Robinson wins PMI 2017 Student Paper of the Year Award



Salford postgraduate student Neil Robinson to receive 2017 Student Paper of the Year award from PMI Education Foundation

25 June 2017 – Philadelphia, USA and London, UK – The Project Management Institute’s Education Foundation (PMIEF) has selected Neil C. Robinson, a postgraduate student at the Salford Business School, to receive its 2017 James R. Snyder International Student Paper of the Year Award for the EMEA Region.

The award is for Neil’s research paper titled Life is a Project: Project Management as an Enabling Life Skill in Cross-Cultural Transition. The 2017 award will be formally presented to Neil on stage at the annual PMI Awards Gala, which will take place during the annual PMI Global Conference, North America, scheduled for 27- 30 October, 2017, in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

The winning paper was inspired by the outcomes of the Life is a Project (LIAP) education initiative, teaching project management life skills to a group of ESL (English as a Second Language) adults in London. The LIAP programme framework, curriculum and lesson plans introduced learners to a visually-rich, practical, language-graded subset of basic project management concepts, tools and techniques which they could apply to their everyday life project objectives. During the course of five volunteer-led workshops, participants were assisted to articulate and develop plans for personal life projects as well as collaborating as a project team in the planning and delivery of a practical community-based project initiative – a fund-raising event in support of the British Refugee Council.

The LIAP programme was a completely voluntary initiative, conceived and implemented by the author as a proof-of-concept endeavor. His research paper explores theories of cross-cultural transition and the potential benefits to be realized by “at-risk” communities through the acquisition and application of basic project management skills for everyday life. Neil’s LIAP programme was recently featured in a local UK news article at http://ealingnewsextra.co.uk/features/learning-the-language-of-success/

The award recipient, Neil C Robinson, is a London based Project Management practitioner with a special interest in Global Projects and cross-cultural communications. Neil’s award winning paper was originally presented at the 6th Scientific Conference on Project Management in the Baltic States at the University of Latvia in April 2017; it was republished in the June 2017 edition of the PM World Journal. His profile can be viewed in the PM World Library author showcase.

Commencing his career as an IT Practitioner in Melbourne, Australia, Neil found himself drawn to the cultural diversity of the EMEA region, choosing London as the hub in which to base himself almost 20 years ago. Having subsequently relished the opportunity to develop a project management career spanning five continents, he developed a deep appreciation of the challenges of cross-cultural communications in both the business and social domains. A recent sabbatical, due to parental health issues, presented the opportunity and motivation to act on the LIAP education concept.

Says Neil “It was time to give back. I wanted to prove the concept that the art of project management could, to a degree, be demystified and taught to anyone as an enabling everyday life skill. I wanted to prove that this concept could demonstrably open doors and potentially change lives for others.”

On receiving this award, Neil said “It’s a great honour and validation of the effort expended to have this work recognised by PMIEF. The case studies of ‘social good’ endeavours shared in PMIEF publications were undeniably a source of inspiration.” More pertinently, he shared that it was a chance 2015 meeting and conversation with PMI Founder, Jim Snyder, the award’s namesake, which provided impetus to act on his LIAP idea. “I’d shared the LIAP concept with Jim and was bemoaning the logistical complexity and dead-ends I’d encountered in seeking support for the idea. Jim replied “Just do it.” I did.”

Of the future of LIAP, Neil says “The 2016 LIAP London endeavour was in effect a proof-of-concept. I was unable to garner any organizational, logistical, or financial support for the concept from business, professional, government, charitable or social orgnasitaions so I took Jim’s advice and just did it. Now the concept’s proven, I need help. The dream is to see this concept, or a variant, spread far and wide as a vehicle of social good, with the aid of one or more of these bodies. I’ve taken the idea as far as I can as an individual volunteer. I hope that this PMIEF award will help to raise the visibility of the LIAP concept and trigger interest and support from within these groups. Moreover I hope that it inspires other practitioners to take the plunge and follow through on their thoughts and ideas for helping others.”

The Project Management Institute Educational Foundation (PMIEF) James R. Snyder International Student Paper of the Year Award (ISPA) is an annual research paper award which recognizes excellence in student development of original concepts in project management. Winning papers are selected by an independent panel of project management experts based upon the research and creative effort that are best directed toward advancing the concepts, tools and techniques of managing project-oriented tasks. Awards are assessed and bestowed by region.

The PMI Educational Foundation is a non-profit, public charitable organization and the philanthropic arm of PMI.  PMIEF views project management as a critical skill for everyone, especially the 7 billion people around the world who are unfamiliar with it.  While PMI focuses on making project management indispensable for business results, PMIEF focuses on bringing the power of project management to the rest of society. More at https://pmief.org/

The Project Management Institute (PMI) is the world’s largest not-for-profit professional association. Founded in 1969, PMI delivers value for millions of professionals worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.pmi.org/.