“The chancellor is out of ideas. Today’s budget is one to forget” Associate Professor Dr Jo Michell comments on the budget

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Associate Professor in Economics Dr Jo Michell provides comment on today’s budget: 

It is unlikely that UK Chancellor Phillip Hammond was looking forward to his budget speech. He would have seen the latest economic forecasts from the independent Office for Budget Responsibility. There is no way to spin them as good news.

The newspaper front pages will not make for comfortable reading.

The OBR is tasked with producing detailed forecasts of the UK economy. These forecasts form the basis for evaluation of the Government’s performance against the rules it sets itself on public debt.

In reality, the rules change so often they have little meaning. Today was no exception. By reclassifying housing associations as “private” institutions and fiddling the accounting rules for the upcoming privatisation of RBS, the chancellor conjured up extra £5bn a year of spending – a trivially small amount.

The OBR forecasts of the outlook for the UK economy are of more interest: they are the nearest thing we have to official projections of our future prospects for income, employment and prosperity.

Since its inception in 2010, the OBR has been wrong about one of the most important economic indicators: labour productivity. This is a measure of the goods and services produced on average by each worker. Without productivity growth, living standards can’t rise.

The OBR has consistently over-estimated productivity, as the chart below shows. Twice a year for the last seven years, the OBR has predicted a return to pre-crisis trend growth of two per cent per annum. It was wrong every time: productivity growth has averaged near enough zero over the period.

chart1

In its latest forecasts, the OBR admitted defeat and downgraded productivity forecasts to 1.5%, in line with recent projections by the Bank of England. While these look optimistic given the recent performance, the implications for growth, incomes and public services are dramatic. Government revenues are predicted to be £20bn per year lower than previously forecast. By 2022, wages will still be more than £500 per year lower than in 2007. And this is without taking the possible effects of a ‘hard Brexit’ into account.

Against such a dismal backdrop, the chancellor’s announcement of new productivity-boosting measures, such as an R&D tax credit, inevitably rang hollow.

To try and sugar the pill, the chancellor announced a few short-term giveaways. The most headline-grabbing was the abolition of stamp duty for first-time house-buyers. This might sound like a welcome boost for young people looking to get a foot on the housing ladder. But the OBR were quick to debunk this: they predict that the resulting increase in house prices will exceed  savings on stamp duty: “prices paid by first-time buyers would actually be higher with the relief than without it. Thus the main gainers from the policy are people who already own property, not the first time buyers themselves.” (p. 128).

Instead of given a leg-up to young people struggling to own a home, the chancellor has poured petrol on the fire and given another hand-out to the already-wealthy.

This will only increase the severity of the debt problem that the chancellor didn’t mention in today’s speech: the debt of UK households. Research at UWE Bristol has found that, while austerity has so far failed to reduce public debt, it has been accompanied by ever-faster growth of household debt. As the chart below shows, for every £2bn the chancellor has cut from the deficit, the rate at which households take on new debt has increased by £1bn.

hh2

Nothing in today’s budget will reverse this trend. With incomes set to stagnate for years, and households already struggling, more will be forced to take on debt to make ends meet.

The chancellor had the opportunity to recognise the scale of the challenges faced by the country – flat productivity, unaffordable housing, stagnant incomes and government services pushed to the limit – and to announce a real change in direction. He should have announced a significant programme of public investment – in infrastructure, in R&D and in housing.

Instead, he did nothing of substance: a couple of new tax cuts and another nudge for house prices.

The chancellor is out of ideas. Today’s budget is one to forget.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five things businesses can do to become digitally savvy

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Author: Tim Hughes, Professor of Applied Marketing 

In recent years, digital marketing has fundamentally changed the nature of communication with customers. This is true of both Business-to-Consumer and Business-to-Business markets. Digital marketing captured 48% of U.K advertising revenue in 2016.

  • Update your website – For commercial and non-commercial organisations your website is your shop window to the world. It needs to reflect your brand values and be easy to use. Websites built on older platforms may be expensive to update. Using a specialist agency may be the best way to create a new website, although building your own is relatively simple.
  • Ensure your customers can find you – Get familiar with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC), advertising and email marketing, then use these to direct traffic to your website.
  • Engage your customers and potential customers – Social Media provides a great opportunity to talk to people with particular interests and profiles. Success in this is all about developing stimulating content over a sustained period.
  • Listen to your customers- Social Media, Blogs and Customer Review sites allow you to hear what customers are saying without having to commission expensive research.
  • Use data effectively – Understanding Data Analytics is the key to making the most of the extensive data that is created digitally. Use analytics to see what’s working and what isn’t.

