Digital Economy USRG


New Web Science Institute Blog

Avatar photoMay 12, 2014
by Lisa Harris

Since the start of 2014, we have migrated existing posts from this blog to the new Web Science Institute blog – please check this out for the latest content

The DE emailing list has also been re-titled WSI – its membership list is unchanged.

INSPIRE Conference II, 28 February, 2014

Avatar photoMarch 1, 2014
by Lorraine Warren

leicsOver 70 delegates were inspired by a vibrant conference which showcased the outcomes of the British Council and the Pakistan Higher Education Commission’s INSPIRE initiative, and set the direction for future partnerships. Talks by Professor Dr Mukhtar Ahmed (Executive Director of HEC), Peter Upton (Pakistan Director, British Council), Mr Balighur Rehman, Minister for Education and Training (Government of Pakistan) and Nishat Riaz (Director Education, British Council) spoke of the value of education and collaborative partnerships, emphasising the need for research to have social impact through knowledge exchange and transfer processes. Many longstanding connections were renewed, and new friendships forged in the spirit of can-do collaboration we have all come to expect from INSPIRE colleagues. The event also launched the upcoming Knowledge Economy Partnerships.

INSPIRE in Dubai

Avatar photoFebruary 11, 2014
by Lorraine Warren

inspirepcA productive and enjoyable time was had this week in Dubai at the INSPIRE International Research Conference. As well as presentations from scholars from IMSciences and other institutions in Pakistan, including IBA-Sukkur, COMSATS IIT-Attock, BahauddinZakariya University, Multan, Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore, the University of Lahore, Khushal Khan Khattak University, Karak and the University of Peshawar, participants enjoyed contributions from the UK side project members (Lorraine Warren and Mine Karatas-Ozkan), the British Council’s Mr Ismail Badat, Regional Head of KPK’s SMEDA, Mr Javed Iqbal, Dr Nasser Ali Khan, VC of the University of Haripur, Mrs Nabeela Farman of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Dr Muhammad Ali, Joint Director of IMSciences and IMSciences ORIC co-ordinator. Prizes were awarded as follows:

Best Paper award went jointly to Mr Attaullah Shah from IMSciences (Importance of judicial efficiency in capital structure decisions of small firms: evidence from judicial districts of Pakistan) and Dr Zia Obaid from the Universit of Peshawar (Social entrepreneurs in the post 9/11 world: ealigning networks for better trust).

Best upcoming resaercher award went to Mr Adnan Javed (Power dnamics of the institutional change process and organisational response)

Early lessons from the Web Science MOOC #FLwebsci 12.12.2013

12th December in 67/1001

12 – 2pm (talks begin promptly at 12.30pm)

A number of people involved in the Web Science MOOC (currently in week 4 of 6) will be reporting on what we have learned so far about running a course for over 13,000 participants. The event will be of interest to people currently running / planning to run MOOCs, and to people from the wider University community with a general interest in MOOCs and their possible implications for campus-based courses.

There will be several short informal presentations and opportunities to discuss emerging insights from the following data sources, that can feed into the development of future MOOCs:

• the Future Learn platform data which informs us about the activities of the MOOC population as a whole and the behaviour of key participants
• the Twitter and G+ community data (#FLwebsci)
• Participants’ reflections on their learning motivations and experiences so far in the Week 5 exercise
• the pre-course survey

More information here:

Staff and students welcome as always. Lunch provided.

#SXSC3 Speaker Profile: Alan Rae

Avatar photoNovember 13, 2013
by Lisa Harris

By Merel van Dijke

During the Creative Digifest #SXSC3, several experts will be giving talks and workshops surrounding the theme “value of digital start-ups”. One of these experts is Alan Rae, who will be giving a workshop in the second part of the day about building a business from scratch: How do you make your offer attractive? How do you get the site found? How do you make transactions and how do you fulfill?

