Exciting news for Esports students at Staffordshire University

Written by Stuart Kosters, Lecturer in Esports at Staffordshire Business School


 

Staffordshire Business School launches the brand new Esports Hub – a customised esports lab for showcase and learning.

We strive for excellence and have spoken to many esports industries to deliver the very best training; in delivery and presentation.

Computer equipment is top of the range industry standard, featuring tournament level hardware and software, allowing for ease of use and the best in quality assurance.

  • Razer Naga Chroma Professional Grade Ergonomic MMO Gaming Mouse
  • Razer Kraken 7.1 Chroma V2 – Gaming USB Headset and 7.1 Surround Sound with 50 mm Drivers, Retractable Digital Microphone
  • Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2, Linear and Silent Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
  • Razer Goliathus Chroma RGB Gaming Mouse Mat

Stylish graphics surrounding the room showcasing your home of Esports Hub, stems from extensive research and design prototypes, to be unique and current in the world of competitive gaming and learning. This esports lab strives to be one of a kind.

State of the art broadcasting area for your training experience and exhibition pleasure featuring an incredible range of the best equipment from sound editing, to vision mixing and full 360% camera rotations to capture every moment and showcase the very best in esports event exhibitions:

  • 360 degrees camera
  • vision mixing unit
  • soundboard
  • and full streaming training unit

Custom made interview area with a backdrop and modern esports furniture for viewing pleasure allows for extensive use of training in casting and interview skills, building soft skill management and providing the best experiences to share with online and local viewership.

Want to find out more? Visit us on one of our Open Days to have a look around and speak to our expert staff!

Details of our Esports Hub Launch Event on 18 August 2018!

Thinking of joining us? Find out more about our courses in clearing

 

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Is there a panacea for low productivity ?

By Ema Talam   on twitter as @ematalam

Productivity differences between different producers exist and persist, even among those operating within the same industries (Syverson, 2011; Van Reenen, 2011). Achieving higher productivity is of an utmost importance for firms as it leads to better firm performance and leads to increased profits. These increased profits can be used for future investment and wage rises.  The panacea for low productivity is often sought, however, the factors determining productivity are numerous, differing in their scope, level of influence and complexity.

One of the factors determining productivity is innovation. While some studies establish that innovation in general is positively linked with productivity (Movahedi et al., 2017), some limit this link to product innovation (Cassiman and Golovko, 2011). Porter (1990) argues that firms often have no choice but to innovate, as they face competitive pressures coming from their buyers or competitors.

The productivity of a firm may be determined by talents and practices of its managers. Bloom and Van Reenen (2010) have shown that firms that employ better management have higher labour productivity. Management practices differ widely both among different firms and different countries. They are influenced by numerous factors, some of them being: product market competition, labour market regulations, relationship between ownership and management of a firm, education of managers and workers, etc. (Bloom and Van Reenen, 2010).

Quality of inputs is another factor that determines productivity. Rather than clinging on basic resources (or lack of those), it can be argued that productivity is mainly determined by superiority of labour and capital inputs (Porter, 1990; Syverson, 2011). Education, training and experience can all affect quality of labour inputs. Quality differences of capital inputs can influence productivity (Syverson, 2011). The lack of basic resources can push firms to innovate and improve (Porter, 1990). It has been shown that differences in intangible capital and IT can also affect productivity (Syverson, 2011).

Another significant factor that can influence productivity are different decisions regarding the organisation and structure of a firm. Different process improvements through learning-by-doing can also influence productivity (Syverson, 2011).

Productivity spillovers and competition are important external determinants of productivity of a firm. Productivity spillovers occur mainly within the same or similar industries. Competition can hugely affect productivity and firms can face competitive pressures from both other domestic and foreign firms (Syverson, 2011).

The theoretically established ‘learning-by-exporting’ hypothesis states that exporting can improve productivity of a firm. On the one hand, a firm participating in an export market is exposed to a larger competition. On the other hand, by participating in an export market, a firm can gain new knowledge from its buyers and competitors (Wagner, 2007). Some empirical research has confirmed this hypothesis (Damijan et al., 2010).

As discussed above, productivity of a firm is influenced by a numerous factors. Some of the above-mentioned factors can be influenced to a greater extent than the others and some of those factors require shorter periods to be adjusted than the others. However, given that there is variety of factors, their complexity and the level of their potential interactions, the question still remains: is there really a panacea for low productivity?

