New Horizons of TV: Heading for Utopia? We posed the question


New Horizons of TV: Heading for Utopia? We posed the question

What we watch has the power to shape who we are today and inspire who we become tomorrow.

Prof Jonny Freeman, Leah Kurta and Polly Borden from i2 media research were among the speakers on the day of fast-paced talks, lively panel discussions and expert insights. Presenting our research, conducted with the DTG and its members, we highlighted how personalisation, 5G and new content discovery methods are transforming the TV landscap


Busy times!


Busy times!

It's been an exciting and busy first half of 2018 for i2 media research, and we've got even more going on in the lab right now.  More about that in a second, but first a few pointers to recent project outputs we’re really happy to share, in case you missed them.

1.      Watch a video presentation of work we have been doing with Facebook, on attention distribution in the living room.

2.      Read the report of the project i2 media research and Nesta delivered to the Digital Catapult, on how to measure audience response to immersive media experiences, launched at the end of June 2018:

3.      Through i2 media research’s collaboration with Nest Insight, exploring the behavioural science of lifetime savings behaviours, i2 media research attended the ABI (Association of British Insurers), HM Treasury and Department for Work and Pensions TechSprint hosted at the Aviva Digital Garage in Hoxton.  You may have watched the video on our website of team 9’s pitch on SERGE (Self Employed Retirement Goals Engine), now you can read the ABI (Association of British Insurers) report of the #TechSprint where the collaboration and pitch took place:

So the above are what have been keeping us busy the last few months.  Over the summer we several exciting projects in progress:

-          Our newest joiner, Leah, is leading an exciting new piece of research with IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and Self-Employed people) on the experiences and needs of IPSE members.  This builds on our research on self-employment and savings behaviours (described above).

-          We are running an interactive and generative session on The Savings Challenge at the Department for Work and Pensions’ “ Pensions Summer School”, on 25th July 2018.

-          We are presenting  to the winning start-ups on the Digital Catapult’s Augmentor accelerator, on how we can deploy the new methodology to evaluate immersive user experience, to inform its optimisation, which we developed in collaboration with Nesta, and Digital Catapult, also on 25th July 2018.

-          We have started a collaboration with local Lewisham fashion brand Tara Khorzad London, supported in part through Goldsmiths DeK programme, to develop a growth strategy for this exciting new brand already having great success on Asos.

-          Via the Goldsmiths Department of Psychology internship programme, with support from East Riding of Yorkshire Council and DVSA, we have two brilliant undergrads in the i2 media lab, extending our research on the effects of cognitive load on gaze behaviour when viewing a selection of the DVSA’s Hazard Perception Test clips.  The project is testing whether Mindfulness training can reduce the impact of cognitive load on distribution of eye movements.

-          We’ve started a new (for now, top-secret!) project focused on the future of media consumption and delivery – more of that in a separate post soon.

So, busy times, but we're always open to new projects and collaborations.  Please get in touch if you want to hear more about what we've been doing, and would like to discuss how i2 media research can work for you, at



How should we measure what audiences think of virtual reality?

[cross posted simultaneously, with NESTA's posting of this article]

In 2017 and 2018, we have seen exciting examples of VR experiences being created by cultural institutions in the UK. Major galleries and museums are likely to have virtual experiences attached to their exhibitions, such as the Modigliani exhibition at the Tate Modern or the Natural History Museum’s Hold the World VR experience with David Attenborough. Film, art and media festivals are opening their arms to immersive experiences, with stalwarts like Sheffield Doc Fest showcasing the best of the sector. Meanwhile its now no longer a novelty to see large-scale virtual commissions, such as Marshmallow Laser Feast’s ‘A Colossal Wave.’

The research suggests that the wider immersive sector, which includes augmented and mixed reality, is in fine health too. A study undertaken by Nesta for Innovate UK uncovers over 1,000 ‘immersive specialist’ companies generating over £660 million in turnover a year.

Despite these examples and impressive statistics, however, little is known about how audiences actually respond to VR experiences.

Are they able to differentiate between experiences or is the novelty of the technology still the overriding sensation? Can we disentangle what the cultural value to consumers of these experiences might be? Are we able to provide a sense of whether people might pay for this content in the future?