The workshop is based on nearly 10 years’ involvement with Digital Business in the family horticultural business which successfully turns over nearly £3/4 million annually in plants, garden equipment and organic pest control. The session will give you some real insight into what is practicable for an independent operator to achieve.

alan rae

But who is Alan Rae? In his own words:

“Research – Structure – Present – Set to Music”

I guess I have been a digital pioneer since we set up our first IT company in 1981. I’ve lived through the change from an analogue to a digital world (when I went to University we used mechanical calculators in the labs!) through word processing, computer aided design, e-commerce and social media and mobile working. My career started as a market researcher and marketing manager for a heavy engineering company. I set up my first IT business in 1981 and have been helping businesses large and small implement IT related change ever since as a supplier, trainer, presenter and author. From 1996-2004 I ran the Executive Studio in West London which was a pioneering demonstration and training centre for the use of IT In e-commerce and mobile and flexible working. Since then I’ve been applying what we know about digital commerce to a family horticultural business (the DPhil IS in plant science after all) and to researching how small companies can use the internet in practice to make their businesses work better. Much of this work has been carried out with Lisa Harris.

I’ve created various training programmes for small business including 1 Man Brand and Punch Above Your Weight, and written books like “Growing Jobs” and “Social Media for Real Businesses”.

If you want to find out more about Alan’s work, check his Research findings at, practical help for small business at and his Sales and marketing materials at Also read his guest blogs for Brandwatch. You can also find him on twitter and LinkedIn

“What do you think is the biggest challenge in setting up an online business?”
Getting the delivery logistics right!

“What is your #1 tip for digital start-ups?”
Only sell things that people want to buy

Creative DigiFest and Dragon’s Den #SXSC3

Avatar photoOctober 23, 2013
by Lisa Harris

Tickets for this event are going fast, and new workshops are still being added to the agenda  – please see below for the latest information. Here’s a reminder of last year’s event

Date: 19.11.2013

Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm

Location: Mayflower Suite, De Vere Grand Harbour Hotel, Southampton

Registration: Please book your place here

Creating value from digital technologies

  • World leading speakers
  • Demonstrations of the latest technologies
  • Debate and discussion with digital experts
  • Free workshops and  networking sessions

Come along to our one day interactive conference to find out more about the pioneering interdisciplinary digital projects already underway at the University of Southampton.

See pitches for a business planning competition with prizes of 7K, 4K and 2.5K, sponsored by RCUK/NEMODE

After lunch explore your own areas of interest through workshops, demonstrations and one-to-one networking with experts in a wide range of digital technologies.


10.00am coffee and posters

Welcome and introductions supported by the Ladies of the Press and the Student Digital Champions

10.15am  Dragon’s Den: Competition pitches

11.15am Coffee and Tea Break

11.30am Talks from digital experts including Alan Patrick of Broadsight business and technology forecasting consultancy, Professor Sally Jane Norman, Director of the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts and Jeremy Caine, Complex Systems Integration, IBM

12.30pm Competition winners announcement

Google Hangout on Air organised by  Simon Morice and David Willox of  ICM Reporting

2pm Workshops talks and demos on new digital technologies and business model development, including Paul Walland from IT Innovation, Alan Rae, marketing and communications expert and Ben Mawson from 3DBare

Organised by the Centre for Strategic Innovation and the Digital Economy University Strategic Research Group.

Speakers include:


Addresses business modelling and business planning: the relationship between the two, and when you ‘start-up’? Business Modelling: value proposition; target customer segments; distribution channels; customer relationships; unique value add; core capabilities; partner network; cost structure; revenue model; business process modelling Business Planning: content; risk and mitigation; managing changes


Addresses new business models, and the challenge for brownfields: the world is mostly made up of existing enterprises (and their part of the economy), rather than greenfield start-ups, so “Digital Integration” is a challenging domain for today’s business, with many facets, including data ownership.


Digitisation and critical arts practices: Digital technologies have the value we choose to ascribe to and invest in them. As “early adopters” and often developers of many aspects of digital media, artists have played a large part in forging and questioning these values, and upholding the creative criticality on which productive social awareness depends. I shall draw on examples of art using digital technologies to feed discussion on current practices and contexts.


