Yesterday we had our first Dynamo North East think tank. It was held at Sage head office. They are the only technology led FTSE100 company and it is based right here in the heart of the region. More than twenty of us attended. Everyone was a member of the organisation and we had come together to think about our future. All sectors of the industry were represented. There were technology giants as well as fledgling companies. There were household names and those you would soon be hearing more of. There was commerce, academia and the public sector.
We had some lunch and then Paul gave us some background to Dynamo. Giselle and Graham gave us an update on the skills theme, while Alistair followed with what is happening in the cyber security theme.
We then posed two questions for discussion around our tables: What do members want from Dynamo North East? and; How can we engage more widely with the IT community?
In the end the table I was on answered both questions at the same time. We had all come together because of our interest in what the industry could become. We were passionate about the North East and the technology sector. For us it was more about what could I put in rather than necessarily what could I get out. Of course for all businesses a return on investment is essential. We have to pay our bills yet there is a general acceptance across the group of their responsibility to the market and the society in which we live. A healthy tech industry is part of a healthy society. I must admit to being a little nervous about encouraging organisations to join Dynamo on the back of what they would get but I guess that this is something that I will have to live with. People in the industry come from a broad church.
Ok, there are some things that we could get on with straight away. We can use the growing contacts that we have to spread the message, collaborate more and learn from each other. We could use the strength and depth that we have to target the different types of organisations across the region. SMEs to talk to SMEs, corporates to talk to corporates and public sector to talk to public sector. Perhaps dynamo has created the impression that it is for the big players and so we need to think about how we project a different perception.
We also need to decide what we mean by the North East. If it is, as I believe, the area covered by the twelve local authorities from Northumberland in the north to south of the Tees, then we need to demonstrate this by having events in each of the areas. We hold an event every month. There are twelve authorities and twelve months in a year. Sorted? We need more events that showcase what is happening and where skills and information can be shared.
Each of the tables had very similar views and so it was a very encouraging event. There is plenty to discuss at the upcoming board meeting. I also made a couple of useful new contacts.
We are Dynamo. We are the organisation focussed on growing the IT industry across the North East. You may have seen the hashtag #dynamofuture