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Posts Tagged ‘Lorraine Warren’

Safer Internet Day and beyond means serious fun with identity and privacy

February 9th, 2010

Safer Internet Day 2010 has again raised awareness of safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially among children and young people globally.

Insafe launched a pan-European quiz on 1st February, for 5-11 and 12-15 year-olds, open to individuals or school classes who compete with the objective of becoming increasingly aware of their role in protecting themselves and others online. An online SID Fair will also showcase participating organizations across the world, and schools are invited to register the events they will be running to mark the day.

SID’s “Think before you post” campaign asks not only young people but also challenges every digital citizen to examine how we deal with identity and privacy in digital environments. It’s a subject that academic colleagues Lorraine Warren and Kieron O’Hara have looked at in some detail.

There’s still a long road before we have constructed a theory and research methodology so Lorraine and Kieron’s early work is extremely valuable in mapping out the terrain.

Lorraine sets up the challenge and the goal really nicely in her recent posts; she argues for more detailed understanding of identity and its consequent effects on our view of online privacy. How, when and where we construct selves online has meaning for how we responsibly manage privacy.

As she says: “The challenge for today’s researchers is to take that thinking forward, and also create new ways of thinking about identity, how it is constructed and performed, not only in  Web 2 world, but looking  forward into a web 3 world too.  In doing so, we can make a useful contribution to the debate on privacy – because identity is the nexus between the individual and society, and where so many of the debates are played out.”

Her views are amplified in a post on privacy and identity in the digital age that deals with separation of multiple online identities

Dr Warren’s University of Southampton colleague Kieron O’Hara, also draws out a few pathfinder ideas in recent papers on the limits of the person, privacy and empowerment which are worth reading in detail( and

Out of all these early discussions, we can build a coherent picture that helps us focus on how we understand and engage online; what’s really valuable and worth protecting.

And, as Venessa Miemis argues in her EmergentbyDesign blogpost, as social networks expand they force us to reassess the nature and value of privacy and identity. At the same time, they also engineer an effect that changes relationships and responsibilities. This drives people to position their personal reputation in terms of the value it has to the networks to which they are connected. This echoes Dr O’Hara’s ideas around privacy as a public good and that is an area where open discussion and detailed research would make a positive contribution to our understanding of what we are online.

The debate continues and the Privacy and Identity panel, postponed postponed in January because of ‘snow on the mind’, has now been rearranged for Tuesday 23rd March at The Royal Society in London.

Details of the event are here

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10 professional things you can’t do with an Apple iPad

January 28th, 2010

Here are ten professional things you simply cannot do with an iPad:
  1. Edit film
  2. Edit images
  3. Create 3D models
  4. Create vector illustrations
  5. Create/edit mocap
  6. Compose/notate/edit music
  7. Create animated cartoons
  8. Design/edit publications
  9. Create and file corporate accounts
  10. Create/execute strategic PR plan for new “magical” device.

There’s plenty you can’t do professionally with an iPad – as detractors have been pointing out since its launch. But that’s maybe missing the point of its creation.

Steve Jobs made no apologies for declaring Apple as the company at the “intersection between technology and the liberal arts”. He’s right – no other company has done as much and with the best intentions in the generalised intellectual field.

That’s why the list emphasises “professional”. Of course, Apple does provide elegant solutions for all those expert tasks and it’s exactly why the iPad does not. It is not competing in the professional desktop or laptop markets. It’s competing in a newer space. It did not invent the pad/slate/tablet market. But it sure as hell has taken that market out of Death Niche Valley.

Other companies, like Hewlett Packard, will be launching their versions this year – I’d bet that none will be as desirable as the iPad. Why? Because Apple not only understands the power of good design, it also understands “market” for liberal arts/education better than anyone else.

The debate on whether the launch of the iPad was handled successfully goes on and Clark Turner, editor of UTalkMarketing has been helping to focus that (disclosure – there’s a contribution from me!) What is beyond serious debate is that Steve Jobs and his team have created a product that will sell in multiples of millions into a new group of customers, as well as Apple die-hards and iPhone/iPod converts.

