Measuring the Wobbliness of Scuba Divers

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In order to maintain balance, our body needs a number of structures to be working correctly. We need to know what the joints are doing, so that our muscles can make any necessary adjustments to keep us upright. We also need the signals from those joints to travel up the brain without interruption and then to be interpreted correctly. The signals from the brain have to go back down again and the muscles must be able to make any necessary corrections to maintain our posture. Additionally, the balance detectors located in our ears must also be working.

Most of the time though, we have another back-up source of information which we use to maintain balance, even if the above mechanisms are faulty – we keep our eyes open! So we instantly see if our balance is incorrect and adjust accordingly.

Balance testing and divers. 

Divers with decompression illness (DCI) can sustain an injury to the balance pathways. Sometimes these injuries can be subtle and the diver affected wouldn’t necessarily know he or she had a problem – because with the eyes open a balance problem wouldn’t be immediately apparent. Dive doctors test for this possibility by the use of the Sharpened Romberg Test. This test is performed with the eyes closed, so the compensatory visual mechanism is eliminated. But balance is a difficult skill. Even healthy individuals find themselves a bit wobbly with their eyes closed!

What are we doing at DIVE2014 (Birmingham NEC, October 2014)?

At the Dive Show (DIVE2014) from 25th/26th October 2014, I will be working with DDRC Healthcare inviting people to undertake a test with us on Stand 1436. We will ask participants to place one foot in front of the other, fold their arms across their chest, close their eyes and try to maintain balance for as long as possible. In order to measure the amount of wobble, we will ask volunteers to place a few sticky markers to their clothing. This will allow us to use a computer programme to measure the amount of postural sway – or in layman’s terms ‘wobble’!

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What will we be doing with the findings? 

Postural sway, or ‘wobble’ reflects instability. There’s a large natural variation between individuals, even in health. The data we gather will help us understand this natural variation. This will help diving doctors make their judgements about when people may have returned to their pre-DCI state.

What does the test result mean to individual divers? 

Apart from DCI there are lots of reasons why an individual may be wobbly in this test. The most common one is the natural variation between individuals! If you attempt the test and find you are more wobbly than expected, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is anything wrong. We won’t be attempting any on-the-spot diagnosis on our Dive Show volunteers!

For fun, we will make a note of the details of any willing participant who remains upright for 60 seconds, and analysis of their video will reveal the person with the least amount of ‘wobble’. The winner will receive a prize from DDRC!

For more information on DDRC Healthcare’ research work linked to the health of divers, including there most recent survey which focuses on Dental Health & UK Divers, visit http://www.ddrc.org/divingresearch/ 

By Sam Harding (DDRC Healthcare Chamber Team) and Dr Simon Williams (DDRC Healthcare Doctor)

Existence of benefit finding and posttraumatic growth in people treated for head and neck cancer: a systematic review

Sam has recently had a systematic review published in the open access journal PeerJ.  It is FREE for anyone to download.  Below is the abstract giving you an overview of the work, and it you have any questions then maybe the full article will be of interest.

Background. The impact of head and neck cancer (HNC) in long-term survivors differs widely among individuals, and a significant number of them suffer from the negative effects of disease, whereas others report significant positive effect. This systematic review investigated the evidence the implications of treatment for HNC and subsequent development of Benefit Finding (BF) or Posttraumatic Growth (PTG).
Purpose. To understand how differing medical, psychological and social characteristics of HNC may lead to BF/PTG and subsequently inform post-treatment interventions to encourage positive outcomes.
Method. In February 2012, five databases including Pubmed, and Psych Info, were searched, for peer-reviewed English-language publications. Search strings included key words pertaining to HNC, BF, and PTG. One thousand three hundred and sixty three publications were identified, reviewed, and reduced following Cochrane guidelines and inclusion/exclusion criteria specified by a group of maxillofacial consul-
tants and psychologists. Publications were then quality assessed using the CASP Cohort Critical Appraisal tool.
Findings. Five manuscripts met the search and selection criteria, and were sourced for review. All studies were identified as being level IIb evidence which is a medium level of quality. The majority of studies investigated benefit finding (80%) and were split between recruiting participant via cancer clinics and postal survey. They focused on the medical, psychological and social characteristics of the patient following completion of treatment for HNC.
Conclusion. Demographic factors across the papers showed similar patterns of relationships across BF and PTG; that higher education/qualification and cohabitation/marriage are associated with increased BF/PTG. Similarly, overlap with disease characteristics and psychosocial factors where hope and optimism were both positively correlated with increased reported BF/PTG.