References:

  1. Bloom, N. and Van Reenen, J. (2010) ‘Why do management practices differ across firms and countries’, The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 24(1), pp. 203-224. Available at: https://www-jstor-org.ezproxy.staffs.ac.uk/stable/25703489 (Accessed: 24th June 2018)
  2. Cassiman, B. and Golovko, E. (2011) ‘Innovation and internationalization through exports’, Journal of International Business Studies, 42(1), pp. 56-75. Available at: http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.staffs.ac.uk/stable/25790105 (Accessed: 28th March 2018)
  3. Damijan, J.P., Kostevc, C., & Polanec, S. (2010) ‘From innovation to exporting or vice versa?’, The World Economy, 33(3), pp. 374-398. Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.ezproxy.staffs.ac.uk/journal/10.1111/%28ISSN%291467-9701/issues (Accessed: 24th March 2018)
  4. Movahedi, M., Shahbazi, K., & Gaussens, O. (2017) ‘Innovation and willingness to export: Is there an effect of conscious self-selection?’, Economics: The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, 11(25), pp. 1-22. Available at: http://www.economics-ejournal.org/economics/journalarticles/2017-25 (Accessed: 1st May 2018)
  5. Porter, M. (1990) ‘The competitive advantage of nations’, Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://hbr.org/1990/03/the-competitive-advantage-of-nations (Accessed: 4th June 2018)
  6. Syverson, C. (2011) ‘What determines productivity?’, Journal of Economic Literature, 49(2), pp. 326-365. Available at: http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.staffs.ac.uk/stable/23071619 (Accessed: 30th April 2018)
  7. Van Reenen, J. (2011) ‘Does competition raise productivity through improving management quality’, International Journal of Industrial Organisation, 29(3), pp. 306-316. Available at: https://ac-els-cdn-com.ezproxy.staffs.ac.uk/S0167718711000208/1-s2.0-S0167718711000208-main.pdf?_tid=48b828f4-40fc-4fad-a130-5cec9cbc83ab&acdnat=1530139607_684e48c04c59ac476baa4ece54f7c606 (Accessed: 22nd June 2018)
  8. Wagner, J. (2007) ‘Exports and productivity: A survey of the evidence from firm-level data’, The World Economy, 30(1), pp. 60-82. Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.ezproxy.staffs.ac.uk/journal/10.1111/%28ISSN%291467-9701/issues (Accessed: 16th April 2018)

 

 

Culture and Ethics In The Workplace

Dr Bharati Singh, Senior Lecturer at Staffordshire Business School


I knew when I was joining Staffs last year that I was going to be part of a connected University. During the various inductions and trainings that I had, it was obvious that being active on social media was expected. So, I opened an official FB page and a Twitter account. I already had a profile on LinkedIn and other academic research sites.

However, almost a year down, one of the things that I have procrastinated on is writing a blog. I did not know what to do and where to start from. I am struggling to write articles out of my own thesis so a ‘blog’ about something that interests me was hard coming by.

I googled on ‘how to write a blog?’ and there were suggestions galore. The list of dos and don’ts was long. I pondered and contemplated and deliberated on what interests me and what could I write to draw the attention of readers.

I had worked for many years in the corporate world which included traveling and working with various multinationals and different nationalities before changing directions towards a full-time academic role.

In this role, having just attended the Business Staffs graduation ceremony, an idea for a blog started to take form in my mind. This emanated from the general conversations I had with the graduands and the pride for some to have already secured a job and the primary aim of others to secure a job as quickly as possible.

I knew then that I had to share my experiences of having worked with large multinational companies and banks and to provide some insight about work culture and ethics to my students and anyone in general.

One can face both success and failure at work. It is part of life as much as is birth and death. I am not trying to be macabre here but just dishing out some hard facts. You will not like some people at work and some people may not like you. So where is it that you can make a difference?

Integrity, honesty and being true to your job are first and foremost. Sometimes job descriptions can be misleading but never despair. Give it your all because you will need that recommendation letter when you do move on to your dream job.

 

The other important fact to remember is: what goes around comes around; so maintaining relationships is very important with people you like or don’t like. You never know who you will meet at any given point of life: the world is round.

