Today, I have some fantastic news.
My MA Social Media Production Lab project has been submitted, and approved. I will be meeting with the client on Wednesday 24th February.
Here is the Project Initiation Document that I submitted:
This Production Lab project proposes to audit and critically evaluate the client’s current traditional, digital and social media communication practices; assess, investigate and define the potential market audience drawn from cluster business activity; develop a sustainable digital communication solution for, and in close professional partnership with the client; host a public-facing event that integrates with the client’s schedule, work closely with five identified industry-related companies to implement similar social media solutions; and disseminate the project activity summary report via a workshop or seminar.
Global, national and regional businesses are experiencing the benefits and realising the added value to be gained from implementing and integrating social media communications with traditional business activities. Linking networking and business opportunities with environmental and sustainability programmes, at the same time as raising market profile awareness, such practices are enhancing company brand reputation, client relations and saving costs.
Regionally, Advantage West Midlands have used traditional and electronic news dissemination platforms to engage, develop and deliver Environmental Technology cluster news. In recent times, statistical evidence shows that the measurable benefits of such practice are declining, and this traditional method approach to communication has been questioned by the organisation themselves. The organisation has also recognised the value of digital communication and collaboration as being a key contributor towards successful regional business growth, as identified in a recent West Midlands Regional Observatory report (* WMRO, 2009)
Similarly, as identified by the EU Environmental Technologies Action Plan, and highlighted on the AWM website (AWM, 2010): “Environmental technologies are all around us… (they) have great potential to improve the environment and, at the same time, boost the competitiveness of companies.” Successful implementation of, and engagement with a sustainable social media communication platform not only has proven to bring positive business growth results, but also embraces the very nature of what the cluster’s remit is trying to achieve.
WMRO- West Midlands: Fit for the Future, page 69- http://www.wmro.org/standardTemplate.aspx/Home/OurResearch/Economyandworkforce/WestMidlandsFitfortheFuture
http://www.advantagewm.co.uk/working-with-us/business-clusters/environmental-technologies.aspx accessed 17th January 2010.
This Production Lab project has three identified and agreed objectives:
Identify a social media solution to improving communications between the AWM cluster manager and businesses within the cluster.
Work with businesses within the cluster to highlight the benefits of using social media.
Develop solutions that can be seen as exemplars for other clusters within AWM’s business cluster programme.
Formed in early February 2010 following meetings and proposal submission by Dave Harte (BCU), the project was designed in response to a request from Advantage West Midlands (AWM) to enable better use of communication tools within the Environmental Technologies cluster.
This Production Lab project is intended to highlight the benefits of using a range of internet technologies to both AWM staff and those businesses who come under the cluster’s remit.
The working project will be designed, implemented and delivered in close partnership with Gareth Stanley, AWM’s Business Development Manager, Environmental Technologies Cluster and Birmingham City University Media Dept.
The proposed project schedule, based around existing lecture and university study commitments, will allow for approximately two days allocated on site per week for the duration, with additional self-directed research, development and delivery to be continued as extra time allows.
Assessment of suitability and a sustainable approach to social media engagement will be developed in line with the AWM core team’s digital communication skills, in addition to the assessment of skill levels demonstrated by the five identified external companies. Where necessary and time permitting, full demonstration, explanation and relevant training will also be delivered.
Freedom of information and open sharing of client data will be an important contributing factor to the successful delivery of the project, and client confidentiality, data protection and non-disclosure requirements will be respected to at all times. Elements of data analysis and developing geographical mapping technology, re-use of licensed Ordnance Survey material and post code information will be used wherever possible for reasons of accuracy, Web 2.0 integration and future sustainability. During the project development and delivery, there may also be the occasional use of PHP and other open source platform expert coding knowledge, relating to successful platform delivery. This element will be undertaken with the full agreement and approval of both AWM and BCU.
Upon completion of the project and submission of the final report, all ownership, log-in access and platform passwords will be made available to the client and BCU during the handover process, to enable the practice of sustainability to continue.
Allowance for similar future professional contract work with this cluster, and all others under the AWM remit will be assessed at that time.
Key identified and confirmed project partners are:
Advantage West Midlands
Birmingham City University
Potential partnerships will be investigated and approached, and where suitable and appropriate, be introduced to the project.
Potential project partners at this stage include:
iTunes (Apple INC)- content disseminating platform
Birmingham Post Newspaper (Trinity Mirror Group PLC)- potential media partner
The Business Desk.com (West Midlands)- potential media partner
BBC Television, Web and Radio- potential media partner
Central Television- potential media partner
Open Street Map.org- mapping data platform host
Mappa-mercia.org- mapping data platform host
Hackitude.com- potential specialised coding partner
Audioboo.fm- audio platform recorder and/or dissemination/ distribution
Wordpress.mu- PHP platform host and coding provider
Vimeo.com- HD video host
Flickr.com (Yahoo)- digital photography host
You Tube (Google)- video host and platform provider
At the time of writing, a full client meeting, site visit and IT audit has yet to be completed.
Lack of client and/or client cluster business skills, appreciation, prior knowledge or understanding of platform format- this will lead to more time required to provide additional reading material, demonstrations and/or train required personnel. Further requirements will be integrated, following negotiations, into Personal Development Planning and delivery.
Client or business cluster IT network firewall/ permissions for open/external network access- this may lead to policy procedures to be re-evaluated, assessed and negotiated at the time.
RDA server compatibility- this may prevent secure database and platform hosting, requiring external facilities, and potential cost negotiations.
Adequate bandwidth availability- this will reduce successful uploading of content from client’s premises, requiring university/home access.
Internet access availability at external events and exhibition- potential prohibitive costs of this will detrimentally affect full-potential deliverables from social media surgeries. Mitigation measures will be provided via a 3 network 3G mifi system, leading to a reduction in engagement opportunities due to reduced bandwidth availability.
Adequate time management for advanced learning- this may have knock-on implications for enthusiasm to engage, and will be supported by the provision of additional reading material and good practice case studies.
Database access availability restrictions- this will delay/prevent open access to cluster businesses information. This will be assessed at the appropriate time, if required.
Ordnance Survey and Postcode data availability and access- this may potentially prevent mapping of cluster business information. At the time of writing, we are waiting for the release of UK Data Centre information. Until that arrives, the platform will be reliant upon Google map technology.
Established company and RDA policy procedures- this may cause extended time requirement due to client sign-off at every stage, or potentially delay/prevent digital content publication. Negotiations regarding this possible issue will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
Budget- to enable sustained content delivery, the client will need to purchase various small pieces of technical equipment (or at least have access to pooled resources). At each stage of the project development, the client will be made aware of all potential additional budget requirements.
External influences caused by forthcoming General Election outcomes. Re-assessment of project deliverables, outcomes and viability will be assessed at the time.