Category Archives: News

LISA wants YOU!

Message from Dr Steve Smithson

SSmithson-150

If, like me, you studied Information Systems at LSE through ADMIS, MISI or MISDI (or even a PhD for the really keen) and you are an energetic individual who wants to remain close to their alma mater, then you should actively help LISA.

LISA is our LSE IS Alumni organisation that exists to create a sense of community by providing mutual support and a global network for its members. Since the establishment of the Information Systems group, over 4,000 people have graduated and gone on to build illustrious careers at some of the world’s most renowned businesses and academic institutions. Many have started their own businesses with great success.

Whether you are looking for old friends, networking opportunities with like-minded people, talented individuals to hire or future business partners, or if you’re revisiting the LSE campus to reminisce on old days over a beer, LISA can help.

LISA is an entirely voluntary organisation and is looking for enthusiastic alumni from around the world to join us and contribute, both in person and remotely, through the following activities:

• Social event organisation
• Writers for blogging/newsletter
• LISA Ambassadors worldwide
• Career mentors (including reviewing CVs)
• Start-up advice
• Academic networking
• Social media campaigning
• And many, many, more

If you are interested, please get in touch!!!
Contact committee@lisa-online.com.cp-uk-2.webhostbox.net with a short description of yourself including the year you graduated, where you are, and how you’d like to contribute. We look forward to hearing from you!

Hope all is well

Steve

Newsflash: IS Alumni Startup Acquired by Facebook

The very popular Moves App, which tracks time, distance, calories and other physical activity information, co-founded by LSE Phd graduate Aleksi Aaltonen, was acquired today by Facebook. Aleksi is Moves’ Chief Social Scientist and Chairman of the Board. Moves was also featured as a presenter at the LISA sponsored LNETM Meetup in 2013.

Press Release: http://www.moves-app.com/press

 

 

Professor Leslie P. Willcocks Inducted into Outsourcing Hall of Fame

LSE Information Systems Group Professor Leslie P. Willcocks has been inducted to the Outsourcing Hall of Fame  of Technology Work and Globalisation, an honour given by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals® (IAOP®) and is one of the most prestigious awards available to individuals working in the field of outsourcing.

Along with Mary Lacity, COP and Curators’ Professor of Information Systems , International Business Fellow at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and current LSE visiting Professor, Professor Willcocks was inducted into the Hall of Fame with Professor Lacity, at the Outsourcing World Summit in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA. Both inductees are co-author with notable work such as Outsourcing business processes for innovation , a cited paper in MIT Sloan Management Review.

“It is a real honour to be recognised for both academic contribution to the field and impact on global sourcing practices, especially as this comes from  the major international professional  association,   the IAOP,  with its 133,000 plus membership worldwide. The award was accepted by me  in honour of Ronald Coase, whose seminal work at the London School of Economics and Political Science on why firms exist led to his Nobel prize in Economics, and who died in late 2013.”  Willcocks told the LISA Newsletter.

The legions of students who had the privilege of being taught under Professor Willcocks and the rest of the Information Systems Alumni are very proud of his achievement.

 

Our Man in the North Pole

It’s high noon, and I am standing in Spitalfields Square. It’s zero degrees in London today and I can barely feel the rain droplets on my almost frozen nose. I’ve grown to love the London weather: it’s like thinning hair, there’s little you can do about it, might as well embrace it.

Whilst the wind blows on my bald spot, a shiver goes down my spine, not because of an East London draft, but of the thought of someone in their right mind would want to trek to the North Pole. I am meeting a fellow LSE Information Systems graduate, who’s about to do just that.

Chris Eglin graduated from LSE in 1994 and has had an interesting journey since. Interesting is one of the few words that can describe it because his is one certainly not a conventional one if there is such a thing. He may have labelled himself a “wannabe adventurer” but this story goes deeper than thrill seeking. The book cannot be read from the cover.

