Working in the areas of innovation, process improvement and performance measurement I work extensively with organisations in both the private and public sector. I enjoy working in a collaborative environment and have well-established research networks both nationally and internationally.
My research focuses on improving the performance of organisations through improving processes and developing innovation capacity. I believe myself to be well recognised both nationally and internationally in this field. I am a member of the Innovation UK/ESRC Innovation Caucus which was established to support innovation-led growth and promote greater engagement between the social sciences and businesses.
You could say that I work mainly with organisations who need help with operations management in changing environments (as opposed to optimising stable systems). Often my research focuses on the challenges facing organisations in a changing competitive arena. Faced with competition and changing environments organisations are having to find alternative ways to compete, often on the basis of design, innovation, brand or service. My interest is in how companies make this transition, which demands a change in the nature of their operations, often involving new activities, skill-sets and technologies. I am currently leading a project looking at productivity in UK manufacturing firms, and looking at what is being measured and managed in different sectors.
More recently I have expanded my research beyond the context of manufacturing firms (where my work started), recognising that many other organisations are also having to change their operations in response to changing conditions. I have just finished a project working with North Yorkshire Police helping them to change their working practices and processes in light of the increased number of people they are dealing with who have mental health issues. I am also working on two small grants – one funded by BREF aimed at understanding how innovation can help environmental footprint reduction in breweries and one funded by N8 Agrifood understanding the effect of Brexit on the resilience of local food supply chains. Finally I am also carrying out some speculative research looking at how universities can innovate their business models and manage performance in a rapidly changing environment.
In 2013 I secured £200,000 ERDF funding for a Workplace Innovation Centre at Strathclyde with colleagues which studied changing workplaces and innovation that benefits employees as well as employers. In 2013 I completed an EU FP7 project called FutureSME, an 8m Euro project led by myself and Professor Umit Bititci, which aimed to develop the competitive capacity of European SMEs globally. This research consortium included 26 partners from 8 European countries. My own contribution to this project was in developing a better understanding of the adaptive capability needed by today’s manufacturing SMEs. Having completed a study for the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service which investigated the issues facing manufacturing SMEs in Scotland, I was well placed to lead this research stream as it built on work funded by EPSRC on “Manufacturing Futures” which I led.
Having run a series of events for ESRC on operations management, I was invited to guest edit a special edition of the IJOPM (3 star on ABS list) on modern operations management which was published at the end of 2013. I contribute to the EurOMA, PMA and BAM communities, through organising and participating in conferences and workshops.
I was submitted to the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) under Unit 19 (Business & Management Studies). I also contributed one Impact Case based on my work on business performance and improvement.
I have enjoyed senior leadership roles within UK universities including most recently being Deputy Dean at The York Management School, Director of Business and Community Engagement at TYMS and Vice-Dean of Strathclyde Business School, responsible for Knowledge Exchange. I have recently re-joined Strathclyde University where I will be establishing a new centre focusing on Innovation and Operations Management in support of the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland. I am also Director of Research in the Department of Design, Manufacture and Engineering Management at Strathclyde.