Sustaining a Sabbatical with Innovation and Raspberries

I’ve previously blogged on planning and starting a sabbatical break from work. This time the focus is on sustaining one. It’s probably easier for people who are travelling but what about those, like me, who are primarily spending time at home – how do we resist turning on daytime TV?

My approach has been to line up things I am really interested in and which I would have struggled to do without the relative luxury of having time available.

Weather impact aside, the Christmas and New Year holiday season was interesting. A few friends said to me things like “you’re on a sabbatical so the holidays are no different for you” – meaning (I think) that they thought I wasn’t doing anything most of the time anyway…!

I made some changes over Christmas. I took a break from “working” on university related activities. I used some of the extra time available on immediate family and friends related activities, including enjoying a number of the mince pies pictured below which were baked by our younger daughter. There was also excitement in the Morgan household when Mrs M and I had our 7 seconds of fame, appearing (very) briefly on local TV news. All the feedback we received was, of course, focused on Mrs M’s hat. One day we may make it available on eBay and list it as “as seen on TV”

mince piesas seen on tv

In addition I went into overdrive on one of the focus areas of my sabbatical – writing a novel. In early January I finished the first draft. This was well ahead of schedule. I’m now taking a short break, before starting a first edit. In readiness, I’ve compiled a list of areas where further research and/or changes may be needed to make it (even) more of an interesting and intriguing read. We’ll see how that goes over the next month or two.

Research books

In terms of keeping away from daytime TV, I’m re-focused once more on university related topics. For example I’m writing draft material for a potential joint publication with a Professor at Loughborough University. We’re going to review progress and plans for it in early February.

Last week I gave a guest lecture at the University of York (pic below) for the People in Technology Based Organizations module. This was with second year students in the Electronics Department. The focus was on challenges and benefits of working for a large technology company plus leadership and communications skills for technical professionals. It was a very interactive session. The questions were excellent and I was impressed with the engagement and attitude of the students.

York Uni

During the coming weeks I’ll be providing input into, and delivering some of, the lectures for the new Innovation Management in Practice module at Leeds University Business School. I am really quite excited about this. The LUBS team have focused their MSc in Global Innovation Management on practical aspects as well as the theory of making innovation happen. This is excellent and much needed in my opinion.

It’s also great for me. Some of the content utilises my practical experience – for example the roles and skills needed to succeed in innovation management. For other items I need to carry out wider reading and research – for example on the latest thinking on Open Innovation. I will be learning, and making use of the knowledge when my sabbatical ends, just as the students will when they complete their studies.

I’ve also managed to fit plenty of other things over the last month. This has included lots of walking, watching local Yorkshire Britpop favourites Shed Seven and seeing Leeds United draw two all with Derby County. It was the first football match I’ve been to in years. There was a good atmosphere, albeit quite different to rugby, plus some interesting and, at times, very humorous singing and chanting.

Leeds United.jpg

At last we’ve also had a few dry days and I’ve been able to get into the garden. After a number of hours of digging and clearing, I finally managed to start and finish my new raspberry bed. The family and I are now look forward to the fruits of my labours.

Next time I plan to blog on innovation related topics – most likely related to content areas in the LUBS Innovation Management on Practice module.

Until then I leave you with good news on the Tadcaster floods front. Our town’s new temporary footbridge arrived yesterday. At this very moment it is being assembled like a giant Meccano set (pic below). It should be up in 2-3 weeks – assuming all the parts are in the box…

Tadcaster Bridge Meccano Set2


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