I had the pleasure of attending the #NewcastleGateshead Digital Sector Mapping event at the Toffee Factory this morning. I had never been there before. The event was to launch a report on the tech scene in the region. I’d contributed to the report, in part by pointing out that the North East is more than Newcastle and Gateshead. By the way why is it not #GatesheadNewcastle?
That aside it is always great to see people getting behind the development of this vital industry across the region. The room was full and I got to meet some new people.
The report itself told me a lot of what I think I already know, yet it built upon the great story that we have to tell. I found out that there are as many as fifty eight thousand people working in digital and tech here, and the gross value added per head of population is larger than that of Greater Manchester.
There were a few points that came out of the report that I wanted to raise. It stated that we need a single voice across the region to tell our story. I don’t agree, people hear and absorb things in different ways. What we need are many people telling the same story.
There is a skills shortage. Everyone says this and everyone is suffering from it. Or are we? I’ve covered this in a previous blog but we need to start focussing on developing the people we have. They have the skills, they just don’t always know it yet.
The report talked about collaboration and I couldn’t agree more. We need more collaboration and I was reminded of the words of Steven S Covey, ‘If you want to be trusted then be more trustworthy’. If we want greater collaboration, then the biggest thing that we can all do is to start collaborating. You can’t share and keep it all to yourself.
The best comment, form me however, came form Allison of North East Futures who said that everyone in the room knows how good the tech industry is in the region but we need to tell it better to the residents. They need to understand the role it has to play in our region and the fantastic opportunity it presents for the future of today’s school children.
All of us need to tell this story. It was a good event.