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Academic Digital

Phd Studentship, University of Southampton 'The Mobile Web'

Project Title: Digital disruption and value creation (Read full details)

The research focuses on how small businesses in the knowledge-intensive services sector can realise value from mobile communications.  It embraces innovation theory and business strategy and will enhance competitiveness in UK plc.

Supervisor: Dr Lorraine Warren (@doclorraine)

Start Date: October 2010

Details of the Project:

The rapid development of digital technologies now presents a nexus of possibilities: widespread access to broadband/mobile technologies; smartphones enabling new forms of communication, handheld internet access and bespoke applications development; software platforms that enable a high degree of networked connectivity and communication  with the potential to amplify to (potentially) a global audience; readily available real-time geographical data; increasing availability of government datasets to the public.  This nexus produces a new locus of innovation, a shift from the corporation to the individual, recognised in new so-called paradigms for innovation, ‘open innovation’ (Chesbrough) and ‘democratic innovation’ (von Hippel) across the distributed innovation networks foreseen by Rothwell.  The barriers to digital innovation by non-computer scientists have been significantly lowered as the plethora of new businesses in the fields of social media, or smartphone applications demonstrate.  It should now easier than it has ever been to not only access and use new technologies, but to extend them, customise them, develop new combinations, and to access and develop new sectors and markets.  Thus the potential for not only incremental innovation but transformative, disruptive innovation is also possible.

However the roadmap for inductive thinking that will create value in novel and unforeseen ways in new contexts and settings is not clear.  Classical technology transfer models are too linear to translate into this milieu and are also too focussed on economic value creation at the expense of the other forms of value – social, cultural, creative, artistic and technological – that are so significant in the 21st century.

At the heart of this project is a continuation, development and extension of ongoing research on the use of complexity theory to provide an understanding of value creation in disruptive contexts because of its potential to: conceptualise across multiple, interlinked levels of analysis (ie non linear); relate initial conditions to indeterminate outcomes.  To explore the above, the project will take as its starting point the use of the iphone/smartphone as a tool for small businesses in the knowledge-intensive services sector, now that people are using mobile applications  for a wide range of tasks, from purchases, service access communication and information retrieval, bypassing traditional web access.

The Student

The project would suit a School of Management student with an MSc in a relevant qualitative discipline, or a mature student with industry experience.  In terms of future employability, the student would graduate with detailed knowledge and practical understandings that would support entry into the industry, or the