Links for November 29th through December 1st

Some links for you:

  • Facebook for Business: The Basics « Dream it, Do it, Love it! – "Whilst the area is relatively new, and Facebook is particularly prone to change, there are some basics that you should really get your head around now to prevent time-consuming re-work and potential damage to your brand. Get it right first time and it will be much easier to maintain." (via Dubber I think)
  • digitalresearchtools / FrontPage – "This wiki collects information about tools and resources that can help scholars (particularly in the humanities and social sciences) conduct research more efficiently or creatively." (via Jon Hickman)
  • NESTA – Creative clusters and innovation report – "This gap in our understanding is what NESTA set out to address in Creative Clusters and Innovation, the outcome of a two-year collaboration with Birmingham and Cardiff Universities. The study adopts the concept of creative clusters as a starting point to examine the role that creative industries play in local and regional innovation systems. Its publication accompanies an online platform we have developed for users to examine creative industry concentrations at a fine level of detail in their localities."

Women in Games – where are you?

“There’s a generation of men, and it usually is men,” begins the BBC’s Nick Owen in his intro to this piece about a West Midlands computer games event that happened a couple of weeks ago. His co-host Suzanne Verdee does a little nod as if in agreement about the inevitably of Nick’s statement.

I was at this event and actually it wasn’t all men, it was just men doing the presenting. I wasn’t surprised by that, having been to plenty of events like this over the years and in general there being a lot of men talking about the business of games. In fact the agenda for this event was meant to include Jude Ower of Digital 2.0.

Had she been able to make it I wonder if the BBC would have spun the story any differently? Or is entrepreneurship in the games industry so heavily situated as a male activity (“bedroom to boardroom” as Nick puts it in what might pass for a clever dig at the sexual politics of business but probably isn’t) that it’s a story that ‘writes itself’. A discourse so dominant that the media, particularly local media who never shy away from the chance to reinforce glib stereotypes, feel compelled to portray it that way.

The audience for that day actually had lots of women in it. Two were students of mine. One, a first year undergraduate animator having an initial stab at some business networking and the other one of my MA Social Media students. Vox-pops with them might have diluted the macho flavour of the final report. Indeed just some cutaways of the mixed audience would have been an idea.

It’s worth taking time to read Lorna Parson’s view on women-only networking events for her sector (construction/built environment). After attending an event she concludes: “why bother segregating?” but in the comments there’s a view amongst some that “we need organisations out there to promote and campaign for a better female presence.” Such an organisation in the Games sector might well have presented other case studies for the BBC to look at when they came to cover this event. I suspect Nick Owen might have had even more fun coming up with a lame intro gag.

It’s no redress to the Beeb’s take but here’s a video of Jude Ower talking about what she does. Any more female games entrepreneurs out there?

[Jude Ower, Digital 2.0 from Mr Nat Higginbottom on Vimeo.]

Additional Reading:
Alice Taylor’s response to the all-male Game Developer 50 list
Women in Games network (“Give a voice to women and men in the games industry and in games education with interests in supporting and encouraging the role of women in the games industry”)
Special Edition of the Digital Creativity Journal focusing on Women in Games.
Media Training North West research (from 2004) asking ‘Why are there so few women in Games?‘ (PDF)
Birmingham Science Park (location of the above event) showcases some new games start-ups.

Links for November 18th

Some links for you:

Links for November 2nd through November 12th

Some links for you:

  • Dave Harte: No help from the coalition – Business Columnists – Birmingham Post – Piece I wrote for the Birmingham Post this week on the government plans for a Silicon Valley in the East End.
  • elearnspace › Questions I’m no Longer Asking – “I strive to strike a reasonable balance between reading blogs, books, and peer-reviewed articles. Different topics flair up in popularity (such as web 2.0 and now social media) and then fade. A few concepts have longevity such as “how effective is technology enhanced learning when contrasted with traditional classrooms?”. Questions like this are boring. And unanswerable given the tremendous number of variables involved in teaching online and in classrooms.”
  • DCMS Blog: A short history of the One-Armed Bandit – Articulating the mechanics of gambling as having a “place in popular heritage” – associates it with the seaside yet ignores the realities of grim high street slot machine arcades. DCMS seem to blogging a lot lately about the new regulations on sites like, but the first time I’ve noticed it done this way when announcing policy or consultation work.

Links for October 18th through November 1st

Some links for you:

Slides from Hello Business discussion

I thought it worth putting up the few slides I created for the session I was part of at the recent Hello Business event.

The discussion involved myself, Steve Harding from Birmingham City University (chairing), entrepreneur Michel Mol from Amsterdam and Jane Holmes from Advantage West Midlands (she does the inward investment stuff)

I’m not going to summarise the discussion which was wide-ranging and very useful other than to give some context to the diagrams in the later part of this presentation. They show the results of a workshop that I attended in Berlin earlier this year where representatives from a range of European cities mapped out the relationship between industry/trade bodies and creative and cultural policy-makers.

The last slide (from Berlin) seemed to have much clearer routes to enable industry to influence policy than any of the other cities. In Birmingham I’m not sure we have that and points were made about how some sectors (music for example) seem to lack a lobbying route to key City influencers.

One question from the audience asked about the role of culture in these structures and I related how in Birmingham, the fact Hello Digital is about the business end of digital rather than the culture end is testament to the fact that one lobby was more successful in making its case to policy-makers than another.

Paper on Advantage West Midlands’ Digital Media Cluster

awmDuring the summer the Business Cluster Opportunity Group that represents the Digital Media industry in the West Midlands asked me to produce a kind of positioning paper whilst the discussions were ongoing about the formation of Local Economic Partnerships (LEP).

The group was formed in 2003 so the paper is kind of saying: ‘don’t dump that knowledge, it might be useful’. It’s probably not a group that too many people have a wider awareness of but it actually did a lot of the strategic positioning work around placing ‘digital’ as a key focus in the region’s economic strategy.

It’s had a wide distribution via email to the various business/public sector bods who were doing the LEP lobbying but I suspect it’ll never get formally published anywhere so I thought I’d dump it on here.

An excerpt from the executive summary:
“In the current climate where business support policy is being reshaped and support mechanisms rethought, this paper strongly makes the case for those groups forming new partnerships to draw on the existing expertise of the West Midlands Digital Media Cluster Opportunity Group”

Digital Media Sector Cluster Paper 2010 Final

Paper in full

Links for October 10th through October 15th

Some links for you:

Links for October 8th

Some links for you:

Links for August 27th through September 30th

Some links for you: