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Maurice Smith, Author at Francis Moran & AssociatesFrancis Moran & Associates

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‘Digital media’ evades easy definition, and so proper measurement

By Maurice Smithdictionary

Define the term “digital media.”

Easy, right? It’s all about tablets and smartphones and the super-duper things we can do with them.

No, it’s all about the content that flows through and to these devices and many more. You know, apps and all that. Video…

Wrong. Digital media is an entire industry that defies definition because it is completely nebulous. It resides within the term “creative” yet it’s technical at the same time. It sits across many disciplines, from publishing to e-commerce.

Such is the debate I am grappling with right now. As chairman of the somewhat grandly-titled Industry Leadership Group on Digital Media in Scotland, I should know the answer to the definition question above in my sleep. Yes?

Well, actually no. As a group, we are attempting such definition at the moment. Or, more accurately, whenever two or more of us have any dialogue.

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The ultimate marketing challenge: Final Fling helps plan your own death

By Maurice Smithfinal_fling

How do you get people interested in planning for their own death?

It sounds like the ultimate marketing challenge.

As Tom Farmer, the founder of KwikFit, the UK tyres-and-exhaust chain, once remarked, “Nobody wakes up in the morning and says ‘I wish I had a set of new tyres for the car’.” Very few of us really want to plan our own funeral.

But that convention is changing. Driven, perhaps, by the decline of traditional churches and the growth of agnosticism, people are more open to the idea of planning their funerals, just as readily as they might prepare a will or bequeath personal items to loved ones.

Funerals are becoming less religious and more like joyous celebrations of life. It’s not unusual to hear rock music at the end of a funeral ceremony these days. It is also becoming more common to find burials taking place in remote and beautiful parts of the country, with the deceased buried in environmentally-friendly cardboard or some other sustainable container.

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When one city hogs a national economy

Editors Note: As guest blogger Denzil Doyle addressed last month, Canada is a branch-plant economy with fewer and fewer head offices, which are usually the driving force behind the R&D needed to create a strong innovation economy. In today’s post, Maurice Smith relates Scotland’s comparable situation as a result of the concentration of economic decision-making in the south of England and how this impacts the rest of Britain. 

3_articleimageBy Maurice Smith

The independence debate is dominating Scottish political debate right now, and will continue to do so for at least the next 15 months.

On Sept. 18, 2014, Scotland will decide whether or not to remain within the U.K. The political debate embraces many issues, but the biggest is the economy.

I realize I don’t have to tell readers in Canada too much about the nuances of constitutional debate. TV reporters in Scotland and Quebec are already boosting their air miles crossing the Atlantic to produce speculative pieces about next year’s poll.

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In search of that Entrepreneurial Spark

By Maurice Smith

Jim Duffy is a man in a hurry. Since creating Entrepreneurial Spark little more than a year ago, he has expanded twice, helped more than 130 would-be entrepreneurs and stirred up the start-up environment in Scotland.

Who is Jim Duffy? A former police sergeant who moved into business – with mixed results – Jim won a Saltire Fellowship (a quasi scholarship funded by the Scottish Government) and landed himself on a course at Babson College, Massachusetts.

He returned to Scotland, inspired by all that the greater Boston area had to offer business start-ups, from the high tech spin-outs of MIT to the slam-dunk pitching of hopefuls taking part in the high-profile Mass Challenge.

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Do you know what your customer actually wants?

By Maurice Smith

I once spent a fortnight in Silicon Valley being trained in strategic planning. It was a fantastic experience. We spent the first week in groups trying to invent new products and industries, a motley crew of scientists, financiers and creatives.

In the midst of the workshops, a very opinionated participant from Miami told us – not once, but twice – that there were many modern technical inventions that no one had ever asked for – the minivan and the fax machine for starters.

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