Representing the BPS

Yet another busy month has passed for us all, but I thought I would take this time to write a short piece about a couple of events, at which I represented the British Psychology Society (BPS).

Exeter University Psychology Society Careers Event

Midweek on what turned out to be a wet, and chilly March day, Exeter University Psychology Society organised a careers fair.  They invited myself and a number of colleagues to cover the various areas of psychological practice.  I was there to, as mentioned, represent the BPS, but also to talk about work in the field of Health Psychology.  Other speakers included; Dr Andy Allen, Dr Craig Knight, Dr Varuni Wilamasari, Dr Barry Cripps, Amy McAndrew and Josie Bannon.  Our brief was to talk about our experience and knowledge of how to get into our field and what it is like to work in it.

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  • I aimed to enlightened the students on topic of Health Psychology.  It is a rapidly expanding but relatively new area of psychology which promotes well-being
  • Educational Psychologist, Dr Andy Allen, talked about the experience of working in both the public and private sector, and gave advice on cross-sector working
  • Dr Craig Knight, an Occupational Psychologist, talked about his work to help businesses maximise the potential of their office spaces by using his expertise in the effects of office layout on productivity and efficiency
  • Dr Varuni Wilamasari, a lecturer at Exeter University and an Occupational Psychologist, discussed how psychology can be implemented into practical settings by showing how her knowledge is applied to decision making
  • Sports Psychologist, Dr Barry Cripps described his extensive career working with athletes across many disciplines
  • Amy McAndrew, an Exeter PhD student gave practical advice on applying for an MSc or a PhD and funding opportunities available to students
  • Joise Bannon, introduced the audience to Wellbeing practitioners. A job involving using low intensity cognitive behavioural therapy to help those with mild or moderate depression and outlined the differences between a wellbeing practitioner and a clinical psychologist.

Following each of us giving a 5 minute presentation we were individually set upon by the assembled students to in the form of a lively question and answer session with students raising questions about aspirations, opportunities in the field and the career processes needed.  All the speakers gave enthusiastic and insightful talks about working in psychology.  It also provided an great opportunity for the undergraduates to clarify thoughts about potential careers.  I personally found it a really great experience. It allowed me to talk on a topic about which I am passionate to people that were interested and asking insightful questions.  This in turn challenged my understanding of the students basic level of knowledge and expectations that they carry during their years of study.  Fingers crossed this will be first of an annual event at this University.

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The second event I helped support was the;

South West Undergraduate Psychology Conference

Bath University Psychology student helpers
Bath University Psychology student helpers

Each year the South West Branch Committee of the BPS sponsor and help organise an undergraduate student conference for the seven universities based in the region (Bath Spa University, Open University, University of Bath, University of Bristol, University of Exeter, University of Plymouth, and the University of the West of England). The conference is an opportunity for students and their lecturers to share experiences, research, discuss ideas, feedback and network with each other and particularly with practising psychologists. The universities take it in turns to host the event and this year it was the University of Bath’s turn.

Dr Michael Proulx
Dr Michael Proulx

So at 10:30 on a grey and drizzly Saturday approximately 120 students and staff convened at the conference venue.  Welcomed with much needed warm drinks and cookies by a group of Psychology students, it became clear from the level of chatter that we were in for a very interesting and engaging day of research dissemination. With the 21 poster presentations hung, we split into streams to watch the first of the 24 oral presentations.  Each oral presentation consisted of a 10 minute talk, supplemented with PowerPoint or Prezi, and a subsequent 5 minute question & answer opportunity. Mid-way through the presentation schedule, lunch provided the opportunity to view posters, chat to authors and network with peers.  The presentations resumed until 15:45 when we were treated to a keynote presentation by Dr Michael Proulx. He gave a fascinating presentation covering his work examining some of the fundamental issues in cognition through the study of multiple sensory modalities. This focused on how developments in psychology and engineering are allowing significant advancements to be made in augmenting hearing devices and subsquently aid visual impaired people.

