Nicola Herbertson, Technology Developer – Virtual Worlds
Nicola Herbertson is the SMARTlab Technology Development Manager for Virtual Worlds. Working with a team of expert developers and coders, she brings her expertise of designing and creating virtual environments for specific user communities to the Learnovate, SMARTlifelab and Healthbook projects.
After studying Mandarin Chinese & Law at London SOAS and working for a TEC, LSC and the FE sector in South London for 12 years, Nikki Herbertson set up Hao2.eu to pursue her personal and professional interests in diversity and new technologies. “Hao2” is pronounced “how to” and “hao” is the Chinese world for “good”. A social firm, Hao2.eu helps organisations in the UK, EU and China use new technologies to promote inclusion especially in education, training and employment. 80% of the Hao2.eu team have Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC).
Over the last 2 years, Nicola has led the team at Hao2.eu in developing an innovative approach using 3D virtual world technologies to help people with ASC secure and sustain employment, working in partnership with organisations such Remploy, NAS, University College Dublin, Kingston & Greenwich Universities & Daden. In July 2012, Hao2.eu won the CBI / Nominet Trust Most Innovative Internet Business award for this work. In April 2013, under Nicola’s leadership, Hao2.eu successfully tendered to make its 3D Cloud products and services arising from this research and development available via HM Government Cloudstore – thereby enabling British public sector organisations to efficiently procure innovative digital by default solutions delivering high social impact and value.
A member of the educaton management committee at Intellect, trade association for the UK IT industry and Special Advisor to the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisations Disability and Development Special Interest Group, Nicola now works part time for SMARTLab UCD supporting innovative research and development into virtual world technologies as an enabler of social innovation.