Do you come here often?

My New Year’s resolution for 2013 is to rant less and do more…

What do I mean by that? Well I bang on a lot about the importance of CIOs in the UK supporting our start-ups so I have decided that I need to do more to encourage that. In my last article for the CIO Magazine I listed a number of start-ups/ start-up support organisations that have inspired me. The aim is to encourage CIOs to find out a little bit more about them, see what they think and how they can get involved. Whether it’s setting them a business challenge, encouraging their own companies to provide support/ mentors or just looking at an exchange of idea – every CIO in this country can benefit not just the start-up communities but also the organisations they work for by connecting with British innovators. Moving forward I am going to be using this blog to profile some more of these bright sparks so I encourage to take a look… maybe add a few of your own… and lets make some connections!

Here are a few to get us started…

http://www.startupbootcamp.org/

http://london.startupweekend.org/

http://dolectures.com/the-event/

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Sexy tech

An X Factor-style TV show for techies? Wow. It’s a shame that British business can’t show the same level of enthusiasm.
Recently I attended the CIO Summit and there were some fascinating presentations. Richard Hodkinson from law firm DWF LLP on how he had rolled out Yammer internally to help increase collaboration, and Shaun Mundy from engineers Buro Happold on Agile – great examples of innovation led by UK CIOs with predominantly UK IT teams.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said for all our companies. I appreciate that being a business is not to be a charity – but it’s a national disgrace that of the big companies that backed Cameron’s Silicon Parking Space only one of them was British.
The fact is that investing in innovation is not just good for the economy, it’s good for business too. Equally importantly, it could be damaging for both if we don’t invest in it. It’s time British brands woke up to the talent that’s here and showed a bit more commitment to the UK.


Tech Factor

After a little summer hiatus i’m back. My summer was filled with the kind of tech that I love – the kind that changes lives… watching the Paralympics it struck me that technology has immense power to do good. Technology has become sexy – no doubt about it and that can only be a good thing. We want our kids to aspire to be developers and inventors. And it appears that celebrities agree. Will-i-am is in negotiations with producers in the US to develop a show which would be a kind of X-Factor for young developers …http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/4545461/William-is-to-front-a-new-technology-talent-show-dubbed-an-American-Idol-for-young-tech-wizards.html

… not sure that all applications developed by teenagers are prime time friendly but its very encouraging nonethelesss…


Creative edge

Great Minds Wanted! Really interesting to see the British press getting behind the drive to find and develop the UK’s next wave of digital champions (http://www.creativepioneers.co.uk/Home). What was particularly heartwarming was this wasn’t the usual case of dressing social/ design up as digital. As well as the creatives and entrepreneurs this competition was all about finding the developers too. Competitions like this are a great first step but to be successful in the long term we need to ensure that the apprenticeships and internships on offer become jobs. It is very easy for businesses to offer an internship its far more difficult for them to commit to long term roles….


Real collaboration calls for a change in corporate culture…

I have been involved in a number of events over the last month or so which have really brought into sharp focus the conflict between the current desire within companies for closer collaboration internally and the corporate culture itself. Knowledge has always beens the thing that is valued most by companies – whether it’s an individual’s understanding of the market, their sales skills or their insight into competitors. Being the only one with a particular piece of knowledge or skill puts you high up the value chain. By implication therefore, sharing that information reduces your value. This has stood as a fundamental law of business since business was born.

If companies truly want to embrace collaboration, and all the benefits it can bring, then they need to make some fundamental changes to the messages that they are sending employees – directly and indirectly. You cannot expect someone to share the very thing that they have always been told they should hang on to….


Where are the big ideas?

‘Underwhelming’ seems to be the overwhelming feedback from business on the Queen’s speech this year. Commentators of all persuasions felt there was far too little in there designed to kick start growth…  The big issue was how we are going to make it easier for people to build successful businesses here. There are lots of areas that need to be tackled but the big ones for me, as someone who has done this, is the issue of regulation and the need for investment. The government has made noises about reducing regulation and investing in small businesses time and time again, and there are measures in the bill that are designed to help but as John Cridland, the director general of the CBI said ‘the test for this Queen’s speech is whether it will help businesses to grow. Two stand out for me: energy and regulatory reform. The first should help but the jury is out on the second.’ As for investment… there is still little sign that this government has any inclination to put its money where its mouth is…


The entrepreneur’s burden…

Excellent piece on Tech Crunch from Prerna Gupta, the founder and CEO of Khush on what it is to be free of the fear of failure…

Disillusionment of an Entrepreneur