Commissioned by Digital Catapult, researchers at Nesta and i2 Media Research - a company spun out of Goldsmiths University of London - have been working to address these questions. To this end, we have conducted a lab experiment with 84 participants, giving them pre-and-post experience surveys with two pieces of virtual reality content, along with a follow-up survey after two weeks, in order to try and uncover more about their experiences and reactions to the content. Our survey instrument combines questions from consumer psychology and cultural economics.

Audiences are sensitive to different aspects of the virtual experience

The lab trials we conducted show that people are sensitive to the different types of content on offer. While all three pieces shown to the lab trial participants (two per person) received strong positive evaluations overall, there were notable differences on a range of indicators, such as whether the participant found the content ‘emotionally moving’ and the extent to which the content generated ‘unusual perceptual experiences’.

Psychological indicators such as ‘positive affect’ and ‘engagement’ can predict how good an experience the audience has

Within the study we were able to isolate some of the key predictors of what drove individuals to have ‘good’ (which were made up of an average of a range of different metrics) experiences within VR. While we only tested three pieces of content, the common predictors of what led to a good experience were:

  • ‘Positive affect’, which is a scale made up of ten mood-state items such as whether the individual indicates they are ‘interested’ or ‘excited’ by a piece of content and;
  • An individual's level of ‘engagement’, which is made up of measures related to enjoyment and the sensation or experience of losing track of time.

In each instance, the more intensely the individual experienced facets of these two scales the more strongly it predicted their overall positive evaluation of that piece of content.

In a more developed market, audiences will be willing to pay for immersive experiences

Testing the economic viability of content is challenging when mainstream adoption of the technology in question hasn’t taken place yet. Very few households in the UK own VR headsets and computers with the high specifications needed to run VR content, so questions about price are hypothetical to most. We therefore tested individuals willingness-to-pay for content in two future scenarios.

The first of these was a home-use scenario, where we asked how much people would be prepared to pay for content on a one-off rental basis, assuming they had all the equipment. The second scenario asked people whether they would be willing to pay for the experience to go to an ‘arcade’ style setting with friends, and take part in a few pieces of similar content consecutively. This concept has taken off recently in countries where arcades are more prevalent, such as Japan.

Overall, 58% of trial participants stated that they would pay for the home experience, and 70% for the arcade experience. The optimal price point for all three contents on average was £9 for the home scenario and £17 for the arcade scenario. While this was a small study, this has a high level of validity with current pricing of VR content, for example through the VIVEPORT or at one-off installations (such as The VOID, which retailed for £32.50).

Next steps

The UK looks set to double-down on the momentum around VR and immersive. The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund is betting on immersive content through it’s Audience of the Future programme, meanwhile funders such as Arts Council England are starting to invest in structured programmes such as Creative XR. Platforms have seen the potential too, with HTC Vive announcing a structured Arts Programme.

In the midst of this funding and interest in the field understanding audiences will remain critical, and we look forward to developing the methods from this study further in support of the sector’s development.

To read the full report click here.


Sam Mitchell

Programme Manager, Digital Arts & Media

Sam Mitchell is a Programme Manager in the Digital Arts & Media team at Nesta, working across a range of areas such as crowdfunding and business acceleration. Previously he was the R...

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Hasan Bakhshi

Executive Director, Creative Economy and Data Analytics

Hasan leads Nesta's creative and digital economy policy and research.

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Professor Jonathan Freeman

Managing Director, i2 media research limited and Professor of Psychology, Goldsmiths University of London



Engaging people in lifetime savings

Through i2’s work with NEST Insight, i2 media’s founder (Prof Jonny Freeman) attended the ABI (Association of British Insurers), DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) and HM Treasury convened Savings Tech Sprint #savingstechsprint, hosted by Aviva at the Aviva Digital Garage in Hoxton Square in March 2018.

The #savingstechsprint involved 9 teams (assembled from a mix of companies, including Uber, Tata Consultancy Services and NEST Corporation, amongst others).  Each team was required to select a research based persona for whom lifetime savings was a challenge, and develop an effective and workable technology and behavioural science based solution to engage people in lifetime savings to provide better for their retirements.

