A year of work in progress – day 58

Day 58 – 28 March 2014

I seem to be starting a lot of these blogs off with it’s not every day that. Perhaps that’s because each day is different and there are lots of new things to get involved in.

Anyway, it’s not every day that you get to meet a childhood hero. Today is one of them. I got the chance to have breakfast with former Tomorrow’s World presenter Maggie Philbin. Now that might be a little unfair. I make it a policy never to discuss a lady’s age but in terms of longevity we are nearly, as we say in public sector land, coterminous. So either she was a child prodigy, I had a long childhood or my memory has failed me. She also presented Swap Shop.

Of course it wasn’t just me and her having breakfast, I was attending a meeting of the UK Digital Skills Taskforce which she leads. It was to be held at the Accenture offices in Cobalt but moved to the Village Hotel due the amount of interest and once again was held under the auspices of Dynamo.

ICT is going to play a major role in the future of the region, in a good way or a bad way (that is our choice) and I was fascinated to hear what she had to say. Her focus is bringing brilliant young people into the industry.

I was on table 4 with Herb Kim who leads Thinking Digital (how portentous) and Sue Ormerod from Nigel Wright Consultants (even more portentous) along with schools and colleges. We talked about how we could change perceptions of ICT, the role of schools and colleges, how we create more apprentices, the role of Universities and ongoing learning.

For me this is a demand side problem. It’s not about talking technology it is about finding ways of exciting people to want to find out more. Just as cars aren’t about shock absorbers and clutches, they are about journeys and freedom then ICT isn’t about silicon and programmes, these things are vital but ICT is about creativity and connecting people.

We learn though play and telling stories. We talked about demystifying technology by starting with primary pupils, focussing on creativity and creating a network of digital champions. To me passion is more important than literacy. People will learn if they want to or have a need to.

It was a great gathering, a room filled with people who have a genuine interest in the North East and of course it was lovely to meet Maggie Philbin.

Back at County Hall I had three meetings with suppliers covering information, software and networks.

Another week over.

Learning points for today: CRM is for life and not just for Christmas; truth comes in a tin; there is a huge interest in developing digital skills across the region; some of my best friends are ICT people and; if you don’t want to be interviewed on television wear a checked shirt.

Today’s enjoyment rating 10/10 – Great people, exciting opportunity.

2 thoughts on “A year of work in progress – day 58

  1. Nice to hear that there is s genuine interest in promoting IT in the North East, although it would be nice if THE NORTH could pull their resources and help each other. I would also like to include my fellow countrymen up much further north (hopefully they will stay in the UK).
    By working together maybe we could achieve more.

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