly on top of our game. It’s how we manage that resource, which is much more limited than time, which ultimately determines our productivity. A Productivity Ninja manages attention, not time.

Continue reading 5 Productivity Myths for Creative People

Useful Apps for the Productivity Ninja

Another post by guest blogger and author of “How to be a Productivity Ninja”, Graham Allcott.

Graham introduces different tools for productivity, many of which he uses in his own business. I have blogged about using Evernote which I use as an academic research tool, but as Graham states, it can do so much more.

Mobile apps are great tools to assist our thinking and organizing. When choosing which ones to use, check out as many YouTube videos, customer reviews, screenshots and product tours as you can, all of which will give you a good feel for the style, value and functionality of each app. Here are my top picks (I have no commercial incentive to endorse any of these, so this list is completely objective). Continue reading Useful Apps for the Productivity Ninja

Information Overload and How to Avoid It

When I think back to earlier in my career, there are hundreds of memories that spring to mind. In and amongst these is a vivid image of my desk, which zooms in on my computer screen to see hundreds upon hundreds of emails. Emails I’d read, emails left unread, but all piling up. It characterises how I used to work: controlled by my email inbox, struggling to lift my head above the parapet and consumed by the stress of information overload. It doesn’t have to be this way.  I’ve changed. You can too.   Continue reading Information Overload and How to Avoid It

Cultural Entrepreneurship: Good or Bad Work?

In her chapter entitled Good Work? Rethinking Cultural Entrepreneurship (in Creativity and Cultural Policy edited by Bilton), Kate Oakley rethinks entrepreneurship and the notion of good work. The thrust of her argument is that the policy rhetoric encouraging entrepreneurship in the cultural sector needs to take note of the challenges of cultural work and self-employment. A better understanding of different practices and individual experiences needs to inform the ‘rethinking of cultural entrepreneurship’. As Oakley states, there is a ‘disconnect between the discourse of cultural entrepreneurship and the reality of it.’

I’d like to pick up a few ideas from Oakley’s chapter and add my own research and comments to the debate. Continue reading Cultural Entrepreneurship: Good or Bad Work?

In Praise of Happy Accidents

“So the devil sings higher – ‘Oh just look at what you’re doing!’

Yeah, he’s joined by a choir of doctors and statesmen

who plan their sorry lives till their last days’ end.

But look at all the happy things that happen by accident!”

Polly Paulusma, from ‘She moves in secret ways’.

I have written about serendipity and the work of Sebastian Olma before, but here, guest blogger Graham Allcott of Think Productive offers his advice on ‘happy accidents’.

When we think about accidents, our risk-averse brains take us straight to thinking about “consequences” and the mess we’ll have to clear up.  When we think about serendipity or happy coincidences, we think only that these things must be magical or that we struck lucky for a day.

But what if you could make your own luck?  And what if accidents weren’t bad, but were opportunities to be relished, celebrated and capitalised on? Continue reading In Praise of Happy Accidents

Beyond the Campus

What role does Higher Education play in creating platforms, spaces and networks for creative arts and the creative industries? This question was the topic for the third workshop in a series of events, Beyond the Campus organised by Dr Roberta Comunian and Dr Abigail Gilmore and hosted by my colleague Dr Paul Long on Wednesday 6th November 2013.

The workshop focused on collaborations, networks and spaces shared by creative industries and higher education exploring both formal arrangements and practices as well as informal  networks and shared activities. Different spaces and networks were discussed including a keynote talk from Sebastian Olma challenging us to re-think the nature of work and the environments conducive to current working practices. Olma’s work is based on his study of serendipity as a crucial ingredient in innovative and entrepreneurial models of work, discussed previously in this blog.

My own contribution was a study of Birmingham’s creative milieu and how it can act as a space for students in ‘becoming’ a creative industries professional.  My research suggests that an opportunity to interact with the local creative industries community can offer an environment for experimentation in preparing for the realities of creative industries work.

I argue that by engaging in a creative industries milieu, characterized by its networks, relationships, key individuals and spaces (on and offline), students experience the realities of cultural work. Some students contribute to the local dynamic, establishing relationships which last well beyond their studies. But the process of immersing oneself requires cultural and social capital, and, as a student, is by no means easy. The research highlights some of the challenges through my interviews with international students and networks such as Birmingham’s Social Media Cafe. I suggest that a focus on encouraging interaction to explore the realities of creative work leaves little room for contesting or disrupting the status quo. A lack of critical reflection could be dangerous for creative industries students entering what is often described by academics as insecure and precarious work.

I hope that as part of the Beyond the Campus research, some of these challenges will be further developed.

My presentation slides: