A year of work in progress – day 92

Day 92 – 22 May 2014

So, before I get onto today it’s worth recapping on something from yesterday which happened after I went to press. I try to keep my blogs to around five hundred words and I could have filled a book. Over lunch there was a session on the future of the ICT industry and two thorny issues came up. One was intentional, we need more apprentices and the second was unintentional, the gender balance within the profession. Needless to say having an all-male panel didn’t help.

Both of these issues are real, not enough young people and especially women see ICT as a great career. It is and we need to make sure that more are enthused sufficiently to come forward. I’m a great supporter of what Dynamo are doing across the region to help develop ICT growth and am committed to take on as many apprentices as we can (we will have ten soon). I am also committed to try and get more women into the industry but need some help. I had a useful conversation with Jemima who spoke to me about SavvyTechmums and asked whether I wanted to get more women in or encourage those I already have to take on a greater role. She also reminded me that I may be part of the problem but I can also be part of the solution.

This morning started early with a breakfast meeting with Chi Onwurah. There was no breakfast (until much later) but a very strong cup of coffee. She talked about the Labour review of digital government and her vision of technoloigy as an egalitarian, sharing force. My view is that we need to use procurement to open the market for public sector ICT applications to make it much easier for smaller niche applications to be developed and adopted.

Mark Dearnley the CIO at HMRC started the main event with an attempt to make tax interesting. He succeeded. He runs the ICT for a £480 billion business with 41 million users not all of whom appreciate his services. They have a huge physical business as well with 70 million inbound letters, 200 million outbound as well as 245 million forms and guidance.   His recipe for success was inspirational and made me think about my own role: A clear vision, passionate about technology, first rate technical skills, all about the customer, boundless energy, one-team ethos, on a mission to make a lasting difference.

Xavier de Kestelier works for the company that designed the Sage. As if that wasn’t enough they are developing the technology to build on the moon. It will use 3D printing to make bone like structures out of moon rock. There is a lot if it about. He made me wonder what I have done with my life!

Susan Mulcahy, a bio engineer gave us a great drama based presentation dressed as a blood cell. She described how brain damage is like a flood, demand for services increase but the infrastructure breaks down and is unable to cope and went on to tell us about the need for high resolution data.

That’s probably enough for now. In the evening I attended the Dynamo board.

Learning points for today: The walk from Hoult’s Yard to the Sage is much longer than it looks on the map; starvation doesn’t help concentration; simple decisions can have big consequences; it takes $200k to get 1kg to the moon; regolith is the superior person’s way of saying moon dust and; I’m not really into gaming;

Today’s enjoyment rating 10/10 – even though it poured down for most of the day (the water running down the windows of the Sage looks very beautiful from the inside).

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