Ignited: Salford Business School Magazine

Professor David Spicer
Professor David Spicer

Salford Business School Academics show innovation and insight in business thinking.

I am delighted to be able to introduce you to the second issue of the Salford Business School (#SalfordBSchool) magazine Ignited. Having recently joined the School I had done my research before I joined as Dean. I knew that Salford has a great reputation for innovation in applied, industry focused programmes and research. When I arrived, I was delighted to find out just how much great work was being done here at Salford that I wasn’t yet aware of. This magazine showcases some of the best in thinking and research here at Salford. I’ll highlight just some of the articles below.

The second issue

Ignited showcases the ethical side of our work, done by colleagues involved with the Centre for Social Business. This issue has contributions from Nazam Dzolkarnaini and Kevin Kane on the limits created by limited liability status on for ethical behaviour in companies and from Morven McEarchern on the implications of ‘Dieselgate’ for VW’s relationship with its customers.

David Percy, a member of Salford’s world leading Centre for Sports Business contributes on how data, statistics and modelling can help predict the outcomes of boxing matches, as well as many other complex multi-parameter problems in industry, defence and healthcare.

Salford’s strength in digital business is also evident. For example, Gordon Fletcher highlights the need for a new STEAM age. Arguing for Art to be incorporated in the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) agenda. As only then will we be fully enabled for the demands of the digital economy. Whilst David Kreps highlights the growing role of wearable technology and the impact that will have as an integral part of our lives in the future.

“Innovation is nothing without application”

Salford Business School magazine

As this is our second issue of Ignited, there’s also a feature on 10 inventions that got a second chance. Innovations that needed two goes at making it to the ‘big time’. Including TV, telephones, plastic and mobile devices. As someone with an interest in strategic change, I’m struck by the messages at the core of these examples. Perseverance is key. Ideas need someone who sticks with them to make them happen. Luck is also significant. A market has to exist if an innovation is to thrive.

Sometimes therefore it isn’t the originator of an idea that finds or exploits its niche. Robert Thompson is a great example of this. As inventor of the pneumatic tyre he can claim that he did indeed ‘reinvent the wheel’. However, his application in the age of rail was limited. It took another 40 years for John Dunlop to make the most of the pneumatic tyre, through its application to bicycles. This led, in turn, to cars and a demand for tyres that Robert Thompson never foresaw.

Another great example is the computer – Thomas Watson, President of IBM, predicted a total global market for the computer of five in the 1940s. In the 1970s Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation could see no reason why anyone would have a computer in their homes. Neither understood our capacity to develop and apply ideas in innovative ways and the impact this would have on the computer.

The point is, perhaps, that innovation is nothing without application and this is where Salford Business School excels – taking ideas and making them work. S.A.M. – the Sports Analytical Machine developed by Ian McHale and colleagues in the Centre for Sports Business is just one example – using big data to improve decisions making has masses of applications outside the world of sport. I look forward to being able to share more of the stories that make Salford Business School great.

For more information about Salford Business School, please visit www.salford.ac.uk/business-school