Words can never be retracted so be careful what you say, to whom you say and when you say. Be mindful of the external environment (and I don’t mean the weather here).

Finally, never be afraid to own up to your mistakes. A very important lesson that I had learnt at a very young age (courtesy Reader’s Digest): the least important one word is ‘I’ and the most important six words are ‘I admit I made a mistake.’

Dr Bharati Singh, Senior Lecturer at Staffordshire Business School

Twitter: @BharatiCSingh

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BHS Death: Who is to Blame?

Image: The Herald, Scotland https://goo.gl/X59KeM

British Home Store (BHS) was born in 1928 with steady expansion growth and increasing competition with rival stores that bring excitements to the British workforce and customers. In pursuit of survival, BHS has undergone several successful surgical operations in the post-war era such as expansion across the UK, merging and franchising its brand. Many feared that BHS survival chances would diminish in 2000 when Sir Philip Green took charge of the company health affairs, but he dismissed the fears. However, sickness symptoms were confirmed in 2005 when BHS announced its losing customers to rivals. After several attempts to revive BHS, the health continued to deteriorate. This continued until 2015 when it was transferred to Dominic Chappell, unfortunately for BHS its health has gone beyond resuscitation. In 2016, the once healthy and competitive BHS was in coma without a chance of survival.

Losers

Although all BHS stakeholders were disappointed in the news of its death, this has different implications for different stakeholders. During its heyday, BHS had 163 stores, 11,000 British workforce that comprised direct and indirect staff, servicing 22,000 pensioners, tax-payer, and 1.2m British loyal customers. These were the biggest losers as the death of BHS significantly changed their way of life and in some cases, it threatened their survival as well.

Image: Drapers, https://goo.gl/vDGG41

Companies Act 2006

The Companies Act 2006 s830 specifies that companies should only distribute a dividend to the shareholders from the profit available or accumulated profits. This profit should be after deducting its accumulation losses. Also, Companies Act 2006 s172 specifies the duties of company’s directors to act in good faith with the aim of promoting the company’s success for all its members. In the case of BHS, members include all the stakeholders such as employees, pensioners, customers, suppliers, creditors, government, UK taxpayers, and shareholders.

Many commentators argued that Sir Philip Green and his family members along with other shareholders did not regard corporate governance or Companies Act 2006; and they made decisions on the BHS activities in their personal interest to the detriment of the other BHS members. Other commentators believed that The Green family and other shareholders enjoyed unfettered access in the heart of BHS; that was cleverly done with a complex company structure and inter-company transactions that include £422m dividend pay-out against £208m profit, £10m loan interest, £151m rent received from sales and lease-back, £250m management charges and £3m ground rent, all received from BHS. As a result, between 2000 and 2015, the pension fund has fallen from £5m surplus to 571m deficits and BHS survival and going concern was set on a slope.

Structure of Taveta Group (Controlled by the Green Family): Source from HC Committee Reports, https://goo.gl/reA7Er


International Standards on Auditing

The International Standards on Auditing (UK) specifies that the objective of the audit work on the financial statement is to give reasonable assurance. This assurance should be included in the auditor’s report to highlight whether the financial statement is free of error or fraud. Although, it is not a guarantee that material misstatement due to error and fraud will always be detected when audit work complies with ISA (UK). However, the ISA (UK) requires that auditor should exercise professional judgment in identifying and assessing the material risks in the financial statements. Auditors are required to design and perform audit procedures that are responsive to material risks, and to obtain appropriate, and sufficient evidence regarding the business activities from audit procedures upon which audit opinion will be formed. In this regard, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) audit design and procedures failed to detect or raise going concern issue during 2015 audit when BHS was sold for £1.

PwC Leeds firm audited BHS Group Ltd financial accounts for the 74 weeks to 29 August 2009 and since then they continued to audit BHS financial account till 2015. They are also the auditing firm for other Green Family companies such as Taveta Investment Limited and Taveta Investment (No.2) Limited, the parent companies of BHS. Commentators believe that this could have created threats to their objectivity due to possible close or personal relationship with the Green family and non-audit fee (audit fee ratio of up to 8:1). These threats include familiarity, intimidation, and self-interest as the audit firm and senior partner may not be necessarily sceptical and may be sympathetic towards the directors and employee with whom they have a relationship.

