Q&A with KTP Associate: Joe Morecroft

Name: Joe Morecroft

Role: KTP Associate for Extech Cloud

Project details: 2 year project which aimed to develop and implement a transformative and disruptive business innovation strategy. New knowledge was brought into the company from academics from the University of Brighton Business School, via the KTP Associate, Joe.


Why do you think KTPs are important?

It’s beneficial for all three parties – the university, the company and the Associate. The company has access to knowledge from top-tier academics, the university gets access to industry and real challenges, and the Associate benefits from both. Everyone mutually benefits.

How did you find out about the KTP scheme and the job opportunity?

Luck! I was speaking with a family friend, who just so happened to be working with KTPs as one of the academics. She was giving me career advice, and after a while the KTP came up in conversation. It interested me, so I applied and luckily, I was hired!

How did the KTP offer you something different?

The benefit of the KTP is that you have the backing of the University and academics. They help you with evidence-based knowledge, rather than ‘best practice’ myths. It allows you to then apply tools and models in industry and see real outcomes.

How did you use your personal development budget?

I used it for training, notably with a course called Aware Competitive Intelligence and a mini-MBA in Marketing. Both were excellent. The personal development budget was one of the best things about the KTP.

What was the most enjoyable aspect of being an Associate?

The conversations with the academics and learning from them. Spending a few hours each week with both my mentors was hugely beneficial to me and my career. To work with the academics was one of those opportunities that are rarely comes along in life, and I was fortunate enough to have that for two years.

What are you hoping to do next in your career?

Take what I learned from the KTP, improve it and use the experience to continue developing my career.

How would you describe your KTP experience, in three words?

Paul Levy’s biscuits. We could always depend on our lead academic to always bring biscuits to meetings and quarterly reviews to get the discussion going!

Why would you recommend KTP to other graduates?

There are several benefits that come with being a KTP Associate: mentors, personal development budget, university access etc. Use the time wisely to develop yourself and make the most of the benefits that come with being a KTP Associate.


Find out more about being a KTP Associate on the graduate page of our website, or see the business pages for more information on the scheme.

Using data mining to Do things better

– By Billiejoe Charlton, KTP Associate, Do Something Different

As part of my KTP work with Do Something Different Ltd and University of Brighton, I recently attended and presented a paper at the 7th International Digital Health Conference in London [link: http://www.acm-digitalhealth.org/ ]. Held at 30 Euston Square – the headquarters of the Royal College of General Practitioners – the conference offered the opportunity to disseminate the scientific findings from my KTP project to an interested and knowledgeable audience, and raise awareness of the vital work that Do Something Different [http://www.dsd.me/] is doing to help people change their lives for the better. It was also a wonderful chance to network with like-minded professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds, and learn about exciting new developments in the field of Digital Health.

The theme of the conference was “Global Public Health, Personalised Medicine, and Emergency Medicine in the Age of Big Data”, and it attracted experts from many fields, including medicine, disaster management, sensor technologies, data mining and social marketing. Kicking things off was Dr Oliver Morgan from the World Health Organisation, whose fascinating keynote asked, “How can we make better use of data to protect people’s health and save lives?”. Dr Morgan described the WHO’s development of a new global surveillance system for disease outbreaks, which will bring together data from national public health systems as well as from less structured sources such as news and social media reports. This set the tone for an event where the focus was firmly on using emerging technologies not for the accumulation of profit but for the benefit of all.

The research I presented is about how we have used data mining techniques to improve the behaviour change programmes delivered by Do Something Different. Each such programme consists of a series of personalised “Dos” – small recommended activities to help people practice behaving in new ways and break their habits. These behavioural prompts are delivered by a smartphone app, or by SMS or email. The approach is based on decades of psychological research, and programmes have been designed to address many personal development goals, such as smoking cessation, stress reduction, better diabetes self-management, leadership skills and so on.

A slide from my presentation: Dos are prompts for small actions, delivered by smartphone, designed to help people change their behaviour.


In our research we have applied data mining techniques to interaction data and psychological questionnaires from a sample of Do Something Different’s users. Our data set included information about 15,550 people who have taken part in a Do Something Different programme. Using correlation networks and regression models, we were able to construct a new, more precise model of the connections between the behaviours promoted by Do Something Different and a person’s wellbeing and happiness. This has led us to refine the contents of the programmes. The paper, titled Using Data Mining to Refine Digital Behaviour Change Interventions [link: http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=3079468 ], is co-authored with John Kingston, Miltos Petridis and Ben (C) Fletcher. Interested readers can try out Do Something Different today by going to https://dsd.me/get-started/.

