Marvellous @HSNorwich Makie June 2023

Results from the @HSNorwich workie - building an #innovation community.

Proto Norwich what next? @HSNorwich Workie 10 Mar 2023

Transforming our worlds through #digital creativity [@HSNorwich news]

An evening of inspiration

As the song goes: Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, please come along to the last Hot Source of 2015 on 10 December. Or something like that.

In other words, an evening inspired by local digital and technology creativity is on the cards (as are mince pies and wine).

The Hot Source in September shone a light on Smart Cities and how Norwich should prepare for the future. For the next event, we’re bringing this and the broader theme of transforming how we live to life with an evening of inspiration.

We’ll hear (and see) what local companies and entrepreneurs are doing with digital technology to improve our homes, our cities, and our lives. There’ll be fish, dogs, lampposts, buildings, and a product we can’t even talk about yet. What could possibly go wrong…

Norwich Innovation Forum

So please mark the date in your diary (Thursday 10 December, 5:45pm) and come and join us to ensure 2015 goes out with a bang.

Date:             Thursday 10 December 2022

Time:             5:45–8.00pm (drinks and mince pies afterwards until 9:00pm)

Venue:           Norwich University of the Arts lecture theatre, Duke St, Norwich NR3 3AH

New members, friends and +1s welcome.

If you wish to attend, please RSVP at today.

Please share this post with your network

#SmartCities: The Opportunities for Norwich

A review of our talkie on 10 September
by co-organiser Matt Dolan

Your Hot Source team hosted our third talkie on 10 September at Norwich University of the Arts. This time we looked at the idea of Smart Cities and were delighted to welcome three leading thinkers and practitioners on the subject as our guest speakers. The subtext for many of us was ‘how should Norwich prepare for the future?’

A key issue when discussing Smart Cities is to have a sensible, meaningful definition of the term. However, the jury is still out on precisely what it means to be a smart city and this became clear in the presentations.

What makes a city Smart?

Our first presenter was James Cornford, Senior Lecturer at the University of East Anglia (UEA). For many people, the term smart city conjures up images of large corporations filling buildings and streets with monitors and sensors. This might be good for efficiency but, as James asked, how do we as individuals benefit?

James examined the different types of intelligence we should look for when assessing a city’s smartness or intelligence. Cities have always been about information sharing and, like the human brain, are massively interconnected. However, the human brain serves as more than a repository for on-demand fact generation. The brain also guides our emotions, producing chemicals to induce pleasure, remorse, ambition, and generally stimulating the senses.

In the same way, a smart city should not over-focus on efficiency or calculation. Instead, (or rather in parallel) its designers should be mindful of the human condition. That means recognising and encouraging the emotional intelligence of a city: the verbal-linguistic intelligence and the moral intelligence. This will help guide cities towards a balance of efficient technical infrastructure and emotional well-being for its citizens.

“There should be a dialogical debate – how can we make Norwich smart and fine?” said James. The answer is that we need to bring together local authorities, local groups, local residents and local business, to discuss how the city should develop and progress.

 Technology is the main driver

Out next speaker was Mikele Brack. With a long career in sustainability, the built environment and in nurturing innovation, Mikele has been involved in smart cities since before the term was coined. Currently the founder and CEO of the City Impact Challenge, which devised Cognicity,  Mikele was unequivocal in informing us that, for her, smart cities means technology: “Specifically the informed and intuitive use of digital data for the efficient and sustainable delivery of services and amenities.” Its ultimate objective however was to “make people happy.”

Mikele started by asking us to look at the unfamiliar. It is important that we address those things that are not immediately obvious in order to drive momentum towards the future. How we use the enormous amounts of data that are being collected already and what decisions we take now will affect the kinds of cities we continue to build.

It is crucial that we have input from a variety of angles into this scenario. Mikele explained how the City Impact Challenge has unearthed many small businesses with big ideas. Like James, she emphasised the need for authorities, business and communities to unite to shape our future.