Image: Accountancy Age, https://goo.gl/ZVN1Yu

On the 13 June 2018, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) halted the over 30 years career of Steve Denison a senior partner with a 15-year ban and £325,000 fine. PwC accounting firm was fined £6.5m and FRC will be monitoring their practice over the next three years.

Blame

In my opinion, the directors of BHS acted unethically and with total disregard for the Companies Act 2006 and corporate governance in discharging their duties between 2000 and 2015. Considering the consequences of their actions, the innocent pensioners, direct and indirect employees and taxpayers will pick up the bill for the BHS pension deficit. It is unfortunate that those directors got away with just over £363m fines without a ban from serving as company directors in the future or possibly jail terms.

However, as much I would like to agree with  PwC that their failure could not have contributed to BHS death, from a professional viewpoint, they have the duty not only to advise the BHS board of directors, but the 2015 Audit Report should have explicitly raised going concern issues. This would have raised other stakeholder’s awareness as the Audit Report would have been available to the public through Company House.

Mayowa Akinbote ACCA, MA, PGCHP, FHEA, BSc.                                                Lecturer in Accounting and Finance                                                                        Staffordshire Business School

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The World Cup: Sports tourism bringing Nations together?

By Carol Southall, Senior Lecturer, Staffordshire Business School

 

In recent years the phenomenon of sports tourism has grown in popularity, not least because of technological advances facilitating online ticket bookings and confirming event and venue scheduling. Sports tourism is certainly one of the fastest growing sectors of the global travel industry and refers to travelling to another destination, away from where the traveller normally lives and works, in order to observe or participate in a sporting event.

The Russia World Cup 2018 is an opportunity to bring people together from different nations across the world with a common interest…diversity, and of course football! Spread over 1,800 miles from Kaliningrad on the Baltic coast to Ekaterinburg at the foot of the Ural mountains, 12 stadiums across Russia will host the 64 matches that comprise the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, the largest venue and one of the newest, will hold the first game of the tournament on 14 June and also the final, 31 days later. England’s first match against Tunisia on Tuesday 18th June at the purpose-built Volgograd Arena, almost 600 miles south-east of Moscow, is likely to be a key draw for the thousands of football fans heading to Russia.

Covering over 17 million square kilometres, 11 time zones, and with a population of almost 147 million, Russia is the largest country in the World. With over 200 ethnicities and ethnic groups and more than 100 languages and dialects, plus 28 UNESCO World Heritage sites and several thousand museums, Russia is working hard to promote its tourism potential. Interestingly on the Russia Travel website, to which fans applying for a FAN ID are directed when they enquire about tourism opportunities during their stay in Russia, there is a reference to the ‘Miracles of Russia’ in the host towns and cities, and the fact that “all these have nothing to do with the habitual stereotypes of Russia”. This is evidently an ideal opportunity to debunk some myths surrounding perceptions of Russia as a destination.

Red Square, Moscow, Russia

Studies show that major events can be a positive force in bringing nations together and enhancing and strengthening national identity. Whether Russia needs to strengthen its national identity, or indeed which countries need to strengthen their national identity, is a moot point. What is clear is that any such tournament that brings the world together should only serve to strengthen national pride and identity and facilitate an element of cultural understanding.

As a traveller you often find that wherever you are in the world, the common language is football. You may not be able to hold a conversation in a native tongue beyond ‘hello’ and ‘thank-you’ but mention the relative merits of the better-known English football clubs and you can hold a conversation for the duration of a taxi ride.

Clearly participation in football, whether as a player or spectator, plays a major role in social and global cohesion, enhancing social capital. Football creates its own world order, deviating from the hegemonic power relations that characterise world politics. Conversely, the mutual respect and consideration that should be evident in all international sport tourism is sometimes overshadowed by political tensions, causing hostility where there should be empathy and understanding.