The iPad is about three things: connectivity, distribution, exchange. It wi-fi is lightning fast (3G is a wait-and-see) so users are up, online and networking without so much as a single slow handclap.

This easy connectivity is a boon for publishers of newspapers, magazines, books, film and music. The digital distribution network just got very large indeed.

Online, iPad users can exchange, share and learn. Education, in its generalised, liberal sense, has also expanded its horizons and my colleague Lorraine Warren nails the reasons elegantly on her blog.

The iPad will appeal to a wide demographic – I can’t wait for the ads (toddlers, grannies, teens, mums and dads, mums and mums, dads and dads, singles, in-betweenies, grumpy old men…)

I know it’s an old Apple term but the iPad is “insanely great”, as much for what it does not do, as for what it does.

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Universities funding cuts a key moment in management of UK decline

December 24th, 2009

Guest blogger Lorraine Warren, who is Director of Postgraduate Education and senior lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the School of Management at the University of Southampton, argues that the Government’s announcement of big cuts in university funding could damage the economy irreversibly

Yesterday’s announcement of spending cuts to universities has aroused widespread concern  with talk of two-year degrees and increased financial strictures on prospective students.

Like Nigel Thrift, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Warwick, I too find a £553M cut to universities a “considerable blow to a sector that is central to economic recovery.”

More than that, I would argue that Mandelson’s attack on universities is a seminal moment for the UK. Right now, there has never been a greater need for universities to play a vital part in taking hold of the Knowledge Economy and driving it forward on the international stage.

Instead, our political leaders seem hell bent on policies of attrition that seem to be driven only by a vision of managing decline. If we don’t reverse these policies, this attack on our skills base will in time be seen as one of the key milestones in the irreversible decline in the status of UK universities worldwide.

As an example, let’s take the kite-flying over two-year degrees. Yes of course it is possible to develop rich two-year learning experiences that cram a lot of contact hours and self-directed learning into two years and for some individuals in the short-term that might seem like a useful way forward. But what is lost?

For students, there is the lost opportunity to reflect on, connect and develop ideas over time, rather than hurtling through superficial assessment of concepts at breakneck speed. There is the lost opportunity to explore other interests and possibilities in life.

So what? Well, from a work point of view, it is here that the foundations of social networks are created that will be essential in developing so-called ‘portfolio careers’ throughout life.

Further, is all our learning to be entirely functional, geared to a credits audit machine? What an impoverished view of the future we are presenting for upcoming generations. For academic staff, there will be the lost space to develop new thinking, new ideas, new connections and new knowledge, as evenings, weekends and (current) student vacation periods fill up with the management and assessment of learning.

Finally, in the globalised world of the 21st century, we cannot afford just to look inwardly. We have to think about how two-year degrees will be seen in the wider world. How will they be perceived by universities and employers overseas – are we in effect confining students to a restricted future with our ‘bargain basement’ approach? That would be a betrayal indeed.

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Mandelson vision for active partnerships positive but universities’ role is still to challenge ideas

November 16th, 2009

Lorraine WarrenGuest blogger Lorraine Warren, who is Director of Postgraduate Education and senior lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the School of Management at the University of Southampton, on the latest Government initiative for higher education and industry

Peter Mandelson’s recent ‘Higher Ambitions’ report calls for businesses to be active partners with universities and not passive customers (point 7, page 16, This is something that I would endorse strongly, having been a proponent of action research in industry contexts for many years.

My research has benefitted enormously from a range of industry connections, including interventions to set new organisational strategies, Teaching Company Schemes (now redesigned as Knowledge Transfer Partnerships) and latterly, looser internet connections that keep tabs on what leading-edge companies are doing, or planning to do, in the Digital Economy, my current area of interest.

The benefits have been mutual: organisations have benefitted from unfamiliar ways of thinking, or new knowledge; similarly my knowledge has advanced through contact with industry and reflections thereon have led to publications that were richer than they might otherwise have been.