Jonny was in Team 9, with a brilliant group of people from Parmenion, Trezeo, HMRC, Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association, and Salary Finance, and pitched Team 9’s solution.  You can watch the pitch here:

Team 9 was delighted to win the judges awards for Innovation, and for Simplicity!

i2 media research is collaborating with NEST Insight to apply psychology, UX, human factors and behavioural insight to engage people better in lifetime saving.



We're measuring immersive, and changing shopping, in Austin, Texas thanks to EU@SXSW

Rewind 22 years and immersive media experiences were firmly in the domain of location based services, and a select handful of academic and commercial R&D labs. A visionary in the Independent Television Commission’s Technology Group saw the future then though and, with EU collaborative R&D funding, embarked on an innovative and future focused programme of research targeted at understanding human responses to immersive media experiences, with the goal of developing tools to inform their optimisation.

This enabled us to immerse ourselves in all things measurement around UX of immersive media, and resulted in our development of the ITC-Sense of Presence Inventory.  You can read about the development of our most used measure of user experience in immersive media in other places on i2’s website.  The ITC-SOPI was developed out of a multi-method approach to the evaluation of user experience of immersive media (mainly in i2’s Founder, Prof Jonny Freeman’s PhD).  17 years after we published the measure, supported along the way with funding and networking from the EU framework programmes for collaborative R&D, commercial work, i2’s own R&D investment, and academic and R&D funding from UK sources (including Innovate UK), the measure has been licensed to over 500 labs worldwide (academic and commercial) and cited over 800 times in the literature.

We’re very excited to be heading to SXSW 2018 in Austin, Texas courtesy of EU@SXSW to promote the new Immersive UX Evaluation services we now offer to content creators, stakeholders and funders.

Also featuring in our demos and talks at SXSW will be our connected retail platform, Flashy, which we’ve blogged about before.  A chunk of the founding research for Flashy was conducted in EU FP5, FP6 and FP7 projects (the latest including the Mindsee project: and the proof of concept we’ll be demonstrating was funded by Innovate UK (in the Mindscape project, 2015-2016).  Flashy gives retailers richer than ever insight into shopper behaviour in-store, and gives shoppers passive browse histories of physical retail outlets and Flash sales and communications on their smart devices.  We’ll be demoing it live in Austin!

Come and say hi at Palm Door on Sixth in Austin, from Saturday March 10 until Monday March 12 2018.  For more information, see:


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Test what optimises your VR experiences, using the Sense of Presence Inventory

Here at i2, we like to keep one foot firmly in the present, and another in the future.  We’ve taken this approach since we formed as a team (almost 20 years ago now). The result?  Insights, methods, measurement tools and expertise from our earlier research are now more relevant than ever.  And we want to make sure you know about it!

We’re guessing you’ve noticed how much Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are in the mainstream and tech news these days.  Engaging immersive experiences, and optimising a user's sense of 'presence' (being there) in content streams delivered to rich multi-sensory displays, are vital goals for immersive content/product developers. Whether for gaming and entertainment, learning and rehabilitation, social media, or other commercial digital spaces, knowing how to optimise the user experience is essential.  To know what works and doesn’t work needs a valid, reliable, and accessible measure of user experience in immersive content.  And that’s exactly what we developed back in 2001, and we're happy to say it is is still relevant, useful and well used today.

After extensive development work, in 2001 we published a new scale for measuring user experience of immersive environments (the ITC-Sense of Presence Inventory: ITC-SOPI).

Unlike many other tools available at the time which were bespoke for particular types/applications of technology, our measure was designed for a wide range of evaluation scenarios. It followed good psychometric development practices and the results gave us confidence in the generalisability of the measure. It has been available under a copyright usage agreement since 2001, following the paper’s publication in the MIT Press journal, Presence, Teleoperators and Virtual Environments.  You can read the original paper here:

Since then, over 500 researchers from around the world (largely from academia but also several commercial innovators) have  licensed the ITC-SOPI to use, and sometimes to translate it. It has been cited in the academic literature almost 800 times, demonstrating its value to the users of the measure.

We’re delighted that we continue to receive a steady increase in the number of usage requests as VR technology has become part of today's day-to-day reality.

