Personal profile

Research overview

Dan's proposed fieldwork will cover three primary pins of research pertinent to his area of study of technology innovation and futures research ensconced within the UK defence and security sector. Firstly, a review of the existing and relevant literature related to the focus and interest of anthropology and innovation to provide definitions and scope for the following work. This provides a broad base theory of innovation practice and process before beginning to allow us to contextualise as technology innovation and positivistic perceptions that prevail today.  Secondly, we look more specifically at anthropological debate around futures research and anthropologies of the future in connecting what will be termed our ‘futures-imaged’ and the tripartite temporality dependencies of technology innovation practices – past, present and future. By looking at concepts of speculation, prediction, planning, risk and uncertainty we can look at how others have positions future imaginaries as tools and methods of understanding. Thirdly, this is then viewed through a specific field lens of technology innovation within the defence and security sector to provide specific context for the following ethnographic fieldwork.  These three theoretical strands come together to look at the entanglements between technology innovation and future imaginaries to better understand how the future can be used as a tool to inform practice and action in the present day.

Dan previously studied Anthropology (BA Hons.) and Social Anthropology (MA Dist.) through the University of Wales, Lampeter up until 2004 when he then started working in the Higher Education sector as a business development manager and industrial liaison. In 2011, he set up his own business development consultancy business assisting innovation teams to position their solutions pan-sector but latterly focused primarily in the government, defence and security space. He has worked on numerous Defence-funded projects with various teams focused on commercial exploitation and use case design. Dan is now in a dual-role where he maintains a consultancy business with a small group of hand-picked clients alongside this PhD research through the social anthropology faculty at the University of St Andrews. This duality provides a ground-level understanding of the way in which innovation is perceived by multiple communities and how the differences (and similarities) in these perceptions can be useful in continued improvement in innovation theory and practice. The focus of my research is the lived experiences of those working in the innovation space.