Clichéd as it maybe, once again, the students’ contributions were of a remarkably high standard. This made it difficult for the judges (academic representatives from the attending universities and the author) to decide upon the BPS ‘Best Poster’ and ‘Best Oral Presentation’.  We ended up selecting 2 posters and 5 oral presentations for commendations. In no particular order, poster commendations:

  1. Alessandro Firetto (University of Plymouth) Out of Sync. The effects of social exclusion through music synchrony
  2. Natalya Smith (University of Bath) Anxiety and gender: how do they affect chronic pain patients’ outcomes following a pain management programme?

Oral presentation commendations:

  1. Tamsyn Hawken (University of Bath) Exploring earthquake related distress: A qualitative analysis
  2. Claire Mason (University of Bath) Project REACH; A study into the risky health behaviours of childhood cancer survivors
  3. Claire O’Reilly (University of Exeter) Evidence for an understanding of string-pulling in an Alaskan coastal brown bear (Ursus arctos sitkensis)
  4. Jennifer Riddell (University of Bristol) Axes of time representation in English and Mandarin speakers
  5. Carys Weeds (University of Bristol) Just noticeable differences in sharpness

Winners of the best poster were: Bathany Isaacs, Zeena-Britt Sanders, Haline Schendam & Viktoria Vianeva (University of Plymouth) Behavioural Congruency and electrical brain potentials dissect knowledge, decision and action contributions to implicit memory

Winner of the best oral presentation was: Rebecca Griggs (University of Bristol) The effects of expectancy information on cephalic phase responses to food

The abstracts for these presentations and the others from the conference can be read in the summer edition of the South West Branch of the BPS review.  Next year the conference will be held on the 22nd March at the University of Exeter, but if you want to know more or wish to be directly emailed about this event please contact me at samh@jbsh.co.uk.

So, those were a couple of events I attended in March, both engaging and exciting and I am looking forward to doing more to help undergraduates develop themselves and the field of Psychology.

The Effects of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy on Quality Of Life in Maxillofacial Patients with Type III Osteoradionecrosis

I strongly believe that if you ask people to take part in research you are subsequently obliged to disseminate the findings of that research.  The effort and time that this can take is substantial, and all to often researchers stop at conference posters or oral presentations.  These reach a limited audience and have very little if any impact on practice. 

So I am delighted that a piece of research I have been associated with for more than ten years has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.   The data was collected at the Hyperbaric Medical Centre (Diving Disease Research Centre), in Plymouth and is entitled: The Effects of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy on Quality Of Life in Maxillofacial Patients with Type III Osteoradionecrosis, it is for a specialised audience, but hopefully it is written in such a way that it is accessible to one and all.  The PMID of my article is -PMID: 22705224. Depending on your institutional or personal access you maybe able to access the whole article from this link.

Abstract – Purpose: Over a four year period, 18 patients with Type III osteoradionecrosis that were an average of 55 months post radiotherapy treatment for head and neck cancers, were referred for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBO2)

Methods: Participants complete a questionnaire battery pre & post HBO2 including the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Core 30, EORTC Head & Neck 35 (HN35) and Medical Outcomes Short Form 36 (SF-36)

Results: The EORTC Core 30 questionnaire found significant improvements in ‘Emotional Functioning’ and ‘Insomnia’ (P≤0.01 and P≤0.01).  An improvement was also found in the ‘Social Eating’ (P≤0.01) and ‘Teeth’ (P≤0.01) domains of the EORTC HN35 questionnaire.  These beneficial outcomes might in part be explained by the social environment of being in a specific treatment group with similar patients.  However, SF-36 found significant decline in ‘Social Functioning’ (P≤0.01).  The patient group in this study did not undergo any surgical intervention between the two time points and no other interventions could be connected with the improvements, particularly in relation to ‘teeth’.  In addition, clinical follow up confirmed stabilisation of the patient clinical conditions.