Since the selection of the host nation, 8 years ago, political tensions have certainly overshadowed the event. The BBC recently reported that England should wear black armbands during the World Cup to protest against the Russian regime, with a prominent MP suggesting that the FIFA tournament is a massive propaganda coup for Russia. Additionally the violent clashes between English and Russian football hooligans at Euro 2016 have led to concern of a repeat performance at the 2018 World Cup. Russia’s significant investment in the tournament, and the need to avoid any tarnishing of the event, has led to Russian hard-core supporters being contacted by police and officially warned to behave. Similarly local UK supporters have also been warned, and in some cases had their passports confiscated by police for the duration of the tournament.

The role and responsibility of football in the world is significant and its importance in social cohesion and nation building should not be underestimated. Conversely, we should also recognise the power of football to incite violence and xenophobia. Regardless of the political tensions that overshadow the tournament this year, it is hoped that the UK and international sports tourists travelling to Russia on their FAN IDs (a personalised spectator’s card – offering visa-free entry to Russia for supporter’s holding World Cup tickets) will take the opportunity and time to explore, experience and engage with Russia’s culture and people. Only then can there be any hope of the mutual respect and understanding that football has the power to facilitate.

Follow Carol on twitter @cdesouthall

FdA Visitor Attraction and Resort Management


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Preparing for Brexit: Economic forecasts versus wishful thinking

During the Referendum campaign, Michael Gove notoriously commented that the British public had “had enough of experts”, in particular of economic forecasters. This article explains a little about (i) economic forecasting and (ii) why economic forecasts may be useful even if they cannot be completely accurate.

Economic forecasting is like medical diagnosis. The economy and the human body are both complex systems that are still imperfectly understood. Your GP has to make a diagnosis on the basis of limited information: headache; flue; or meningitis? From the perspective of public health advice, the situation is no less difficult. For example, official advice on diet is much contested. Advice changes as new evidence becomes available.

When economists forecast or predict the impact of Brexit, they start with a diagnosis of the current “health” of the “patient”. Is the UK economy delicate or in rude health? Since experiencing the economic equivalent of a heart attack during the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09, the UK has undergone stagnant productivity (and, hence, wages), low investment, record levels of household debt, public sector austerity, and now low growth during a world economic upturn. Economists diagnosing the patient along such lines would tend to recommend against administering a shock to the patient. However, economists, like doctors and medical researchers, differ in their diagnoses. Other economists might point to unprecedented levels of people in employment and conclude that the UK economy is more or less fit, and that Brexit is just the tonic needed to make it thrive.

Even when medical experts can give an accurate diagnosis (headache or a brain tumour), they will typically be unable to give a completely accurate prognosis (if the diagnosis is a brain tumour, does the patient have weeks, months or years to live?). There are too many unknowns. However, the well-trained and experienced medical expert may be able to give useful guidance. It is similar in economic diagnosis/prognosis (or, in economic terminology, analysis/forecasting). Government ministers confronted with politically inconvenient forecasts often dismiss them by pointing out that forecasts are predictions of the future, which is unknown. In any case, they often continue, economic forecasts are usually wrong. Yet, just as medical diagnosis and prognosis are useful for guiding treatment, so economic forecasts – even though not precisely accurate – can be useful for guiding government policy. For example, forecasts of economic growth enable the planning of government borrowing and/or tax changes to fund spending commitments. Such forecasts offer broad guidance on the future state of the economy and thus a rational basis for policy. In short, expert forecasts are the alternative to wishful thinking. As such, economic forecasts help to guard against astonishment and panic as the drivers of policy.

One reason why economic forecasts were so easily dismissed during the Referendum campaign – and subsequently – is that most forecasters failed to foresee the Global Financial Crisis. Unfortunately, for most – although by no means all – reputable economists, financial crisis was an “unknown unknown”. (In public health, a rough analogy would be failure in the early 1980s to predict the appearance and rapid spread of AIDS.) In contrast, forecasting the economic effects of Brexit – and now its more or less “hard”/”soft” variants – is to think about “known unknowns”. “Known”, because we know roughly what is coming; but “unknown”, because we cannot know its precise consequences. The consequences of Brexit are unknown and so must be estimated – in other words, forecast. In preparing businesses and government for Brexit, economic forecasts, if used within their limitations, have the potential to enrich understanding of likely threats and opportunities and thus improve preparations.

Disclosure: the author voted Remain, and would do so in future if given the opportunity.