Digital marketing can be daunting for small and medium companies and organisations. Using an agency may be a solution for some, but this can be expensive and does not necessarily provide an integrated solution. Another way is to equip your own staff with the skills to manage your digital marketing. Bristol Business School offers a Digital Marketing Institute qualification to support this (link). The next course runs from February 2018. See here for more information.

UWE Bristol and the BLCC (Bristol Leadership and Change Centre) in the USA-Mexican borderlands as part of a research project

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As part of a research project lead by Dr Hugo Gaggiotti (UWE FBL BLCC) titled “Organising in the borderlands: applying research to support families, children and youngsters in Mexican-USA borderlands (Ciudad Juarez, Mexico)”, UWE Bristol and the BLCC under took a visit to Mexico to take part in a bilateral conference. The project is  supported by the British Academy of Social Sciences and the Newton Fund.

The bilingual conference was celebrated in the borderland cities of El Paso (USA) and Ciudad Juarez (Mexico).

The main discussions moved around the redefinition and creation of new borderlands and frontiers in the context of Brexit and Trump’s administration and what is currently discussed in the academic literature as the “age of post-truth management and organising”.

To find out more about the project, please email Hugo.Gaggiotti@uwe.ac.uk

Professor Lukumon Oyedele gives Keynote Speech at CIMA Regional Conference

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Professor Lukumon Oyedele was invited to give the Keynote Speech at the CIMA Regional Conference: “Reflect, re-plan and respond” which was held at Celtic Manor on Friday 6th October.

Professor Oyedele attended the conference alongside Debbie Sturge, several Research Assistants and some PG students.

His Keynote on Big Data, looked at the challenges and opportunities for Businesses.

The conference was attended by a broad range of finance professionals  representing regional companies such as Computershare and  Nationwide.

CIMA Group-001

The Conference also heard from Leo Ringer of Global Counsel who gave a very clear economic analysis of the current state of Brexit,  and Justin Urquart Stewart  of Seven Investment Management (7IM) and radio and TV fame on the current investment environment in the UK.

Thanks to will James, Area Chairman of CIMA, for inviting the Business School to contribute to this event and to Lukemon for an excellent and well received presentation.

Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School Research Showcase

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Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School invite you to their Research Showcase on Wednesday 11 October at the Bristol Business School.

The showcase will celebrate the breadth of research within both schools in Leadership, Operations, Economic Analysis, Law, Legal Policy and Reform, Marketing, Enterprise, Entrepreneurship and Human Resource Management.

Throughout the showcase there will be 16 workshops taking place that will demonstrate the ways our leading edge researchers achieve real world impact, advanced knowledge, inspire people and transform futures.

The schedule for the day is as follows:

14.15 – 14.50: Registration & Refreshments, Atrium

15.00 – 15.10: Welcome Speech, lecture Theatre, 2X112

15.15 – 15.50: Showcase, Lecture Theatre, 2X112

15.55 – 16.25: Workshop 1, Assorted Rooms

16.35 – 17.05: Workshop 2, Assorted Rooms

17.10 – 18.00: Networking, Atrium

The workshops on offer are:

Workshop 1 (15:55 – 16:25)

  • Improving health and wellbeing through leadership and behaviour change – Bristol Leadership and Change Centre. In order to attend please register via Eventbrite.
  • Creating Connections: The Entrepreneurial Mind-set and Ecosystem – Bristol Collaborative Entrepreneurship Research Group. In order to attend please register via Eventbrite.
  • Rights, Citizenship and Nationality – Centre for Applied Legal Research. In order to attend please register via Eventbrite.
  • Financial Crime – Centre for Applied Legal Research. In order to attend please register via Eventbrite.
  • The Changing Terrain of Employability and Careers – Human Resources, Work and Employment Research. In order to attend please register via Eventbrite.
  • Delivering Value – How new technology continues to drive Business Model evolution – Innovation, Operations Management and Supply. In order to attend please register via Eventbrite.
  • Working Effectively With Marketing Agencies – Applied Marketing Group; Rigorous Research, Impact on Practice. In order to attend please register via Eventbrite.
  • Five things you should know about modern financial systems and the economy – Bristol Centre for Economics and Finance. In order to attend please register via Eventbrite.