Conclusion: The findings of this study support the hypothesis that HBO2 has positive physiological and psychological impact on a number of factors for this patient group.

Psychology in the Pub – Bristol

At the start of the year (2012) the SouthWest Branch of the British Psychology Society created the first of several local hubs conceptualised to facilitate meeting and improved communication between the regions psychologists.  The initial hub was in Bristol, with others to follow in Exeter, Plymouth, Truro and the Channel Isles. The meetings at each of the hubs follows the popular ‘Psychology in the Pub’ format consisting of a short talk from a guest speaker/s, followed by an opportunity to network with other local Psychologists.

The introductory session was in January– and saw Jo Maddocks, Founder and Product Director of JCA Occupational Psychologists, speak on the topic of ‘Emotional Intelligence in the workplace – a heavily requested topic and one that is relevant to a range of Psychological disciplines’.  This was given to an audience of more than 75 local psychologists and interested individuals and was a well received start to the societies initiative.

March was the first meeting to be held at the now established ‘first Wednesday’ of the month.  Dave Alcock took the reins for this talk. He explored a range of experiences/issues encountered whilst working with elite athletes across a range of settings but primarily working in rugby union and rugby league. Whilst the contexts were fairly specialised, the issues addressed cut across applied sport psychology, and as such were of interest to all those involved in elite sport, those wanting to begin work in the elite domain, or those who are simply interested in working in challenging environments. Issues such as the applied sport psychologist as moral arbiter, Pavlov’s bell, water boy, therapist, “ideal” parent, discriminative stimulus, and work with clinical & sub-clinical issues were all addressed. Dave went on to explore the challenges and rewards of applied sport psychology work and brought to life using a range of Dave’s experiences in the field (sometimes literally “in the field”!).

In April – Rob Briner talked on ‘The psychological contract at work: Understanding the real deal between employer and employee.’  What do people want to give at work and what do they want to get back? What are the implicit promises employees feel their employer has made to them? What happens when promises are broken and when promises are fulfilled? How can each party renegotiate the deal? The idea of an implicit or psychological contract has emerged as one key way of answering such questions and also a way of thinking about a whole range of employee feelings and behaviours including motivation, ‘engagement’, withdrawal of effort, justice, commitment, absence and quitting. This presentation will review the history of the psychological contract idea, its main features, how it has been used to explain employee behaviour, the evidence for its effects and what organisations and employees can do, if anything, to manage it.

May bought a presentation from – Patrick Jordan ‘How to be happy: What is happiness, who is happy and why and what we can all do to bring more happiness into our lives’.  Looking at the area of happiness, this talk was based on the findings of positive psychology – an area of psychology which uses rigorous scientific methodology and analysis in order to investigate success, happiness and fulfillment. Findings about happiness were summarised and techniques described which can be used to increase levels of happiness.

The Bristol hub seems to have found its feet with at least 50 people attending each meeting and talk at Toto’s wine bar and it sounds like another good turn out is likely in June.  But before then there is the inaugural meeting in Exeter.

The Exeter hub is on the 30th May at the Mill on the Exe.  Dr Craig Knight from the Peninsula Medical School will talk on ‘The modern office: Cleverly designed space or a psychological bear trap?’.  Asking, how does your office affect your well-being? How does the freedom you have over your working environment impact your productivity? And does working in a clean, sparsely decorated, flexible office improve your effectiveness or compromise the business as a whole?