Professor Geoff Pugh, Staffordshire Business School

Three Grassroots Organisations And Why The Future Of UK Esports Looks Bright – Jamie Wootton

Jamie Wootton is an esports blogger and enthusiast who started his blog, ‘Watch This Space’, in early 2018. Since then he has interviewed members of the UK esports scene including a photographer, Managing Director of an esports team and UK FIFA Commentator. Jamie also conducted an exclusive interview with Tom Deacon, former comedian and full-time desk host for Gfinity. Below is Jamie’s blog: ‘Three Grassroots Organisations And Why The Future Of UK Esports Looks Bright’

 

“Whilst it’s no secret that the UK esports scene has been lagging behind other nations in the majority of esports titles, the future is now looking bright for several reasons. Firstly, existing esports players and organisations are beginning to make a name for themselves. Recently, CS:GO player Smooya has joined Major Legends BIG, and exceL Esports had a quarter final finish at the EU Masters LOL tournament in Leicester; a tournament which featured some world renowned organisations and teams such as the Ninjas in Pyjamas and Origen. Secondly, a series of esports organisations have cropped up with the intention of promoting grassroots esports and helping improve the standard of play in the UK. The following article will explore three organisations that are helping the scene evolve including Gfinity’s Challenger Series; UKPL and Game’s Belong Arenas.

Gfinity Challenger Series

Gfinity’s Challenger Series has proved itself as being somewhat of a success. The subordinate league to the Elite Series supports competition in three different esports titles and showcases players who excel at their respective esport. Once the Challenger Series’ season is over, top gamers are drafted onto the esports teams that are part of Gfinity’s new franchised system. Although the league has elevated players to the next level of competition, the league faced some criticism at the beginning of its tenure. Some who were drafted into professional organisations were unhappy with their play time and disappointed at what little chance they had to prove themselves on the big stage. However, Kieran Holmes-Darby, exceL Esports’ owner, in a BBC3 interview, responded to this criticism by asking, “Why should it [the path into professional esports] be easy?” Despite some teething problems, talent drafted in through the Challenger Series have worked themselves to the top of their respective esports and proved themselves to be top tier professionals. Rannerz for instance, along with his team mate Zimme, managed to pick up the Gfinity Elite Series Season 3 trophy for their organisation AS Roma Esports Fnatic. Rannerz proved himself in the Challenger Series and was drafted in by one of the world’s most elite organisations and went the distance to demonstrate why he is the best.

UKPL

Inspired by ESEA’s RankS and created on the foundations of Faceit hubs, UKPL has become the proving ground for semi-professional, and professional, CS:GO players in the UK. It has provided them with a platform to rise through the ranks and progress to the globally recognised FPL, from which, many of today’s young Counter Strike professionals, such as Mousesports’ Ropz, have elevated their performance and made a place for themselves in pro scene. Despite its infancy, UKPL offers competitors prizes for placing in certain positions in their leagues and caters for upcoming talent, giving them a podium from which to get noticed and picked up by UK or international organisations. UKPL by nature is grassroots, however not the badly run and embarrassingly unorganised type of grassroots. On the contrary, the service is run by some of the scenes most experienced professionals and boasts having the likes of seasoned veteran MightyMax, Epsilon Esport’s very own coach Kieta and an industry leading observer in the form of Sliggy in the role of admins. The circuit’s 4 leagues offer their 4000+ members a chance to shine, progress and prove themselves to outside organisations.

GAME’s Belong Arenas

GAME’s Belong Arenas aren’t the first of their kind in the UK as similarly styled gaming centres and tournament venues have been around for decades now. However, having been there and experienced it first hand, I get the impression that they have nearly perfected the gaming centre experience. Although GAME itself is a nationwide chain and its Arenas follow suit and therefore would struggle to be classed as grassroots, I do believe its fair to say that the steps the business is taking are in the interest of grassroots esports and appear to have a focus on improving the scene. Due to there being 19 Belong Arenas across England, Scotland and Wales with each being backed by GAME, they can all compete against one another. By joining their local Arena’s “tribe”, players from any background can compete against other Arena’s “tribes”. Members of tribes take part in weekly events and community nights at local Arenas and, at the end of season, a grand final takes place. Recently, the grand final took place on a large stage at Insomnia 62 and saw tribes battling it out, each representing their region, for glory. Watching it live in person surrounded by roughly 100 other engaged spectators felt awesome, but I can’t begin to imagine what it must have felt like from the players perspective. It must have been so surreal. Whilst this sort of opportunity doesn’t provide teams and players with a contract or salary, it does provide a platform from which competitors can experience a professional competitors lifestyle and, as such, compete and prove themselves on big stages in front of hundreds.

