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My Warwick Life: Davide Nicolini

Davide NicoliniThe My Warwick Life feature gives an insight into staff and students’ life at Warwick, considering both their work and social life on campus.

Here we hear from Davide Nicolini, who is Professor of Organization Studies, Warwick Business School; Co-director of the IKON research centre and Co-director of the Institute of Health. Most of Davide’s current research is in healthcare where he is studying the generation and circulation of safety knowledge, how top managers mobilise knowledge in their day to day work, and the process through which people with different backgrounds and disciplinary knowledges work together.

There’s no such thing as a typical day, but, in a nutshell, my job involves…

juggling things so that I have time for the important and enjoyable aspects of my work. I don’t teach a lot (not compared to other people anyway) but my courses tend to have an experiential element built in and I like to spend time with students (ask my PhDs...). Also I do a lot of research and the kind of work I do requires that I immerse myself in the things I study. Oh, and I enjoy immensely writing about what I find. All these three things require time and attract an exorbitant amount of emails, paperwork, meetings, deadlines... So the challenge is to clear my desk to make space for my field work or writing or rethinking my next lecture. I have to confess that I am only partially successful in doing so.

I had a really useful meeting recently with…

two of my young colleagues. We are writing a paper and I like to use flipcharts to think together. When you write things on flipcharts you really converse with your thoughts, especially when you post dozens of notes in a small room. At the end of the session we were literally surrounded by our own thinking. We took pictures with one of their flashy phones and took the ideas away with us.

It would be really useful to work more closely with…

colleagues from the art and humanities. For a living I study, describe, and analyse other people‘s work. I occasionally run into descriptions of work produced by novelists, poets, and artists. They often make me feel highly inadequate – they are often so much better than I am at capturing the interesting bit, the kernel of the question.

I recently attended an event where …

we experimented with a new way of sharing academic content. We called these "video posters". The event was the Biannual Poster event organised by the Institute of Health to allow people working on healthcare topics to meet and network. This time we offered participants the opportunity to ditch the old boring paper posters and opt instead for short videos where they communicated the results of one of their studies in a lively and direct way. Two hands-on training sessions were made available free of charge and a small cash prize offered to the best attempt. The video posters were uploaded onto a large screen and were accessible via a click of the mouse during the event. The results were brilliant! The things you can convey in three minutes when you use video instead of writing is amazing and this is a demonstration that good science does not have to be necessarily boring or off putting. See the results for yourself on the Institute of Health website. This was very much a living experiment, a sort of proof of concept and I hope others will take up the idea, use it, and develop it further.

I'm really enjoying working on…

studying hospital directors by shadowing them for extended periods of time (I am a very big person, so this is not easy). Observing their day to day dealings and getting to see the person behind the role is enlightening – the sort of things Shakespeare was so great at writing about.

The best thing about working at Warwick is…

there is a lot of collegiality. You realise this when things go awry. I know from my readings and research that large organisations like a university can only survive because of the invisible informal work of its members, usually based on good will and reciprocity. But one thing is reading it, another is experiencing it first-hand!

I used my Warwick Learning Account vouchers to…

learn how to play tennis. I had originally decided to learn how to speak Spanish. I went to a tester class and decided that at the end of a long day hitting balls hard was much more therapeutic... My colleagues and students agree!

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