Standards accelerate knowledge sharing and development

Michael Mulquin, our final speaker for the evening, is the co-chair of the British Standards Institute’s smart cities advisory group. His opened by saying he wanted us to “get excited about standards” because they are the building blocks of the smart city. I was not expecting to meet Michael’s objective - and yet…

We’ve already discussed in this review how nebulous the idea of smart cities can seem. Michael started by showing us a picture of the common British plug and pointing out how important it was to have an agreed standard for such a ubiquitous item. With this standard in place, we can buy any electrical appliance with such a plug confident in the knowledge we can use it in any British home.

In the same way, we need to set standards for smart cities so we can more easily agree on how to set goals and objectives, measure progress and share results. Cities are unique but face common challenges such as waste collection, health provision, food shortages and so on. How can Rio de Janeiro’s progress in monitoring traffic be judged against Mexico City’s pollution agenda?

Only by developing and adopting standards can we be judicious and realistic in our goals, and accurate when measuring them. Michael described how ISO 37120 has 17 themes including water, sanitation, fire and emergency response and transportation. When a city faces difficult challenges, it can contact other cities that appear to be making progress and learn from their experiences. In this, we can all face the future with confidence.

Learn from each other and learn from the best

In summary: our speakers considered the different intelligences a city can develop and should measure. Together, they explored how technology is shaping the modern world and what Norwich might learn from the best global examples. We learned how large organisations are nurturing small businesses to support the building of our smart cities. We also looked at sensible monitoring processes that can benefit all cities regardless of their individuality.

As ever, we had great support from the Hot Source community – thank you to all who joined us. Thank you also to our sponsors: Foolproof for insurance, Norwich City Council Economic Development team for wine and Virgin Media Business for delicious canapés, supplied by The Feed. Finally, thank you to our excellent speakers: Mikele, James and Michael.

In our next event on December 10th, we’ll explore this theme further by investigating real world examples of the internet of things (IoT). Please let us know who you’d like to hear speak.

Norwich Innovation Forum


Please share this post with your network

Incubating #Innovation - 12 lightning talks that fired our imagination

What does the future hold?

We were delighted to welcome 12 volunteer speakers to our talkie on 11 June. They were there to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing Norfolk’s tech, digital and creative communities. We had also set them a fiendish challenge to share three ideas, on three slides, in just three minutes - but they all rose to the occasion brilliantly.

The presentations were in three sections, with four speakers in each section:

12 speakers

Past – What have people learnt about incubating innovation?

Present – What support is there for innovative companies?

Future – What challenges / opportunities do innovative companies face?

You can read a summary of the talks below - we will be posting the videos on our YouTube channel soon.

Meanwhile, special thanks go to:

  • Norwich University of the Arts for hosting this event in their lecture theatre
  • Norwich City Council’s Economic Development team for sponsoring the drinks for the post talk socialising
  • Chris Spalton for his amazing Sketchnotes - see below.

Part 1 – What have people learnt about incubating innovation?

HS Innovation1 smallCaroline Jarrold is Community Affairs Adviser at Jarrold & Sons Ltd. She talked about how Jarrold had prospered since its founding in 1770, by adapting to changing business conditions - including pulling out of some sectors completely to focus on others.

Scott Grandison is a freelance gaming mathematician, software developer and scientist with over 20 years of experience. He talked about his experience and learning from co-founding Outsider Games, a games development studio, in 2011.

Martin Green is the Fundraising, Events and Project  manager at the local charity Break. He talked about using social media to build community support for the highly successful GoGoGorillias and GoGoDragons. These not only raise money for the charity but also attract large numbers of tourists to the city.

Huw Sayer is co-founder of communications consultancy Business Writers Limited and a member of the Hot Source organising team. He talked about the strength of the local innovation community and how it pulled together to get Norwich on the #TechNation map of the UK.

Part 2: – What support is there for innovative companies?

HS Innovation 2 smallSarah Steed is the Business Director at Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) and a marketing professional with considerable industry experience. She talked about NUA’s soon to open incubation centre and User Experience Lab, which will help nurture a new generation of digital creative ventures.

Chris Blincoe is the Relationship Manager, Research & Enterprise Services, at the UEA. He talked about the UEA’s role in supporting innovation in the community, particularly through its student placement scheme. He also explained how the university could offer strategic advice and help with product design and brand development.