Workshop 2 (16:35 – 17:05)

  • Digital marketing: what everyone needs to know? – Applied Marketing Group; Rigorous Research, Impact on Practice. In order to attend please register via Eventbrite.
  • Creative approaches to leadership and organisation development – Bristol Leadership and Change Centre. In order to attend please register via Eventbrite.
  • Entrepreneurial Approaches to ‘Wicked’ or Intractable Problems – Bristol Collaborative Entrepreneurship Research Group. In order to attend please register via Eventbrite.
  • Criminal Justice – Centre for Applied Legal Research. In order to attend please register via Eventbrite.
  • Delivering Value – How new technology continues to drive Business Model evolution – Innovation, Operations Management and Supply. In order to attend please register via Eventbrite.
  • Law, Vulnerability and Protection – Centre for Applied Legal Research. In order to attend please register via Eventbrite.
  • Applying research to address policy issues – Bristol Centre for Economics and Finance. In order to attend please register via Eventbrite.
  • Contemporary issues in reward management – Human Resources, Work and Employment Research. In order to attend please register via Eventbrite.

More information about the event and registration can be found here.

Bristol Business School shortlisted for Business School of the Year

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Bristol Business School has been shortlisted for Business School of the Year category of the Times Higher Education Awards 2017.

This nomination is welcomed by the Executive Dean Donna Whitehead who said that making the Times Higher Shortlist is the culmination of a fantastic year.

Donna Whitehead said, “It is wonderful to be nominated for this coveted accolade especially in a year where we have seen our investment in a state of the art building come to life.

“The building is a symbol for the way we approach business education with an emphasis on practice based learning enhanced by the way we relate to and engage with thousands of business partners in the region.

“The new purpose built business school has completely moved away from traditional learning spaces and greatly expanded the use of technology enhanced active learning to allow for greater co-creation and student-led problem solving. We have created an ambitious, creative and inspiring place for our students, staff and the business community.”

The School is distinctive in five areas: engagement with businesses and region; enterprise, practice led teaching and learning, internationalisation and research that is shaping the future of organisations.

The award submission was based around our performance during academic year 2015/16 during which we are especially proud our strong performance in the areas of enterprise and practice based learning, engaging with business and impactful research.

Student satisfaction rates are excellent as evidenced by scores in the 2016 National Student Survey, for example, 100% on BA Business and HRM and 98% on BA Economics; and businesses in the region routinely describe the school as responsive, innovative and engaging.

Donna Whitehead continues, “We have embraced new learning methods, such as the BA (Hons) Team Entrepreneurship, where we achieved an NSS personal development score of 98%.

“Employability rates are impressive with 95% of our students in work and 75% in professional and managerial roles / further study six months after graduation.

“Enterprise is embedded within all of our courses ensuring that all students graduate as resilient, agile and able to deal with a working environment that is constantly changing.

“Students are encouraged to take part in summer internships with financial support and a mentor to develop a business. As part of a partnership agreement with Santander, students can compete in a Dragon’s Den competition with up to £5,000 available to winners.

“A Business Fellows Programme brings together an exclusive network of 40 business leaders, from a range of sectors, working in partnership with each other to mentor our students and work in collaboration with our academics.

“A world-class Bristol Distinguished Address Series is brought to the city twice each year where business leaders are invited to open lectures to provide valuable insight to record numbers of employers and students.

“In April 2016 our BA (Hons) International Business was accredited by EPAS, a highly regarded international accreditation system enjoyed by only the world’s best business courses.

“During 2015/16, Bristol Business School received £1,121,000 income for Business and Management research – exceeding that of all Alliance University Business Schools and a significant number of Russell Group Business Schools.”

Professor Steve West, President and Vice-Chancellor, said, “The Bristol Business School deserves to win Business School of the Year. Our strategic objectives are bold and distinctive and we are proud to open up opportunities to thousands of students who go on to become business leaders.

“I am proud of what the staff team has achieved and grateful to the hard work from across the university that has led to this recognition by making the Times Higher Education awards shortlist in this important category. Good luck to us!”

The awards dinner and ceremony when the winner will be announced will take place on Thursday 30 November at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.

Professional development courses: 30% alumni discount

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To welcome our alumni to our brand new, state of the art Bristol Business School building, we’re offering a 30% alumni discount on selected courses until 8 September 2017, in the following areas:

  • Leadership and Management
  • Projects, Finance, Marketing
  • Coaching and Mentoring
  • Digital Marketing

Leadership and Management

Advancing your career or new to management? Achieve your ambitions with our range of professionally recognised qualifications and courses.