I hope that everyone who has attend an event to date has enjoyed it and that many more of your will come and try the events out for size.  Additioanlly if anyone wants to give a presentation, has a topic they would like to hear about, or want to let the committee know about anything else why not drop one of them a line http://southwest.bps.org.uk/southwest/meet-the-committee/meet-the-committee_home.cfm

 

Southwest Undergraduate Psychology Conference 2012

It was a glorious sunny day in Plymouth for the 2012 South West Undergraduate Psychology Conference.  The day took place in the Portland Square Building split between the three lecture theatres and the large open plan atrium called the Peninsula Arts Cube3 Gallery.  The conference is an opportunity for the regional universities, students and their lecturers to share experiences, research, discuss ideas, feedback and network with each other and particularly with practising psychologists.

Registration (programme_2012 and abstracts_2012) was in the Cube3 Gallery where the attendees could view Peter Fitzpatrick’s exhibit ‘Latitude 79 Degrees 5 Minutes South 11 Miles’ , and visit me on the BPS stand to find out about the Society.  All five universities from the region were represented, with people travelling up to 3 hours by train, coach, car and foot.  With the hundred or so delegates signed in, and with programmes in hand, the three streams of lectures commenced.

Forty-Two undergraduates delivered talks on topics ranging from the effect of biodiversity in exhibits effecting viewing time, to self perception of appearance in weight trainers.  The format was a standard academic style with the presenters briefed to talk for ten minuets and then the audience were given 5 minuets to ask questions.  The full range of presentation styles was demonstrated including slick delivery of the ‘by the book’ academic talk, through interactive group presentations, to a more free-form approach.  All included professional audio visuals, representing the thousands of hours of work undertaken by the presenters for their final year projects.

In addition to the talks, twenty-nine posters were on display throughout the day, with their authors ready, willing and able to answer questions from the other delegate over the lunch hour.  As with the presentations, the posters showed the spread of potential approaches with institutional templates following standard academic formats to individualistic representations with drawings and photographs from study participants.

The day was drawn to an end with the Keynote lecture, introduced by conference organiser Dr Bill Simpson, Prof Chris Mitchell gave a stimulating and amusing lecture entitles ‘Why Cognitive Psychology?’  I personally particularly enjoyed his dance representing the movement of E.coli from low to high glucose states.

The last formal aspect of the day was the presentation of the prizes.  Sponsored by the British Psychological Society South West Branch, Dr Simpson announced prizes of book tokens for winners and runners-up in categories of Best Presentation and Best Poster. The winners were;

–        Best Presentation; Katherine Wood (University of Bath, Theory of Mind and Anxiety: Their relationship in children and adolescents with autism)

–        Second Prize went to Thomas Davis (University of Bristol, Aggregation of Protean Prey Escape: Countershading confuses a predator’s visual tracking during attack)

–        Best Poster; James Nagata (University of Bristol, Strategies to overcome the neural and attentional demands of multiple object tracking)

–        Second Prize went to Jodie Nicholls (University of Plymouth, Dectection of abnormalities in synthetic mammogram backgrounds)

The day was rounded off with a final opportunity to congratulate all the attendees and do more networking.  This time with a glass of wine and the happy laid back feeling that comes with the final release of pressure felt after completing a good day’s work.  The day was a great demonstration of the vibrancy in psychology and the talent of the up and coming practitioners.  As a member of that community I hope that all the presenters got as much from the day as I did.

Pitching for Management

This is a great series of UK events offering fast-growth companies the chance to find senior executives and non-executives to help their company proceed to its next stage of growth. It’s a testament to the local entrepreneurship community that the first “Pitching for Management” event outside London, was in Bristol!

At each event, 6 companies present their businesses and the roles available to a room of highly talented individuals ranging from sales, marketing and finance board positions to mentorships, chair, CEO and non-executive director positions.

Join the hundreds of businesses have already presented at these events and have employed talented individuals as a result. Click here to read a great case study from a recent pitching company.

Get in touch with the AngelNews team today to discuss why presenting at “Pitching for Management” could revolutionise your business… Contact Sarah Abrahams at sarah@angelnews.co.uk or call 07916 340 009

For more information visit www.pitching4management.com or book online at http://pitchingformanagementbristol5.eventbrite.com/

3 Top tips for Start-ups

I was invited to join  John Darvall on his BBC Radio Bristol show to discuss if this was a good time to start a new business? Of course it is, but then I’m an optimist like most entrepreneurs!

