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Strathclyde Business School

The journey from MSc to KTP

By Ross Whiteford - Posted on 31 January 2024

Ross Whiteford did his MSc in Project Management and Innovation at Strathclyde before taking on a role as a Knowledge Exchange Associate. Here, he outlines his journey.

In 2021 I stepped back through the doors of Strathclyde to continue my education with an MSc in Project Management and Innovation. Having previously gained an MEng in Product Design Engineering from DMEM some moons ago, I had some understanding of the strong links with industry and how the university really is a place for useful learning. However, I could not have imagined the range of opportunities and learning experiences that I would embark upon in the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship.

As a student in the Hunter Centre I worked on a range of real-world project including maximising the efficiency of the satellite development process for AAC Clyde Space, refreshing the business model for a Scottish airline (MacLeod Air), and developing an innovation tool for a global charity (WOCAN). I also capitalised on the well-developed course modules that provide students with a problem solving tool kit to tackle the ever changing needs of industry.

Then, following my graduation in 2022, I was very fortunate to take up a role in the Hunter Centre as a Knowledge Exchange Associate. In this post I am leading a Workplace Innovation Project in partnership with Innovate UK and a Glasgow based SME (ALBA Facilities Services).

The purpose of the Workplace Innovation Project is to identify and implement innovation and continuous improvement practices across our partner SME (ALBA). As well as having a real-world impact on the performance of this organisation, the action research aims to deepen our understanding of how innovation works in this particular environment, and also why, with a particular interest in human factors that mediate the success of innovation initiatives.

One such initiative that we've introduced to ALBA in October 2023 is a six-month trial of the reduced working hours 4-Day Week (R4DW). Not to be confused with the condensed working week, the R4DW provides an opportunity for employees to receive 100% pay, for 80% time worked, in return for 100% productivity targets achieved.

We are now over 50% of the way through the 6-month R4DW trial and the emerging results are quite staggering: increased productivity; decreased absenteeism; better work-life balance; better team work; less waste. What company would turn down this seemingly utopian future? The exciting thing is, I and my support team in the Hunter Centre are shaping this future for ALBA and seeing the results in real time.

Strathclyde University is clearly a place where theory turns into practice and then back into theory. Currently we are working on publications that help us understand how and why the R4DW delivers successful outcomes for organisations and employees alike. Please look out for these, coming soon to a journal near you!

Contact details

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 Postgraduate admissions
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University of Strathclyde
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