So, to conclude, whether it’s the Challenger Series’ efforts to put players into a premier competition through a sound league and drafting system; UKPL’s determination to improve the UK CS:GO scene by providing an environment for UK players to play and shine amongst one another or even Game’s push to build a communally competitive spirit in their Belong Arenas by hosting community nights and regional tournaments, grassroots esports in the UK is looking like it’s on the up.”

Jamie Wootton, Esports Blogger 

Love esports? Why not study on our BA (Hons) Esports course, or if you already have a business, computing or digital related degree why not study on new our MA Esports course!

 

Free training for over 50’s!

Have you got to that point in your life where you feel its time for a change, a new direction, new job or new career? Well self-employment can offer a more flexible form of working, that may allow older people to stay in work for longer. Age UK says that older workers are more likely to have a higher chance of success with over 70 per cent of these businesses lasting over five years.

Still not convinced, well one of our Silver Worker trainees is a lady who through illness had been unable to work for the latter part of last year. She says it made her think about where she was “after over 60 years on life`s highway” and where she wanted the next part of her journey to take her.

She signed up for the Silver Workers free business start up training and has now taken the next steps in achieving her goal. She said:

The Silver Workers project has been catalytic and came at just the right time to help me to look at what transferable skills and talents I have.  It started my development of ideas that could become a new business and build on my previous work and experience”.

 “I have been to three sessions so far and I have started to answer my own question, `who am I` by listening to other people in the group, speaking about my ideas and using the Silver Workers platform.  Even today I am still working with my ideas and as with any creative process there is a developing sense of where I am going but I don’t think I am fully there yet.”

 “this also helped me to understand not only my strengths but also areas that I need to work on.  My confidence is not always so good with networking and talking to people about myself and what I do, so albeit I shy away from this I know it is an area for development as I journey on with my business”

 “Thank you, Hazel, Tom and Marzena for helping me to understand that even being over 60 I can be creative and have something valuable to offer”

Staffordshire Business School have developed this project which includes face to face sessions and on-line support allowing people to work at the pace that suits them. This course will suit anyone looking to develop skills to either set up a business or looking to get back in to work The course can help to develop both the confidence, mind-set and skills in this area.

If you would like to participate in this free training, then please contact Hazel Squire at h.squire@staffs.ac.uk  or Marzena Rezska at Marzena.Rezska2@staffs.ac.uk

 

The Meghan Markle Effect

Some of us will view the nuptials of Prince Harry & Meghan Markle as an excuse to celebrate a royal event and share the day either watching on television, online or with friends & family. Others will prefer to save their energies for the FA Cup Final later in the afternoon. Whatever your views on the Royal Family, Meghan Markle is not only entering one of the most famous families in the world but also one of the most successful global brands. The Royal brand generates annually upwards of £1.8bn to the U.K. economy (Brand Finance 2017) and Meghan herself is expected to generate £150m for British fashion brands over the next year (Ibisworld 2018).

St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, the venue for the Royal Wedding

Yet the Royal brand is not just a twenty-first century invention. Previous generations of royals have used their brand to leverage value in some less orthodox ways. Queen Victoria is hailed as championing the Scottish Highlands as the romantic tourist destination of well-heeled Victorians of the nineteenth century. Prior to that George III, raised the profile of Brighton as the Regency destination of the eighteenth century. More recently the current Royal brand has adopted a more overtly commercial stance extending their franchise to include multiple product lines from tea towels & cushions, celebration china & visitor experiences to the royal palaces. However, it is the secondary brand associations that generate the most income. When the Duchess of Cambridge steps out in a new outfit, within minutes the product line can be sold out, due to the speed and interest on social media.