If the ITC-SOPI sounds like something you could make use of in your work, or to understand how our knowledge and insight into user experience of immersion in VR and other media, please contact us for a chat! Email us at

notes: The development of the ITC-SOPI built on i2's founder (Prof Jonny Freeman)'s PhD work in an EC funded project (Framework Programme 4, ACTS - TAPESTRIES) led by the UK's Independent Television Commission (ITC),  after which it was directly funded by the ITC.  Its uptake was further supported by the EC's Future and Emerging Technolologies (FET) programme in Framework Programme 5 under FET's Presence Research Proactive Initiative (in the projects OMNIPRES and EMMA) and then in the EC's Framework Programme 6 (in the project PASION).

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Student Experience is more important than ever - invest in understanding it!

Is your pencil case ready? It's back to school time, and almost the start of the new academic year for our students at Goldsmiths.  For universities, understanding the student experience and improving student satisfaction is more important than ever.  NSS (National Student Survey) results inform TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework) ratings, and earlier this year some universities received unanticipated awards of Bronze and Silver.

The solution?  Invest in understanding your students’ expectations, and how you can better address them.
We've been exploring this area for a few years now, most recently (2016/17) conducting a large study with over 5000 students affiliated to a major UK Higher Education Institute (HEI) with global reach. The research focused on students' digital experiences, and we learned from students about their digital provision, expectations, preferences and more general attitudes to learning and education.  Through in-depth analysis of the massive data set we gathered, we developed 5 distinct profiles of 'typical' students from that university. Each 'type' had different needs and requirements from their campus, facilities, and digital learning resources.  Based on this insight, we developed a user-centred, data driven strategy and prioritised roadmap for improving the student experience for the HEI.  This HEI is delighted with their findings and in the process of implementing the roadmap.  Meanwhile, we’re developing a series of academic papers based on the research, for publication.

We’re really keen to apply our methods, insight and knowledge of this space on behalf of other HEIs (in the UK and internationally), to help you make your student experience as good as it can be.  To find out more about how i2 media research can help you to better understand your students and their expectations, please get in touch:




Back for the new academic year - and into new offices and lab space this month!

So, it's back to work time for us all after the summer break!  We hope you had a great summer.

We know where you're looking

We've been busy over the summer!  In late July/ early August we completed our fieldwork on our project for East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Safer Roads Humber on attention distribution whle driving.  We set our volunteer participants a series of surprises whilst they were driving on a closed track, and measured where they were looking and what they were attending to using eye tracking technology.  We are analysing where people look on the road ahead, where they look within the car, and how their behaviour changes when they're under different experimental conditions requiring various levels of cognitive engagement.  We also applied eye tracking to compare novice and experienced drivers' performance on the DVSA's Hazard Perception Test.  We're in the midst of the data analysis process right now, and will post about the results once they're released.  

The same technology we used in car can be applied to multiple scenarios.  We've previously deployed the same methods to understand the living room experience, consumer engagement with Out of Home advertising, user experience of apps and web experiences, and retail engagement.  If you're thinking of a study using fixed or mobile eye tracking, based on robust psychological theory and methods, get in touch to see if we can help.

New lab and office space

Whilst we've been busy with our research, Goldsmiths University of London (where we're based) has been busy building and kitting out our new lab and office space.  We're very excited about the new space.  It has dedicated spaces for our 'living lab' set up, and for our immersive Virtual Reality installation,  and the client viewing booth has been upgraded to a professional standard too.  We move in later this month and will share pics once we're settled in.   To book a study by i2 media research in our new facilities, get in touch!

That's all for now, but we'll post again soon. In the meantime, we're looking forward to hearing  from you:




UX Research One-Day Bespoke Training and Consultation

Since launching and delivering our short courses on Digital UX Research through Goldsmiths Short Courses last year, we've been asked on several occasions to deliver bespoke one-day consultations to individuals and companies wanting the same learning outcomes, delivered in a closed, personalised format with a focus customised to their requirements.  They've gone down really well, and as a result we've now launched them as a standard format.

Participants in the 1-day short course consultation have told us what they value most about this format: that you can bring along examples of the UX research challenges you are working on for us to focus the day around - without needing to be concerned about the confidentiality of the examples you bring along.  The fee for the 1-day bespoke training and consultation is £895 for the first participant in a session, with discounted fees for additional attendees (from the same product/service/ comms team).