After a bit of banter about starting up a new business, he asked me for 3 Top Tips, we sort of skated over them so I thought I’d repeat them here and extend a bit on the chat on-air.

Talk to someone!

By tychay Terry Chay

There are lots of people out there that want your business to success, more than want it to fail! Locally we’ve got the excellent BRAVE organisation that provide clear, simple advise to anyone thinking of starting their own business. Most cities will have their equivalents.

There are also loads, and loads, of business networkings and networking events. People do business with people (mostly), so get along to a couple and talk to other small business owners and company founders. It’ll help you understand the realities of being your own boss, as well as the perks.

There are also some great online resources like Start-up Donut and of course BusinessLink (though this will soon be a web repository of guidance notes).

You can also track down the many start-up schools, incubator facilities, seed-camps, etc that are all trying to assist you towards a successful business.

Strategic Intent

I’m not sure I quite got the right message over on-air about this. If, after talking to some impartial people, you are still passionate about starting a business, then sit down and work out why you want to be in business.

By Danielle Page

Are you looking to develop a nice little company that will keep you busy for 6 months a year leaving the rest of the time for skiing? Or are you looking to transform your industry? Or are you looking to build sufficient value to exit at £20m in 5 years with a minimum of 50% equity and no earn-out? Or are you looking to build a company that will grow ahead of inflation and still be here in 30 years time?

What is your strategic intent?

The other side to strategic intent is your risk profile. Are you willing to bet everything on one idea, or are you more cautious?

How risky can you afford to be? Work out how much money you have (redundancy payouts, savings, mortgage, etc), then work out how much you need each month to live and how you can minimise this (you don’t need to live in the dark eating value baked beans, but champagne & oysters are probably off the menu), then work out how long your money will last.

That should give you some idea on how risky your position is, and how quickly your business needs to be a success.

Plan your business

This is critical. You don’t need a 200 page, glossy book, but equally you need to be able to describe your business and what you’re trying to achive.

Describe your strategic intent (Mission, Vision, etc). If you don’t know why you’re in business, why should anyone care?

Describe your product / service. This is important but actually, less so than most people think. Is there any unique intellectual property (IP) that can be protected? Do you actually know how your going to make, store, distribute your product to markets? If its a service, what is it and what additional support do you need to deliver it?

Who are you going to sell to and why should they buy from you. Who is your market, where are they, what do they like, what don’t they like, why do you and your idea fill a burning need in their lives or businesses? Market Segmentation, this is good, do it.

Who else is out there? Just about any idea will have some competition. Either directly from other companies offering the same or similar solutions. If you have a one in a million idea, there are around 1,300 people with the same idea in China, 1,200 in India, 500 across the EU, and 300 in the USA. Of course they won’t all be thinking of launching a business, but one of those 3,300 people might.

Cashflow forecasting. Cash flow is king for a small business. You won’t be able to produce a detailed financial model of your business before it’s even trading, but you need to have some idea of the basic cash flow through the business and where your break even point is. What’s your burn rate (monthly cash spend) and runway (how long before you’ve spent all your savings)?

My reply about the Apprentice was wrong, their business plans weren’t rubbish because they didn’t have good advice; they were rubbish because they didn’t listen to that advice!

<Disclosure: I was introduced as being from the University of the West of England iNET (Innovation Networks) which is true, but I’m also on holiday and the original link was via here so link-love all round.>

How to be more innovative

symphony
symphony by paul (dex), on Flickr

Innovation is generally held to be a “good thing”. Companies that are innovative or that produce innovative products are lauded with praise, awards, not to mention investment funding. Innovative individuals are highly sought after and richly rewarded.

So how can we be more innovative, in our personal and corporate lives?

  • Find new ideas

Most of the good ideas are already out there, you just need to find them. Some of them are protected & that’s fine, respect that. But may more aren’t, so use them.

An important concept here is that of being a “boundary spanner”, of having eclectic interests. Research has shown that in looking for innovative solutions, individuals that had weak ties to many different disciplines were more effective than those that were tightly bound to a single one.