To me, management is an applied discipline. In all of the partnerships in which I’ve been involved, formal and informal, there has been mutual respect, as all the parties concerned had opted in around a set of mutually agreed objectives. My teaching has benefitted too, with student placements and projects enriching the learning experience and further ongoing connections.

But it isn’t all plain sailing. Back in the 1990s, I was involved with introducing a variety of holistic, consultative methods into the workplace as part of the process of new strategy design.

One organisation I worked with had a culture and tradition that was based on hierarchy and they found the approaches quite challenging at times and eventually they only accepted about three quarters of our recommendations.

As I recall, there was a fair bit of pressure at the time to come up with the ‘right’ answer from a managerial point of view, which presented a values clash that took some time to resolve.

Again with student projects, it isn’t always straightforward, as I can’t always match a student to any project – academic projects tend to start at a given time of the year and must last for a specific amount of time to support the student’s progress through their course, which may not meet the needs of the organisation concerned.

So, while I remain a strong supporter of greater industry involvement, we shouldn’t lose sight of the idea that the role of the university in society is not only to reflect industry needs, but also at times to challenge them and to stimulate new ways of thinking that may be geared more to the needs of society as a whole than to business per se. This may not always be popular, particularly in the short term. Universities also enrich society through developing new areas of research where the horizons are long term and the business benefits are uncertain may not be realisable in industry timescales, if at all. Of course, some subjects, such as Classics, may be valuable in developing a particular kind of trained mind that certainly enriches the mix, but may not be seen as having direct business impact.

Another concern is, of course, resourcing. Industry projects, teaching or research, tend to be seen solely at the ‘output’ side, at the project coal-face where the work is carried out. A great deal of ‘invisible’ work goes in to get a student, or a research area up to speed enough to be ready for an industry connection — the background knowledge work, estate overheads, networking, marketing, teaching, course administration, writing and reflection.

It will be interesting to see how industry responds to costing models that reflect that fully!

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Social media drives Philippines charity awareness

October 27th, 2009

Lorraine Warren: Twitter\'s charity powerGuest blogger Lorraine Warren, who is Director of Postgraduate Education and senior lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the School of Management at the University of Southampton, on Twitter power for good causes.

It’s fantastic to see that Jane Walker from Southampton, who founded the Philippine Community Fund in 1996 has recently been honoured at the 54th annual Women of the Year Lunch in London. In short, the PCF helps families scraping a living on dump sites in the poorest slums of Manila, including the notorious Smokey Mountain.

They take an holistic approach, providing education, food, healthcare and skills training to whole families, not just children. They are also innovators, for example building a school from 72 recycled shipping containers, due to open next June.

PCF: helping the Philppine poorest

I became aware of the PCF almost by accident when I arrived in Southampton five years ago, through a chance reading of a newspaper article. It was the right time for me to sponsor a child. I was doing so well and I wanted some of that affluence to benefit someone with much less – and it cost so little, only £18 a month today. So began my relationship with Leonelyn.

For me, PCF’s achievements are writ large across the noticeboard in my office. The little girl I began sponsoring five years ago has changed so much. The first pictures I had of Leonelyn show a pretty little girl in a smart little blue school dress – but she looked so sad and shy.

Nowadays, I see pictures of her smiling and laughing, sometimes with her mother (and new baby brother), sometimes in school, dressed up at special events. Her letters brighten my wall too, multicoloured and getting better with every passing year.

Watch Jane Walker on news video:

Most people in Southampton will learn of Jane’s award, and indeed all the hard work she and her team have put into building PCF, through the local Daily Echo. As a sponsor I had already heard the story, but I was pleased to see it go out on Twitter as @dailyecho has 1358 followers including me. And what a great chance for social media to amplify the message!

The immediate RTs from me (as @doclorraine) and @timsgreenhalgh immediately got the message out to about another 1000 people. PCF could certainly do with any help that’s out there – the recent heavy rains have made conditions on the dumps even worse than usual. Now, I’m hoping that this blog post will send round another wave of interest.