As well as the learning outcomes of the standard short course, participants leave with:

  • a list of UX recommendations for the product or service they are developing/ working on, and either
  • a research roadmap for a product or service they are working on/ developing, or
  • a detailed research plan for a UX study/evaluation they are planning.

If you want the learning outcomes of our Digital UX Research short course, delivered in a format tailored entirely to your needs please email us to arrange a chat to discuss.



Video of i2 media at Bloomsbury Learning Environment's Demystifying UX event

Just available is the video and all the presentations from the keynote speakers and workshop providers at Bloomsbury Learning Environment's Demystifying User Experience, Design and Evaluation event, held on 23rd March 2017 at Birkbeck, University of  London.

Watch and download from here:

You'll see at the end of Jonny's presentation he let the audience know about the upcoming UX research course run by i2 media research, to be held on Tuesday 16 & Wednesday 17 May.  There are a couple of places left so book now to avoid disappointment!



i2's Professor Jonny Freeman on the BBC - social media use can have positive and negative effects

BBC Newsbeat were in contact with Jonny this week seeking comment on a recent US study reporting that high use of social media correlated with higher reports of being socially isolated. Jonny's commentary was played out on Monday's Newsbeat (6th March 2017), and is summarised online here:

Jonny pointed out that the US study authors make no claims regarding the direction of the relationship between social media engagement and feeling isolated, and that there is a lot of research showing that social media use can have both positive and negative effects on how users feel.


Flashy! Bridging shopper experience of online and physical retail


Flashy! Bridging shopper experience of online and physical retail

As you may have seen elsewhere on our site, for the past year we've been working with HW Communciations Limited via Innovate UK funding on the MINDScape project.  Through MINDScape we have developed to proof of concept a new service to bridge shopper experience of online and physical retail, built on a new technology solution which measures shopper behaviour in store to infer how interested a shopper is in a product.  The solution, which has the working title "Flashy" provides:

+ New instore analytics, for retailers (letting retailers know which products shoppers are considering, even if they don't buy them immediately)

+ Passive history of products explored instore, for shoppers

+ Mechanisms for retailers to deliver Personalised offers to delight shoppers based on the shopper's interaction with products in store

With a patent filed on the technology, we're currently meeting with retailers (and IoT and Beacon companies) to move to a live pilot of the solution in store.  We are also setting up a new Joint Venture between i2 media research and HW, to take Flashy to market.  More updates to follow, but if you're interested in finding out more, please get in touch (


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New @Goldsmiths Short Course from i2 media launching Feb 2016: Digital UX - evaluate and optimise

In today’s competitive digital environment, your company’s success depends more than ever on an in depth understanding of your customers. Building this understanding through key concepts in consumer and media psychology will provide you with a fresh, insightful, robust and actionable toolkit which you can adapt to your company’s needs, to optimise existing or create compelling new digital user experiences.

We have delivered similar training content in our most popular format: as a bespoke 1-2 day package for a company’s research/ insight/ design/ planning/ strategy/ management teams. 

Brand new for 2016 is our intensive 2-day short course format here at Goldsmiths University of London. This immersion in cutting edge UX research and development from an applied psychology perspective will give you the knowledge you need to develop insight to improve your competitiveness.  Through a focus which combines the robustness and independence of the academic approach, and the clear, actionable outputs of the commercial approach, the course will use i2 media’s portfolio of over 200 successfully completed research commissions to inspire your application of our methods to your company’s commercial opportunities.

We will still offer the course as a bespoke offering for your company too - for more information please get in touch.

But to get on our launch short course at Goldsmiths, book now!

If you can think of other people who might be interested in this courise, please let them know:   New format short course from i2 media @ goldmiths:…/digital-ux-evaluate-and-optimise/
2 day intensive immersion in our UX methods. 24-25 Feb, book now!


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Lessons from Black Friday 2014: RetailWeek/Akamai Webinar: "Holiday Shopping Trends: Preparing for peak trading"

With Black Friday 2015 around the corner, we thought we'd remind you that an in depth webinar discussing the topic is available online.  In April 2015, Professor Jonny Freeman took part in the RetailWeek/ Akamai Webinar "Holiday Shopping Trends: Preparing for peak trading".