Leadership and Management (ILM Level 7)

Middle Manager Training (ILM Level 5)

First Line Manager Training (ILM Level 3)

Projects, Finance, Marketing

Want to increase your skills, knowledge and confidence at managing projects, financial decisions and marketing? Our courses are designed for the needs of the current day professional.

Managing Projects (2 days)

Finance for Non Finance Managers (1 day)

Marketing Communications (1 day)

Social Marketing (1 day)

Coaching and Mentoring

Our new coaching and mentoring courses this autumn include supervisor training and one-day top up workshops for existing coaches, alongside our full coaching and mentoring training suite for every level from beginner to ILM Level 5 and 7.

Coaching Supervision (ILM Level 7)

“The course gave me an understanding of who I am as a coaching supervisor and as a coach, the opportunity to work with a broad range of coaches working in very different contexts and with very different supervision requirements” Emir, Coaching Supervision

New One-Day Top Up Workshops:
Creative methods within Coaching and Mentoring

Psychometrics in Coaching

Introduction to Mindfulness and ACT in Coaching

Coaching, Mentoring and Well-being at Work

Coaching and Mentoring (ILM Level 5)

Coaching and Mentoring (ILM Level 7)  

Digital Marketing

Want to develop your digital engagement expertise? Learning the latest in mobile, social media, email, PPC and SEO marketing from industry experts. For marketing professionals, beginners, and anyone wanting to improve digital engagement.

Professional Certification in Digital Marketing 

“The course has provided me with knowledge and skills that can be applied to my job immediately. Every week I learnt something that had real life application. We were given plenty of opportunities within each session to put theory into practise – and to talk things through with the course leader and other professionals.” Katy, Digital Marketing

See here for our full range of business professional development courses. Please note: These include selected courses with our 30% alumni welcome discount until 8 September 2017, and courses with our standard 15% alumni discount.

For more information please contact the Professional Development Team in the Bristol Business Engagement Centre:

fbl.cpd@uwe.ac.uk

Svetlana Cicmil received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Research

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At UWE Bristol there is a significant amount of research that is carried out by both students and academics. Academic research involves many activities besides the research which requires a dedicated, enthusiastic individual. It enables individuals to enhance their studies alongside engaging in critical aspects of a particular subject.

On June 14, Svetlana Cicmil, Director of Doctoral Research in the Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School, gave the acceptance speech in Boston, having received the Project Management Institute (PMI) 2017 Lifetime Research Achievement Award. This was for the impact and contribution of her research and leadership of the Making Projects Critical (MPC) scholarly movements have made on the concepts, knowledge and practice of project management. Svetlana has been influential and been a part of UWE Bristol for three decades working on project-based environments initially; then as a practicing civil engineer and later as an academic. Her sustained published body of academic research, including monographs, book chapters and peer reviewed papers over the past decade have made significant movement in Making Projects Critical.

During Svetlana acceptance speech, she reiterated the uniqueness of this award as a collective achievement of all the academics, PhD researchers and practitioners from across the world who have enrolled on Making Projects Critical and contributed to the workshops over the past 15 years. It has produced extensive compilations of the published work and educational activity.

She said:

‘I am very proud of this award. It tops up a number of other national and international recognitions of the research my team and I have done to highlight new theoretical avenues and understandings of project-based organising, project management practice and projectified society.’

UWE Bristol would like to congratulate Svetlana Cicmil on receiving this award. She is a great asset to the Business and Law Faculty and we are pleased to see her get recognition for her outstanding achievements.

Laying the foundations for a solid client-agency relationship by setting the ground rules early

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Blog post originally posted on Small Business Charter article.

In an increasingly competitive world in which marketing agencies are prolific, how best should they retain clients, and how can a relationship between client and agency be set up in the first place to ensure longevity? Two academics at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) are researching this relationship with a view to advising both parties how to lay solid foundations from the start.

For the last four years, Professor Tim Hughes and Dr Mario Vafeas have endeavoured to find out what makes a successful and long-lasting relationship between agencies (creative and digital), and their clients (usually marketers).

Beginning in 2013, their research project initially involved interviewing 25 people on both sides of existing business relationships, to ascertain what their common issues were. Since then, the researchers have also used a combination of one-to-one interviews, focus groups, workshops and survey questionnaires to gather more data from clients and agency account managers.