Chris was a victim of a serious knife attack in 2008 that almost made this story written in the past tense. As many graduates of the LSE, he works in the financial industry. While, on a work assignment in Stuttgart, Germany, walking back to his hotel one night, he was attacked by a drug addict wielding a knife. At the time, Chris had taken 136 flights in 17 months, and was both physically and mentally fragile. Chris had little say, for whether he gave him his money or not the man had intention. Futily, Chris defended himself and managed to throw him to the ground, yet during the scuffle, he was stabbed 4 times, with one jab missing his heart by a couple of inches. His website www.testyourcore.com/northwhat has a detailed account of the story that gives it better justice than this article could, or is purposed for.  Chris’ story begins in the aftermath of the incident, his journey to recovery, and his will to pay back for the people who helped him from the brink.

A few months after the attack, in May 2009, he travelled to the Great Wall of China thinking that he was on the way to recovery. Unbeknownst to him, he was in the full throes of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Oblivious to this, from September 2009, he had started commuting to Amsterdam on a weekly basis for approx 1 year and trying to get back to what he thought would be a normal life.

Then PTSD kicked in, and dark days ensued.

As an attempt to get out, Chris thought helping others may help him help himself, and he began doing volunteer work. After a brief encounter with a Scientologist at a Soup Kitchen, the hidden hand of life led him to the Spitalfields Crypt Trust (http://www.sct.org.uk/), a charity that helps people piece their life back together by providing help and assistance to others, and feeling part of a support network. As he physically recovered, volunteer work helped him heal on the inside, and deal with a severe mental trauma. Slowly, Chris began to take it to the next level: Andes to the Amazon, Vietnam to Cambodia, and then “North What?”.

I’ve seen his website and seen his pictures pulling a sled around Victoria Park, his self-declared fortress of solitude and spiritual home. He has also attended a couple of LISA events, but trekking to the North Pole is a game changer, so am not sure what to think when I meet him.

We are sitting at the back of a restaurant in Shoreditch, and we are talking about his training. A keen cyclist Chris is training for the trip by pulling sledges full of a weights or cycling around Richmond park. With an abundance of technology tracking his daily progress such as Runkeeper (www.runkeeper.com), twitter (@touchst0ne) and the ever present iPhone and iPad , the question whether IT does not matter (N.Carr), is challenged, because in this instance, it matters alot. Trekking to the North Pole for 8 days in subzero temperature requires both mental and physical conditioning of the highest measure. Chris has barely enough time to eat and sleep in between running, cycling and gym workouts to be able to track his progress, and having such applications makes it almost seamless.  He shows me how he did forty miles today, that I began to sweat myself.

As two IS grads, we eventually drift into discussions about the underlying technology, London, Finance, Startups and the meaning of life, as if we were transported into the Old Bank of England, suited and booted and sampling the ales…..

The story continues, and we move to another cafe near Spitalfields Crypt Trust, where Chris shows me his T-Shirts and posters promoting his journey, and promises to keep LISA posted on his progress, with the next report before he sets off to the coldest place on Earth.

Follow Chris:

Webpage: http://www.testyourcore.com/northwhat

Twitter (@touchst0ne): https://twitter.com/touchst0ne

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Eggers.Sledge

RunKeeper  (S1edge) : http://runkeeper.com/user/Eggers

Sponsor Chris on his JustGiving page:

http://www.justgiving.com/Spitalfields-Crypt-Trust

Book Review : The Man Who Sang Along

A novel by Steve Smithson
A novel by Steve Smithson

The Man Who Sang Along – By Steve Smithson
Paperback, 241 pages
£9.99 Purchasable at lulul.com

Life has a lot to offer, and If there was a city to exemplify that, London would be it. So how can someone be bored with life living in this mad city? A simple and short introduction to a book with an intriguing title draws one to a somewhat enigmatic, yet deeply insightful book that offers everything, by an author who will certainly offer much more.

Long serving LSE Professor Steve Smithson has just published his first novel “The Man Who Sang Along”, the story of Richard, a middle aged man at the cross roads of a past life and at the cusp of a new one: an end of a marriage, a new home and the promise of a new page. Moments of clarity sometimes come at unexpected times and in strange forms. In Richard’s case, it comes in the form of a stuffed owl. Moving out of a place he called home, leaving behind a relationship that he had become disillusioned with, two grown up sons that have left the nest, and an old car, Richard has little individual possessions to take with him to a flatshare in Mudchute in East London: a few Greatful Dead CDs amongst other cult musicians,  some clothes, and the stuffed owl.

