This year is hurtling by. Already the first CyberNorth meetup of the year has been and gone. Before Christmas it seemed so far away.
This was such an important meeting as we wanted to lay out our plans for the coming three years and, in particular, get a steer from the sector that we were on the right lines. Ideally we would have held the meeting in person but we were still at the tail end of COVID and this proved impractical, though allowed.
Thanks to some funding from UKC3 I have had a small team working with me over the last few months, pulling together everything we can about the sector, which companies there are, what business support is available and how this will be presented through the new website. All of these were presented at the meeting as well as some background into the new National Cyber Strategy and an update on UKC3. The final presentation was on the business plan.
We then split the attendees into breakout sessions to ask: Are we on the right lines?; Have we missed anything?; What do we need to do more of? Thankfully the feedback from these breakouts was good and we are on the right path.
There are some important takeaways for me from the event. Firstly, people want to have more opportunities to meet and mingle. Rather than formal presentation events they want the chance to get to know their colleagues better in a more relaxed setting. Secondly, not everyone understands what CyberNorth is or is trying to do. We need to make more effort to get our story out, perhaps with a FAQ. Thirdly, we are seen as favouring some companies over others. Hopefully this is not true but rather that some businesses have a greater capacity to engage, yet it is something to look at. Finally, I am both a driver and a blocker for the cluster. By being involved in everything I am limiting the capacity of the cluster to meet and move forward.
I, and hopefully others, will be working on these in the coming months. Our first meetup of the year was a great start.