This month was significantly better than the last one. It was my busiest month, as far as teaching is concerned, and there were lots of things going on in the home front. However, I did not feel like the month was slipping through my fingers, as I had felt in October, and I managed to tick off all of my key goals for this month.
I think that something that really helped me achieve this sense of being in control was to spend some time, at the start of the month, completing a goal setting + roadmap exercise. First, I made a list of all the tasks that I had to complete, associated with those goals (e.g., finish analysing data; write section 2 of paper; etc…). Then, I looked very pragmatically at my calendar, and identified the constraints I had to work with (I realised that I would have, at most, 17 slots throughout the month when I could schedule 1-2 hours of research and writing time). Finally, I blocked those 17 slots in my diary (much like I would schedule a class or a meeting), and I allocated specific tasks to each of those slots. It didn’t all go to plan. Indeed, after week 2, reality pretty much diverged from the plan. However, having that plan, and the awareness that I only had so many slots left in the month to make it work, helped me to “course correct” when life pulled me away. It really helped, and I am going to do the same for December, which is always a tricky month with all the festivities, time off school, and so on.
On the research front, I started the month by having to admit that I wouldn’t be able to submit a grant application I had been working on, which was really frustrating. Specially, as I feel that my lack of confidence in seeing this through meant that I wasn’t as aggressive as I needed to be in pursuing certain leads (e.g., partner organisations) which were essential for a successful application. Though, the colleague with whom I was working on that grant, suggested an alternative funder, and we are repurposing the idea towards that particular one. So, it wasn’t all lost.
On the plus side, the ethical approval for the hospitality project came through. So, we started recruiting for interviews, and we are getting a good response. We are a bit short of male respondents – so, if you have travelled this year in England, stayed in paid accommodation, and can spare 1 hour of your time, please get in touch with me.
I also followed up on a lead related to the digital government project. So, hopefully, we will manage to recruit more people for those interviews, too. If you live within 500 metres from the Grenfell Tower, and can spare 1 hour of your time, please get in touch with me. In fact, even if you could just help me by dropping a poster at the local library or GP practice, please let me know.
I also decided to collect some Twitter data for another project, and got a very good recommendation for someone to do that. So, hopefully, will have some good data for that project, soon.
As for writing, I got major revisions on a paper, which are due on January 6th (ouch – really need to plan December very carefully, to make that happen!). The paper we did minor revisions on last month has been accepted, and has been published. Hooray! (summary to follow shortly). And I worked on and submitted an extended abstract for another paper – fingers crossed, we will be invited for the paper development workshop for this one because a) it is a really good journal and b) it is a really cool paper (if I may say so myself).
This was my busiest teaching month, as I already said. There were my regular teaching sessions, for the Services Marketing module. Plus, I organised various guest talks for the students. The first one, with Yekemi Otaru, was highlighted here. I also prepared the paperwork for two sessions that I am delivering next term, as part of the MSc Artificial Intelligence Strategy. One session will look at issues of access and inclusion, and I will cover the topics of consumer power, consumer vulnerability and consumer voice. The other session will look at emerging business models, and I will cover the topics of applications of AI in marketing, the potential and limitations of AI in customer service, anthropomorphism in customer facing AI, and managing customer expectations and attribution of blame.
This month I also delivered training to female entrepreneurs, which I found very rewarding. Business ideas ranged from manufacturing candles, to selling artwork, to various forms of training and coaching, installation of EV chargers, and care services.
Teaching also includes PhD and, this month, I reviewed various applications, meet a potential student, reviewed data collection plans for current ones, and organised a progress review.
I am also exploring the opportunity to develop a “Digital Research Bootcamp”, with Mark Carrigan, which we could offer as a stand-alone programme that people in various institutions could sign-up to (as opposed to what we do now, which is to offer the programme via our own institutions). It would be a month long bootcamp, with 4 x 2 hours sessions spread out over the month. We tried this format before, with great success. Does this sound useful? What should such a bootcamp cover?
As for admin/ leadership tasks, I organised a talk for members of the Innovation, Digitalisation and Society research lab, on writing for impact.
I also spent some time, this month, talking with various people about my career, both how I got here and where I see myself in 5 years’ time. This activity has given me a sense of perspective, and a lot of motivation to pursue some ideas.
How was your month?