  • Assimilate those ideas

No not the Borg, but you need to be able integrate any new information with what you already know. There’s no point reading the latest article in hyperbolic geometry, if you failed Maths 101. This is the foundation of constructivist learning models (but that’s for another post).

The important thing is to be able to relate the new knowledge you’ve acquired to that which you already know in some way. This may sound like a contradiction to being eclectic, but it’s not. Remember, you’re not looking to be a global expert in the new topic but you do need to understand enough to be able to address your challenge.

  • New solutions

After all, the name of the game is innovation, so we’re looking to adapt our newly assimilated knowledge to produce a new product or service. Many of the most innovative products in recent times haven’t been ground breaking in their fundamental technology, but they have combined and adapted technologies in highly innovative ways.

Think iPhone, Toyta Prius, Facebook, etc.

Remember, innovation is different to invention.

  • Show me the money

This doesn’t necessarily mean a Dickensian, Mr Burns kind of exploitation. But you need to translate your new solution into a business proposition, otherwise it’ll remain an idea.

Note: While the points above are in a list (because that’s the easiest way of presenting them in a blog) they are not sequential and linear. It’s also worth noting that most innovation is a team sport, so make sure that within your team you have people that can find new ideas, bring them within your group, use them to solve problems and then commercialise those solutions.

Further Reading

The above ideas are collectively understood as “Absorptive Capacity” and have been applied to individuals, teams, divisions, companies and whole regions. A good place to start is wikipedia (as always) and follow the trail from there. The key academic texts are the original article by Cohen & Levinthal (1990) & the expanded theory from Zahra & George (2002).

  • Cohen, Wesley M; Levinthal, Daniel A, (1990), “Absorptive capacity: A new perspective on learning and innovation”, Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol 35, Issue 1, pg 128-152
  • Zahra, Shaker A; George, Gerard, (2002), “Absorptive Capacity: A Review,Reconceptualization,and Extention”, Academy of Management Review, Vol 27, Issue 2, pg 185-203

The comments about weak network ties come largely from Tushman (1977) and developed by Hansen (1999). The background Wikipedia article on interpersonal ties is here.

  • Morten, Hansen, (1999), “The Search-Transfer Problem: The Role of Weak Ties in Sharing Knowledge across Organization Subunits”, Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol 44, Issue 1, pg 82-111
  • Tushman, Michael L, (1977), “Special Boundary Roles in the Innovation Process”, Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol 22, Issue 4, pg 587-605

This is a different style of post to previous ones I’ve written. I’d be very grateful for comments on areas that need expanding / simplifying or just explained in a different way.  I hope to be writing more articles along similar lines as my current work with the iNETs is bringing all of this into sharp focus (if only from an academic research perspective).

Thanks

John

New profile photo

I normally don’t get too excited about photos of me, but when you’re thinking of changing your online image it’s quite a big deal.

Out with the old

I really like the image I’ve been using for the last 3 and a bit years, it was taken on holiday so is a bit relaxed but sufficiently smart to be used in a business context as well. Had I been thinking about using it as a portrait (which I obviously wasn’t) I would have made a couple of changes. The main change would have been to my glasses. They weren’t sunglasses but my normal ones go dark in sunlight, we were on the North Devon coast so there wasn’t much sun but evidently enough. I’d also get rid of the rucksack and probably pick a better background, etc, etc, etc.

However, I was generally very happy with that image, which is why I didn’t change it (other than the occasional twibbon).

In with the new

Then I took part in Ignite Bristol last October and was photographed by the excellent Simon Skies. To be honest, when the photos didn’t come out at the same time as the video went live (nearly 700 views and counting, and on the video wall for Ignite Phoenix as part of Global Ignite Week), I kind of forgot.

Simon now has the full slide show of shots from Ignite Bristol 3 up and while I’m still not sufficiently narcissistic to enjoy looking at photos of myself,  its a great shot and with Simon’s kind permission I’ll be using it around the web in future.