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Digital natives may still lack much-needed skills

September 4th, 2009

Guest blogger Lorraine Warren, who is Director of Postgraduate Education and senior lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the School of Management at the University of Southampton, on the three types of ‘digital native’.

Lorraine Warren

As my colleague Lisa Harris points out in a recent post, there is quite a bit of evidence against the existence of the ‘digital native’ student, that is, someone who has grown up with the technology and uses it proficiently and naturally.  ["How competent are new students with technology (really)",].

In our experience, many students are actually quite weak in technology skills and reluctant to engage in new learning styles based around social media.  Worryingly, they sometimes think they are proficient when their skills are actually quite basic.  If that is so, what needs to be done?  My own recent blogpost, ["Digital Skills – Raising Aspirations?",] identifies three levels of ability:

  • Passives – adept at using technology for basic communication and accessing information – they consume the outputs of others
  • Creators – network more actively, create and upload material, yet largely within their own circle of friends
  • Disruptors – maintain a strong online personal identity, download applications, use social media to develop connections outside their sphere of existing influence.

My experience suggests, in terms of numbers, a pyramid, where most students are passives, with only a few aspiring to be disruptors:

Student power pyramid: Three types of digital native

What’s more, those in the passive category may mistakenly consider themselves to be quite skilled.  If our students are going to impress employers, we need to challenge this firstly, by enabling them to have a more realistic appraisal of their skillsets and secondly, raising their aspirations to become Creators or Disruptors.  Such students will stand out from the crowd in a difficult employment market.

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Students can use social media to give themselves an edge in the job market

July 16th, 2009

A warm welcome back to guest blogger and academic Lorraine Warren, who is Director of Postgraduate Education and senior lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the School of Management at the University of Southampton

Lorraine Warren

It looks like students are going to be facing a difficult time in the job market as the financial downturn continues to take its toll on graduate job vacancies and training programmes. Although the majority of my students graduating this year have fared quite well, those coming through behind them are growing anxious about their chances in an increasingly competitive market.

Some of them feel very challenged by the new business environment; this is hardly unexpected given that they have not seen economic conditions like this during their lifetime.  Since the early 1990s, by and large, they have only experienced economic growth.  Some of them are starting to realise that the old strategies for getting good employment may not be enough.

In the past, it has never really been the case that being awarded a good degree would inevitably lead to a good job.  For a long time, employers have looked for other attributes and activities that convince them that their prospective employee is a rounded person, not narrowly focussed on academic activity alone – that they are capable of working in teams, collaborating and participating in social networks.  Students have long recognised this and flag up their sporting achievements or society leaderships in job applications.  So what more can be done?

Students know that many employers examine the online presence of job applicants, checking them out using Google and trawling social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Bebo.  They can see this as a negative process where an embarrassing photo from years ago might be held against them.  And in some cases that is so!  This can put students off participating in social media, which is unfortunate, because it could be the very thing they need to set them apart from the crowd.

Instead of shying away from online presence, students should, as a bare minimum, have a well-managed online identity that says a lot about their professional potential.  A well-designed blog or Facebook site that is rigorously maintained is a good start.  But there’s more to it than that. The real power of social media can be seen when it is used not just to join or maintain existing networks, but instead when it is used to create new value.

Students need to be proactive, using social networking sites to rapidly build new networks with high quality connections in organisations or industries they might want to enter.  They need to use sites such as Twitter to take advantage of breaking news and current issues to create energy and develop activities in real time: build up a project, set up a charity venture, connect with others on-line who have similar interests, as things are actually happening.

In doing so, they can build up a buzz about themselves, and generate a community of interest in who they are and what they are doing.  In showing that they are agile and ahead of the curve, they might create a compelling case for someone to create an opening for them, or make that all-important phone call or connection.

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I’ll follow who I like on Twitter, thanks!

May 13th, 2009

Our guest academic, Lorraine Warren follows up a post earlier this week on her Twitter journey. This is Dr Warren’s fourth post for us and we hope the conversation continues! Dr Warren is Director of Postgraduate Education and senior lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the School of Management at the University of Southampton.