The webinar was chaired by Retail Week’s commercial editor Laura Haywood and involved Jonathan Freeman, managing director at i2 Media Research, Anthony Norman, managing director at GfK, Michael Gooding, web performance evangelist at Akamai and Ben Perkins, Head of consumer business research at Deloitte.  The panel discussed the following:

  • Why was Black Friday such a hit with UK consumers last year?
  • What do retailers need to do to ensure they can meet consumer demand during these peak trading periods?
  • How can retailers understand their website capacities and vulnerabilities to better handle these capacity demands?
  • And what do they need to do to ensure that the customer experience matches next-level consumer expectations?

Jonny explained that Black Friday hits the perfect mix of rational and emotional drivers for consumers to engage.  Do you agree?

You can watch the webinar here:

To discuss the psychology of shopper behaviour with Jonny and the i2 media team, please get in contact.



i2 media team at The Modern High Street event hosted by Exterion Media

Professor Jonathan Freeman was at Tanner Warehouse in London this morning as a guest speaker at The Modern High Street event, organised by leading outdoor media company Exterion Media.

i2 media research, with its over 15 years' experience, was among the expert companies invited to talk at this half-day morning event, that had the aim to present results from a multi layered research project exploring the value and  the evolution of the high street into a social destination, driveing direct retail engagement. 

Understanding the dynamics behind shopping behaviors has always been at the core of i2's interest. In earlier qualitative research using observations and interviews with passengers in airports, i2 identified two factors that play a particularly important role in driving consumers attention to marketing messages: time pressure and focus. These two dimensions define i2's model of shopper behaviour and helped Exterion Media understanding the important role that mindset plays in receptiveness to advertising.

The model was extensively used during i2 media and Exterion Media's research collaboration,  both in i2's lab and in the more ecologically valid context of the high street. Results from the research were presented at the event as well as included in a white paper, produced by i2 media and Eyetracker, that was circulated to all attendees.

Other speakers at the event included:

  • Mark Palmer – Marketing Director at Pret a Manger
  • Alan Brydon – CEO at Outsmart
  • Jane Pritchard – Enterprise & Culture Director at Business in the Community
  • Peter Donohoe – Project Lead at Healthy High Street
  • Ian Redpath – Research Manager at Eyetracker

For more information please follow this link: or contact Professor Freeman at



i2 media team at ICT 2015 in Lisbon! Visit us on booth i12 (Innovate Area, Hall 2)


i2 media team at ICT 2015 in Lisbon! Visit us on booth i12 (Innovate Area, Hall 2)

We're delighted to let you know we're at ICT 2015 in Lisbon this week, demonstrating the CEEDs project ( which Professor Jonny Freeman Coordinated through the Psychology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London.

We're even happier to report that the CEEDs demo we'll be showing has been selected as one of the top 10 'must-see' projects at ICT 2015, by the conference/ show organisers (the European Commission):

In the demo you can see the BrainX3, developed within the project under the Scientific Direction of Prof Paul Verschure (SPECS lab, UPF, Bareclona) and implemented fully at SPECS lab, and in portable versions in London (at i2's lab) and in Padova (in Professor Luciano Gamberini's lab).

The CEEDs approach of implicit interaction with big data sets can be applied to a wide range of big data sets, and we will be pleased to discuss with you how we can develop a customised implementation of the approach to enable you to interact and engage with and make better sense of your big data.  

If you're at ICT 2015, pop along to Booth i12 in the Innovate Area (hall 2) at ICT 2015.

And whether you're in Lisbon or not, if you're interested in discussing, please get in contact.



Your invitation... to our research workshop on collaborative tools

Each of us will waste over 30 hours this month in business meetings that do not deliver any value. Ouch!

Is there a better way?

Helsinki University is partnering with i2 media research to conduct a research workshop to establish if collaborative tools can make a difference to the way we work. 

We are looking for 12 professionals from mid to large sized corporations to work with us for just 24 hours from midday on the 18th Feb to midday on the 19th Feb.   As thanks for your participation we will provide you with dinner on the evening of the 18th and a copy of the final report to use in your own business.  In the first instance please contact Professor Giulio Jacucci at and/ or