I went back to University this week. Not as a returning student, but instead to give a lecture to the current students on the Masters course I completed. I was letting them know about my dissertation, and the methodology I'd used to do my research. It was fun to revisit it, and to share it with them.
Part of my aim in setting up my own consultancy is to have more time for my own research and writing, so reflecting on that as a process for the lecture was extremely valuable for me too. I could talk all day about my research, but could I also talk about valuable insights to analyse how I'd 'done' it too?
I think I did a good job - the students seemed engaged and asked lots of questions. Questions really help. Some were wanting to know more about my research. Others wanted some very practical knowledge on 'how to do' the research. Others were keen for me to wear their class 'research goggles', and have photographic evidence to share, which apparently help them to focus and see things differently. I hope I added to that.
As I answered I reflected that the process was the same as I employ in many work settings too - particularly with new tasks, new contracts and with new ideas. Spending time finding out was much information as possible, being disciplined and organised in not only how I collect it, but how I organise and plan how to use information, are all crucial for me.
Research is so important, especially if like me you are curious to fill in the gaps and make improvements, explore possibilities and develop a new set of 'evidence' to support future work. It can be tempting to just 'jump in' but I prefer reflection, collection and then projection. If this is something you think I can help you with, get in touch...
I'm hopeful that 2018 is going to be a great year. It's often the last thing you want to say out loud, just in case, but as we head into a new year I am feeling positive, curious about what will occur and determined to make the most of every opportunity that comes along.
I left 2017 behind with a fun appearance on television. Not my usual way to see out the year, but a great way to celebrate a year of change. I was asked to be part of a BBC programme looking at Scotland's changing relationship with 'going out'. The show was presented by the voice of Love Island, Iain Stirling, romping through the decades starting with the 1950s.
My role was to discuss the weird and wonderful food and drink of the 1970s at a recreated dinner party in a stunning Glasgow home which has been preserved in all it's 70s glory. I'd been asked as a result of the other work in my portfolio around retro food, academia and writing.
It was great fun to look back and remember Cheese Hedgehogs and strange banana dishes. On social media people responded by sharing their own reminisces of decades past as I mixed up a Snowball cocktail for the host. Thankfully, it also highlighted that things have changed in the intervening decades. Semi-dressed 'lovelies' on beer cans are not a welcome retro revival. The combination of polyester, crimplene and the naked flames of candles should never return.
In my food writing and research I spend a lot of time looking back, not with rose tinted glasses but with a reflective head thinking about what we can learn from times gone by to improve the current day. This is equally important in my consultancy role too. Often things seemed better 'before' but when we examine it more closely, not everything should be revived. Reviewing the past very much with an eye on the future is crucial.
If this is something you are looking to do, maybe I can help.
HI, I'm Kevin and Third Quarter is my Consultancy. Follow my adventures here...