The results reveal some of the typical challenges both sides face. “You tend to find that agencies have common complaints about their clients, and vice versa,” says Vafeas. “However things are not getting better and in fact are getting worse,” he adds.

The first challenge that has emerged from the research is the power imbalance between both sides. The client controls the purse strings and, because the agency is trying to hold on to the account, their creatives may not always tell them what needs to be said through fear of negatively affecting the relationship.

To counter this imbalance, one of the first things for agencies to think about is whether they are compatible with the company commissioning them, explains Vafeas. “Working with clients where there is a good fit helps the subsequent relationship,” he says.

Establishing a modus operandi on how the two will interact from the beginning is also extremely important. “Explaining to the client at the outset that they don’t intend to impose their way of working on them, but instead want them to get the best possible work out of the agency is key,” says Vafeas. “That investment needs to be made upfront,” he adds, suggesting this is more important than a detailed contract, which can sometimes be off-putting for both parties.

Says Hughes: “A lot of it is about agencies understanding what clients want, and clients understanding what they need to do to get the best out of agencies.” He adds: “This is very much a co-creative process.”

It is also vital that agencies fully understand the clients’ business and that they do not tell them what they already know, say the researchers. “Making sure the creative output is exceptional is key, as many clients can get work done in-house, so if they go to an agency they want something that stands out,” says Vafeas.

Hughes and Vafeas have also observed that there is sometimes a disconnect in the way the two parties want to communicate. They have noticed that agency staff are invariably aged under 30 while brand managers are often in their 50s. The former tend to prefer email, according to the academics, while the latter prefer direct contact. “In the past, a face-to-face interaction was fundamental to building a relationship, but we are now finding this doesn’t happen so much anymore,” says Vafeas. Despite occasional geographical constraints, agencies might therefore consider a more personal approach, he suggests, in order to nurture a stronger relationship.

With a view to sharing their findings and helping practitioners, Vafeas and Hughes work with business networks such as Bristol Media and the Chartered Institute of Marketing, hosting workshops to share results and asking participants to talk about implications for their businesses. They also host seminars, including with the Design Business Association in London. They also organise workshops with individual agencies.

Finally, their findings have also led the academics to incorporate sessions on how to optimise business relationships into the University’s Business and Management degree, as they see this as a vital skill for graduates.

Written by Jeremy Allen, Writer and Content Developer, UWE Bristol Business School

Entrepreneur Luke Johnson to be awarded Honorary Degree

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Luke Johnson is to be awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration (HON DBA) by the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) in recognition of his service to entrepreneurship.

Luke Johnson is a leading figure in private equity and the restaurant industry and the pioneer behind several instantly recognisable high-street brands.

An Oxford medical graduate, he began his career as a media analyst at Grieveson Grant, before being appointed as Chairman of PizzaExpress PLC in 1993. The business grew from 12 to over 150 restaurants during his tenure.

In 1999, he started Signature Restaurants, which owned The Ivy, Le Caprice and the Belgo chain, before establishing the Strada restaurant concept. The total proceeds from these two disposals were in excess of £90 million.

Luke is the Chairman of Risk Capital Partners, a private equity firm he co-founded in 2001, as well as Chairman and part owner of Gail’s bakeries, Neilson Active Holidays and Patisserie Holdings PLC.

He also serves on the board of Brompton Bicycles and is chairman of the Gaucho restaurant business. He also chairs Brighton Pier Group PLC. He was appointed Chairman of StartUp Britain in 2012 and, a year later, he created a think tank called The Centre for Entrepreneurs.

During his time as the Chairman of Channel 4 Television (2004 – 2010) the organisation enjoyed record ratings and revenues. He has also previously served as Chairman of the Royal Society of Arts and as a Governor of the University of the Arts. As well as being the Chairman of the Institute of Cancer Research and the Almeida Theatre, Luke writes weekly for The Sunday Times, and, until 2015, he contributed a weekly column to The Financial Times for seven years.

Commenting on his award Luke said, “I am very grateful to UWE Bristol for this honour. Every effort all of us can make to encourage more entrepreneurs matters. They generate new companies, jobs, innovation, tax and exports. Entrepreneurs are the future, and the more of them there are, then the better off we will all be.”

The Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration (HON DBA) will be conferred at the Awards Ceremony of the Faculty of Business and Law at Bristol Cathedral on Wednesday 12 July at 14:00.