In an  earlier post I commented that a really important feature of Twitter for me is that I can see debates and conflicts taking place that show different points of view evolving in the field.

Of course, a series of exchanges in 140 characters and a cluster of links are unlikely to give the full picture – these are fast-moving, conversational interchanges that indicate where tensions lie, rather than fully-fledged rational arguments.  Yet for me, this is invaluable in sensing what’s going on, what issues are important to people and where the next questions that shape my research might lie.

Inevitably, sometimes useful interchanges arising from different, but quite legitimate, points of view degenerate into personal feuds and name-calling, but that’s part of life generally, and like at a conference, or party, you can either walk away, join in, or maybe say ‘hey, folks….’ if it starts to get too nasty!

I saw an instance of this last month in my Twitterstream.  As I only followed one of the parties involved, I didn’t really understand what was going on at first, but I could see that a technology correspondent, @YYY, from one of the mainstream UK papers had posted something on his blog about a writer, @ZZZ that others found offensive.

This didn’t surprise me, as I have seen @YYY post some controversial stuff in the past, perhaps reflecting more right-wing views than my other connections are comfortable with.  By the time I looked, the post seemed to have been taken down, so I was on the point of forgetting about it, when I received a Direct Message (DM) in my email from a third party, @XXX who appears very popular and well-respected in the social media space: “why do you follow @YYY..? this is a slanderous pop at @ZZZ”.

A link to a jpg file of the now-vanished blog was included, that turned out to be a short piece of childish name-calling, referring to an ongoing dialogue indicating bad blood between the two.  Looking at the Twitter interchange between @YYY and @ZZZ, it seemed like they were both standing up for themselves quite well without any help needed from me.  So, I responded by DM to @XXX that overall, it was important for me to see a mix of views, and in this case, perhaps the hue and cry that had gone on had contributed to the piece being withdrawn, surely a good thing. 

That was on April 27, and I haven’t heard from @XXX again, although I have had quite a few pleasant interchanges with him in the past both in the Twitterstream and by DM.

@XXX’s intervention raised some interesting issues about the norms and values set within and by the Twitter community.  Did the message mean that I should explain myself for following @YYY, perhaps engage with the debate publicly (though it was nothing to do with me, and was by then, it seemed, over) or stop following @YYY?

Further, how I had been identified so quickly as a follower of @YYY, as I’d never interacted with him on Twitter except as a follower.  Why was I being singled out? Why was @XXX taking on this role?  It would be silly to over-interpret one DM, and I decided to let sleeping dogs lie.

Following doesn’t mean complicity or agreement, and if a tweet bothers me, I’ll deal with the author direct.  It’s hard to see how Twitter will grow, and whether antagonistic factions and clusters will emerge.  I hope not!

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Who should I follow on Twitter?

May 11th, 2009


A welcome return for our guest academic, Lorraine Warren. This Dr Warren’s third post and we look forward to more! Dr Warren is Director of Postgraduate Education and senior lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the School of Management at the University of Southampton.



As a Twitter enthusiast, people often ask me how I got going, how did I ‘know’ who to follow, to make it worthwhile spending time in this space.  Of course, they hope to repeat my strategies, to make Twitter as valuable to them, as it has become to me.  In some ways it’s a difficult question to answer.

If I look at what I actually did, it was an unplanned, serendipitous acquisition of around 350 people through a variety of processes and techniques, mainly follow-backs, recommendations from colleagues at work, and some simple detective work around who the people I liked were following.

 Sometimes the real and virtual worlds crossed over, as there is a social side to Twitter too.  I met (and now follow) the Liberate Media guys through Twestival, a Twitter-generated meet-up that took place in Brighton, one of many spin-off social gatherings.  

Interestingly, I’ve never used the Search facility in Twitter to look for people, as keyword search seems a little bit mechanical to me.

Looking back though, there are some themes that have guided my selections.  As an academic with research interests in innovation, particularly in the digital/creative industries, I need to be able to look ahead at what thought leaders and key influencers in this fast-changing and dynamic field are doing.