So what value will Meghan bring to this hugely successful global brand? Interestingly she brings to the brand something that many commentators of the wedding of the year have overlooked. Unlike her contemporaries & predecessors, past Duchesses and Princesses, she brings a highly successful acting career. With the ageing population in the UK, the Royal Family needs to reconnect with Generation Z (16-25 year olds), and Meghan may be the person to do this. A quick chat with members of this generation shows the chasm in comparison between Meghan and her royal contemporaries. Views such as Meghan’s successful career and her broader life experiences, her ethnicity and her obvious contemporary beauty connects her with this generation more strongly perhaps than her future sister-in-law. So this is her brand strength. She is strong articulate and intelligent. Unique and authentic.

So what are the dangers this Royal brand could face? One is over-exposure, which always devalues a premium brand. The other is over extension into excessive product lines and mass commercialisation and linked with this a lack of exclusivity and authenticity. If Meghan wants to become more than a fashion icon she will need to navigate these brand waters carefully.

Official Engagement Photo https://twitter.com/kensingtonroyal/status/943813005770395648

On Saturday Meghan will enter this world. She will step out in a wedding dress worth thousands of pounds and instantly Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp & Facebook will go into overdrive. Images of the first glimpse of the dress will go global across the digital stratosphere and Meghan will become one of the most talked about human beings on the planet. Whatever your view on the Royal Family, the firm is now a brand. Managing this Royal brand online and off will be a challenge, but with her experience in the commercial world of TV and media Meghan should be better placed than most to deal with this – we wish her and her future husband well, health and happiness and a full & meaningful life growing the Royal brand.

 

Vicky Roberts, Senior Lecturer in Staffordshire Business School

Consent to using cookies is “baked” in the GDPR

Recently, you may have noticed when you log onto a company’s website or an Application (App) like Google or Twitter, there are alerts that their terms and conditions have been revised, or their privacy policy has been updated. You might also be inundated with requests for your consent to the use of cookies when visiting their site (refer to the examples below).

Example 1: ”Cookies on JohnLewis.com

Source: www.johnlewis.com accessed 3 May 2018

These types of notices are likely due to the fact that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDRP), which was passed by the European Union in 2016 and is coming into effect on May 25, 2018.

Example 2 of www.Barbour.com/uk request for consent to using of cookies on their website

Source: https://www.barbour.com/uk accessed 3 May 2018

The GDPR is a new digital privacy regulation which standardizes different privacy legislation across the EU. It is a legally binding regulation. Ignoring it could lead to fines of 4% of a company’s global turnover, or fines up to £17.6 million (20 million Euros) whichever is higher.

Explicit and informed consent is now required if a company wants to collect any personal data about a European citizen. This is not just having individuals check a consent box on the company’s website. A company will have to inform individuals exactly where their data is going. As well, individuals always have the right to say “NO” to their data being collected, that is, a company can’t stop an individual from using its website just because the individual does not consent to the company’s collection of his or her personal data. In the past, individuals would likely agree to a trade-off, that is, you can collect my data if I can use your site or use your app. That has now changed.

The GDPR provides individuals with the right to access their own data that the company has collected and individuals also have the ability to request that their data be deleted. Companies will be limited in the amount of personal data they can collect to that which is actually needed for specified and legitimate purposes.

Example 3: www.Cadbury.co.uk’s “Accept the use of cookies”

Source: https://www.cadbury.co.uk accessed 3 May 2018

Interestingly, even if a company is based in Australia, for example, the rules of the GDPR apply to them if a European citizen visits the company’s website or uses the company’s apps. So companies will need to be compliant with the GDPR even if they are based outside of Europe.

There is also special protection for children’s personal data. Companies who offer online services to children may need to obtain a parent’s or guardian’s consent in order to collect the child’s data, unless the child is 16 or over (although this may be lowered to 13 years old in the U.K.).

GDPR Basics for Marketers:

  • Ask for consent every time you collect data from someone, including tracking cookies – if you do not get consent you cannot track or collect it. Develop a way to track consent.
  • If people supply personal data on your website, then you need to make sure you have a way to provide this data back to people if they ask for it.
  • You will need a way to delete data, if requested to do so.
  • You may need to put systems in place that can verify individuals’ ages and a method to obtain parental or guardian consent, if required.

*For more information on the GDPR, please see Information Commissioner’s Office website at: https://ico.org.uk/

*Be sure to obtain legal advice. This content is meant only for educational purposes

Fatimah Moran, Senior Lecturer at Staffordshire Business School

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