Setting up a digital business from scratch can be a daunting project.  How do you make your offer attractive? How do you get the site found? How do you make transactions and how do you fulfil?  This workshop covers these issues and will outline the pitfalls as well as offering some advice on how to make it work.  The workshop is based on nearly 10 years involvement with Digital Business in our Family Horticultural business which successfully turns over nearly £3/4 million annually in Plants, Garden equipment and organic pest control and will give you some real insight into what is practicable for an independent operator to achieve.


The challenges of running media-based collaborative projects: teams are created and re-created at national and supra-national level to address key thematic areas in a project-based manner related to funding. The challenge is, how to create and maintain collaborative relationships value around new technology in a fast-moving highly interconnected environment dominated by competing and evolving standards.


Ben will be presenting current development of 3DBARE, the 3D Binaural Audio Rendering Engine. 3DBARE is a means for multiple users to ‘walk inside a piece of music’, as though the sounds were actually emanating from points in a physical space. 3DBARE is a move towards realising ‘digital liveness’, making repeated experience of fixed output continually changeable.

Additionally, Ben will deliver a MasterClass on a related technology, the GPS-based software noTours, used for Annotating Landscape with Audio at the Avenue campus 65 / 2149 10-4 on December 6th. “Annotating landscape with Audio: an introduction to building geo-located sound structures”.

A talk, and a practical session on building a sound map, choosing and editing your sounds, field testing and revision – by the end of the day, participants will have built their first geolocated sound structure. Registration for this session is essential via

***BUSINESS PLANNING DEVELOPMENT CLASS: Highfield campus B2/3041, 4-6 on October 28 with Peter Webber. Register your interest with ***

Digital Economy USRG Contributions to Web Science MOOC #FLwebsci

Avatar photoSeptember 18, 2013
by Lisa Harris

On 11th November 2013 the University of Southampton will be running its first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), focusing on Web Science – a taster of how the web is changing the world and how the world is changing the web. It will be the first of many courses that will be made available in partnership with platform provider FutureLearn for people to study online, for free, wherever they are based in the world. The MOOC will appeal as a taster for people considering more formal educational programmes in this area, or to anyone with a particular interest in the web and its relationship with business and society.

No prior subject knowledge is required to participate in the Web Science MOOC, just enthusiasm and willingness to engage in building a global online community of interest around the topic. The course lasts for 6 weeks, and each week will require 2-6 hours of study through a combination of video, articles, activities and interactions via social media.

Digital Economy will have a one week section of the MOOC, with contributions from Ian Brown, Chris Phethean, Reuben Binns, Lorraine Warren and myself. We will discuss how the web is enabling both new forms of digital business and the transformation of traditional business. The Course Team are all actively involved in researching different aspects of this topic, and collectively the contributions highlight how the abundance of digital data impacts upon the activities of a range of stakeholders – consumers, job seekers, recruiters and commercial operations, while enabling new business models and entrepreneurial opportunities to be developed.

If you are now sufficiently inspired to check out the Web Science MOOC, you can watch our promotional video and register for the course here

Below you can see myself, Chris and Reuben relaxing with the lovely camera crew Joe and Kerry after filming of our MOOC videos was completed :-)

Phew, all done :-)

Phew, all done :-)

Paper at British Academy of Management Conference, 2013

Avatar photoSeptember 17, 2013
by Lorraine Warren

Very enjoyable to present some of the work from my colleague Muhammad Nouman’s PhD at the British Academy of Management Conference at Aintree, Liverpool, last week.  The slides are here:

Upcoming Digital Economy Events: Autumn 2013

Avatar photoSeptember 9, 2013
by Lisa Harris

We have lots of goodies planned for the new term, and there are more still in the pipeline – please check out our DE Events page for more detail and ongoing updates.

All staff and students are welcome to attend DE events, which are normally held at lunchtimes and come with free sandwiches :-)

Events may feature one presenter or an entire project team. Usually they will showcase a particular aspect of multidisciplinary research and its implications for education. Speakers may be University staff or students, or external guests / project partners.

We also maintain an email list through which we circulate details of events, relevant conferences etc – please let us know if you would like to be added to the list.

DE2013 Open Digital Conference at MediaCity

Avatar photoSeptember 6, 2013
by Lisa Harris