The story begins with a life now behind him, and journey full of surprises, to which the novel carries itself nicely, with episode after episode that resembles the randomness of a London night bus: alcohol rich, unexpected, and hugely entertaining, if one keeps an arms length detachment from a surreal existence.
From Epping , to a council flat in Bermondsey , Richard travels to Jamaica, gets infatuated with a young lady, and changes a job he has held for decades.  The journey unravels, as the storyline flows as entertainingly as it is surreal that the reader is bound to get engulfed in the story that shuffles back and forth between past and present, reality, imagination, and optimism for the future.

For Londoners , the book strikes a chord:  Boring and self-absorbed colleagues, complicated family relationships, in a tough town: who has not had his hand in Jamaican weed and, who has not felt the melancholy of X-mas in London?  Under the watchful eye of his friend D’Arcy, Richard realizes that “times they are a changing”.
With an eloquently simple and creative writing style,  Smithson leaves a trail of breadcrumbs throughout the book, that leaves a point to ponder: can a stuffed owl symbolize changing times?

ADMIS Graduate Awarded Fulbright Scholarship

David Randall, an ADMIS’10 graduate has been awarded the highly regarded Fulbright Scholarship.
While studying abroad during his undergraduate degree, David stumbled upon the LSE Information Systems website, and its now retired ADMIS program. It caught his eye as a unique program at a predominantly social sciences university and he made it a top choice for his graduate studies. Prior to beginning his studies at the LSE, David spent a year at TNT, the parcel distribution company, working as a Service Assurance Analyst where he coordinated disaster recovery and business continuity
efforts.

For his Master’s thesis, David looked at a virtual team made up of members of an online community competing in a contest organised by the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency
(DARPA) – the same organisation that was responsible for the ground breaking work in switching networks that laid the foundations for the internet infrastructure.

The aim of the contest (known as the DARPA Network Challenge) was to utilise online communities to find 10 red balloons that were placed around the continental US for 10 hours on one day in December 2009. The team David investigated was comprised of a dozen or so people – located all around the world – who acted as a nerve centre for organising the rest of a 30,000 strong community and about 2,000 core participants. His thesis looked at the media synchronicity theory and with his collected data he was able to show that some key elements of the theory faltered when applied to the DARPA project team. David was a member of the team thus had primary source access to data from Google Wave (now a defunct project) and Skype.  Unsurprisingly, the thesis entitled “Ten Red Balloons: Virtual Teams and Online Communities – a Test of Media Synchronicity Theory” was awarded a distinction, the same honour that would apply to his overall degree. David swiftly followed up his work with a paper to be published in the upcoming edition of iSChannel.

With a background in computing and soon to be an ADMIS graduate, David was hunting for a PhD program, and applied for the Fulbright Scholarship in May 2010. With the outcome of his work at LSE still unknown, he did not give it much thought after applying and was instead focused on his research. He was then pleasantly surprised when he was invited for an interview the following August. David found the interview process to be somewhat rigorous, and was not overly optimistic about his chances, yet to his delight a month later he received the letter offering him a confirmed award for 2011-12. It later emerged during a reception with the US Ambassador at Fulbright’s pre-departure orientation, that one of the things that impressed the Director of the UK Commission so much during David’s interview was that the panel saw a Tweet he made about it after leaving – something he said he would do when being questioned about social networking during his interview.

The Fulbright Scholarship, of up to $25,000 towards tuition and living expenses for one year, also pays for GRE & application fees and comes with the invaluable support of the Fulbright commission through the application process, admission and beyond. After several months of applications and interviews David accepted an offer to study towards a PhD in Information Science at the University of Washington, in Seattle. At the University of Washington he plans to be working with a faculty member on Wiki Projects under a National Science Foundation grant and in the future hopes to get involved in NASA research on communications and the logistics of coordinating teams on the ground and those in space.

LISA wishes David the best of luck, in hope that one of our graduates would be partly behind the first tweet from the Moon: “@LISA Zero Gravity Information Systems”.