Professor of management development.
Professor Watkins was previously professor of enterprise development and the director of the Centre of Enterprise Research and Training at Bournemouth University, which he joined after many years of teaching, research and consulting experience at Manchester Business School.
He has written a number of books and had more than 100 articles published in the academic and popular press. Many of these publications have dealt with entrepreneurship, small business and local economic development. They include 'The Survival of the Small Firm: Entrepreneurship and the Economics of Survival and The Small Business Kit'.
He pioneered the use of multimedia packs related to broadcast and video TV. These included 'Be Your Own Boss' for Yorkshire Television and 'The Business of Excellence' for the Open College.
Professor Watkins has also undertaken a wide range of consulting activities from organisations ranging in size from one-man bands to companies in the UK top ten, governments and international organisations such as the Asian Development Bank and the European Commission. Most of these consulting assignments have related to activities which were not just new to the organisation but for which no ground rules previously existed. For example, he undertook the feasibility study for one of the earliest Science Parks in the UK and has designed an International Community Relations Policy for a major oil company. He also regularly works for the European Commission as an evaluator or assessor of industry-focused development projects and research programmes.
Professor Watkins has edited or served on the advisory board of a number of academic journals including International Small Business Journal, Strategic Management Journal and Annual Review of Progress in Entrepreneurship Research, as well as organising a number of international conferences, mainly relating to entrepreneurship and economic development. He describes his greatest lecturing challenge as the day he addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg only to find that the audiovisual aids were invisible to the interpreters trying to provide a simultaneous commentary into the seven working languages of the assembly.