My presentation was in a session on Study Metholodogies, which also featured a fantastic talk by Emily Keane from charity Save The Children, about the use of a smartphone app in the treatment of malnourished children in Africa. The app replaces paper-based child registers for recording data, and guides the health worker step-by-step through the treatment protocol, so that no steps are inadvertently missed. Video illustrations show how to correctly measure a child’s mid upper arm circumference, a key indicator in assessing nutrition, which is frequently performed incorrectly.

Away from the talks, some exciting technology was on display. I was particularly impressed by the Advies.chat system (http://www.soaaids.nl/en/advieschat), a “chatbot” advice tool that offers free and anonymous advice about sexual health and STI testing to young people, based on clinical guidelines. The developers note that “over 20 years of experience in one-on-one counseling via telephone, e-mail and direct message chat about STIs, HIV, testing and prevention were manually translated into structured responses to common questions”. This approach was thought-provoking for me, as Do Something Different is currently exploring ways to improve its user interaction experience.

I returned from the conference having made useful contacts, and more motivated than ever to work on my KTP project, where we are continually looking for new ways to use technology to help people make the changes they want in their lives, and be happier and more fulfilled. I hope to attend the conference again next year, and present further discoveries from analysing data about behaviour change.

– Billiejoe Charlton, KTP Associate, Do Something Different

Streamlining processes with KTP – Derek Covill

What it’s about

Earlier this year, we completed our KTP project with Dando Drilling International which was an exciting project that generated lots of new knowledge and processes within the company and that provided some great case studies for my teaching. The project went from strength to strength and the success shone through as the project was recently awarded the highest mark for KTP, a grade A (Outstanding) and Jugal our Associate was shortlisted as a Business Leader of Tomorrow. We published a paper in the 2013 KTP Associates Conference on the supply chain integration work we did with local suppliers, and are in the process of publishing an academic paper on the design of bespoke data management tools. The project has of course had its share of ups and downs; there were times where the company have had all hands on deck to deliver an order on time and times when I was super busy with marking, but other times there was great fusion between the academic and company staff which ultimately delivered great solutions.


A bit of background

Dando are based locally in Littlehampton and are the only designers, manufacturers and sellers of water and mineral drilling rigs in the UK – and they’ve been going for over 140 years! The project was set up to implement new design processes and to improve supply chain management in their products – a very exciting project with a very impressive company. We were really keen to work with Dando for a number of reasons; because of their clear expertise in engineering design, their keen enthusiasm for innovation, their relatively close proximity to the University, and their all-round approachable nature.  They were keen to work with us in order to bring in some fresh thinking, some engineering design expertise that they could draw on and some supply chain integration knowledge which they could apply both internally and to their own supply chain.


The project team

The project team included Jugal Desai (Design Operations Engineer and KTP Associate), Erik Dalley (Operations Director and Company Supervisor), Martin Fitch-Roy (Managing Director and KTP chairman), Gina Fitch-Roy (Finance Director), Dr Mark Jones (Faculty Academic Director), Dr Kaiming She (Senior Lecturer in Hydraulics, Coastal and River Engineering), and me (Dr Derek Covill – Senior Lecturer in Engineering and Product Design.


What we achieved

Key outcomes in the project have been:

  • The development of a bespoke Dando Design Data Management system (D3M) to support, track and respond to the internal flow of design and decision data. This has been extended throughout the company and is linked with the company’s Materials Requirement Planning (MRP) software. It’s also being tailored to work with suppliers, to allow for the most impactful integration of the supply chain.
  • An insightful supply chain analysis of key suppliers to see what changes the company can make to their relationship with their suppliers in order to have the most impact on the flow of information and the streamlining of processes.
  • Operations tracking analysis – since there are many logistical balls to juggle at one time on any one order, operations tracking has helped to support internal decision making and identify sticking points which has streamlined internal processes and speeded up time to delivery.
  • Attendance at the 2013 and 2014 KTP Associate’s conferences in Brighton were a great chance for us all to get out of the office, network with others (we made some great links with companies who can help a) me with my teaching, and b) Dando with their software) and it was also a great chance to show off our wonderful KTP Associate and for him to realise how much we value him. At the most recent Conference, Jugal wowed the audience with his passion for KTP as keynote speaker.
  • 12 successful student projects at the company which added value to the project as wel as providing our students with a great opportunity to hone their skills within a company. Such was their success that the projects resulted in 2 excellent University of Brighton graduate engineers being employed on a full time basis at Dando Drilling.


In summary

The KTP with Dando provided a great opportunity for me to integrate my teaching and run student projects with live projects that were aligned with the needs and interests of the company. The students were able to get valuable feedback from the engineers and management at Dando who went out of their way to support the projects throughout.  A publication is in the offing and we have evidence of impact for the next REF. The whole KTP project was a pleasure to be a part of; I’m looking forward to continuing to work with Dando, but also looking forward to my next KTP!