I use Twitter to check out the periphery, to see what people in the industry are working on, which way the wind is blowing and what current debates are setting the agenda.  Obviously, I follow practitioners and consultants in the industry (both creative industries and systems developers), mainly in the UK, but in Europe and the US too.

I also follow journalists, especially technical correspondents in quality newspapers, some Silicon Valley pundits, and a smattering of MPs.  A key aspect is that I also follow people who disagree with me (and each other) – for me this is about the debates, tensions and conflicts that drive change, challenging my views, sometimes reinforcing them, and sometimes changing them too.

Twitter really has added value for me, and I cannot think of any other way in which I could keep current so effectively.  And I guess I must add value for others in return, as I have a high proportion of mutual relationships.  Of course, I also follow fellow academics working in the social media space, and as a result of initial Twitter contacts, am currently working on two conference papers and a book chapter with a cluster of people at Birmingham City and Huddersfield universities whom I’ve never even met.

For me this organic process has been really enjoyable, I like the uncertainty of never knowing what or who might beam in next, and I can see that with some slightly different decisions, my trajectory could well have been quite different.

I am aware though that some people find this uncertainty a bit of a challenge in the early stages, and in some cases leave early without having found anything interesting or that adds value, as they are unable to find what they want.

I expect as Twitter matures, it may well become more and more structured as groups form, and also better understood, with a variety of applications generating information about the user base.

Certainly, that will make entry less daunting, and more accessible and inclusive; but it would be a shame if the spontaneous connections that make Twitter so exciting became less significant.  For me, that was the fun part!

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Creative research into the digital economy

March 23rd, 2009

This is the second of, we hope, many posts from our guest academic, Lorraine Warren. Dr Warren is Director of Postgraduate Education and senior lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the School of Management at the University of Southampton.

I’ve just participated in the final meeting of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s cluster project, New Research Processes and Business Models for the Creative Industries.  The idea behind this cluster, headed up by the Mixed Reality Lab at Nottingham University, was to bring together interdisciplinary teams to work together across boundaries to deal with the opportunities – and of course the challenges – of the digital economy.

As a management researcher with an interest in technology, especially early-stage concept development, it’s been really exciting for me to work alongside artists, designers, performers and computer scientists to establish new links across the boundaries of different disciplines.

I did expect that some people might be suspicious of me at the start, thinking that perhaps I’d be more interested in the bottom line than the creative process, but I think they realised pretty early on that I am more interested in long-term value creation than short-term souvenir selling.  For me, this is only possible if the people involved, from whatever discipline, are able to develop their professional identity and maintain their integrity about what they do.

So, over the past six months, I’ve been working closely with colleagues in the cluster on practice-based pilot projects, learning whole new vocabularies about building interactive soundscapes and working with sound in real-time motion capture studios.  The question now is – what next?  These projects are crossing the boundaries between art and science, bringing new perspectives and producing some amazing work. 

Perhaps more importantly, new relationships based on trust and respect for different expertises have been established.  Yet while we are looking ahead to potential new business models, a leap to customer revenues is unlikely at this stage!  What we have achieved is a new combination of ideas and people that in the medium- to long-term could be developed in many directions as market opportunities arise in a fast-moving environment. 

If our ideas are to translate into some part of a robust digital economy, we need to be able to develop a trajectory – whatever our career path or discipline, we all need to demonstrate that once we have successfully carried out a small project, we’re ready for something bigger.  It’s not enough to develop horizontally and keep amassing a constellation of small projects that may or may not add up into something that makes sense one day.

We need to deepen and develop our pilot projects, build prototypes, build market relationships, keep working on new ideas.  This isn’t just the inevitable cry for more funding – the EPSRC’s Digital Economy initiative is ongoing – but let’s make sure we can maintain momentum on what we have already achieved. We have some great new groups now, but inevitably if we can’t find vehicles to work on together soon, this will erode, as people find other things to do.

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"I found a higher degree of contacts and enthusiasm and then something far more interesting. They listened, challenged and questioned with a focus and knowledge that I've never experienced before."