During my time at De Montfort University I obtained funding from HEIF, NESTA, and other sources for a series of initiatives designed to stimulate creative business innovation via the development of skills in social media and transliteracy. Dr Souvik Mukherjee analysed the impact of the projects, some of which made profound and lastingly positive impressions on the participants and the city of Leicester. In the end, however, our research was not considered relevant to DMU’s REF submission, and it was hard to find a publisher for a paper so intrinsically transdisciplinary. But here it is anyway! I’ve uploaded it to the public domain via Slideshare. Please help yourself.
This article outlines the emergent theoretical framework which informed a series of initiatives developed at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK, between 2005-11 with the aim of stimulating the use of social media for business innovation, and analyses their impact in relation to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise to be held in the UK in 2014 (in so far as it was understood in the first half of 2011). The new concept of transliteracy, developed at the Institute of Creative Technologies at DMU, was a key element in the theory informing the projects, some of which were also underpinned by research on the Amplified Individual undertaken at the Institute for the Future, Palo Alto. Although they differed in style and reach, all shared a focus on the use of social media by small to medium sized creative businesses and non-profit organisations in and around the city of Leicester, UK. In the light of the importance of assessing impact in today’s academic climate, Dr Souvik Mukherjee was appointed in 2011 to look at how that combination of research and practice might be used to demonstrate impact and make recommendations for future research. We understand that many other countries are already, or soon will be, conducting a similar audit of the ways in which higher education effects knowledge exchange and public engagement, so this article should also be of interest outside the United Kingdom.