Dr Kenny Lang is the Business Development Director for the Norwich Research Park (NRP), which is Europe’s leading centre for research in Food, Health and the Environment, employing over 2,700 scientists. He talked about how NRP is also home to around 40 science and IT based businesses and what it is doing to incubate more startups and attract high growth businesses.

Will Taitt is Business Development Manager at Hethel Innovation, the incubation business at Hethel Engineering. He talked about Hethel’s role as an engineering innovation hub and how it is supporting high growth start-ups.

Part 3: – What challenges / opportunities do innovative companies face?

HS Innovation 3 smallProfessor Fiona Lettice is Professor of Innovation Management at the Norwich Business School, University of East Anglia and a Visiting Research Fellow at Cranfield University. She is also a co-founder of SyncNorwich. She talked about the future of innovation in the community, how Tech City UK can support us on a national level – and what the community can do to get behind this opportunity - including supporting Sync The City in November.

John Marshall is the founder and chair of the Cambridge International Digital Forum. He is also an International Trade Advisor for UK Trade & Investment (East) and leads its intensive High Growth Startup workshops. He talked about the challenges of attracting large and fast growing companies to the East of England in general and Norfolk in particular.

Chris Starkie is the Managing Director of New Anglia LEP, the private-public economic development partnership for Suffolk and Norfolk. He talked about the future of innovation in the East of England and how the LEP is winning investment from central government for essential infrastructure in road, rail, broadband and enterprise zones. Don’t miss the LEP’s #iExpo15 at the Centrum in October.

Dr Neil Garner is the Founder and a director of Proxama. He has considerable experience and expertise of creating valuable market solutions with emerging technologies. Sadly Neil couldn’t join us on the evening but an understudy presented his ideas on the future of innovation in our community, including the launch of White Space, an incubation hub at St James’ Mill in Norwich, and the need for companies to scale-up.

IMG_1353Thank you to everyone who joined us on the night - we had over 90 guests, which was excellent considering it was also a beautiful summer’s evening.

Don’t miss our next talkie on 10 September. We will have three excellent speakers looking at the future of #SmartCities - what they are, where they are, and  how technology is shaping them. This is a FREE event but places are limited - so be sure to book yours now.

Norwich Innovation Forum

Please share this post with your network

Thank you for supporting the first #HSNorwich talkie of 2015 - please feedback and help shape future events.

Thank you from all of us on the Hot Source organising team for supporting the “Crowdfunding and brand building” talkie on Thursday 12 March.

It was a packed event in NUA’s Media Lab with over 65 people, including one local MP. We are especially grateful to our three excellent speakers, Joy Haynes, Ruth Anslow and Simon Middleton, for giving up their time to be with us (and to Simon for the free beer).

Thank you to Catherine Hill at NUA for logistical support and to Sarah Steed and John Last at NUA for providing the venue - and the wine. Thank you also to Paul Grenyer for this excellent review of the evening.

Your Hot Source organising team has started planning now for our next talkie on Thursday 11 June. We are particularly keen to get your feedback on the first talkie and hear your ideas for future events.

Please help us by completing our short and simple survey - because we can’t do this alone. Please also share with your social media network.

Thank you

Caroline, Huw, Guy, Niall, Wayne and Matt.

Norwich Innovation Forum


Please share this post with your network

First talkie of 2015 - Crowdfunding and online brand building.

Hello Hot Sourcers

Thank you for all the positive comments on our Meetup and LinkedIn discussions about how to keep this group alive.

Your new organising team (including Niall Cook, Guy Potter, Wayne Fick and Matt Dolan) has been working hard at setting up the first talkie of 2015. We are now delighted to announce that three excellent speakers will join us on 12 March:

Joy Haynes, director of the Norwich Puppet Theatre.


Simon Middleton, branding adviser, author and founder of The Shackleton brand and The Great British Banjo Company Ltd.


Ruth Anslow, TEDx speaker and founder of (an independent, ethical supermarket for everyone, which opened in Brighton).


They will be talking about their experiences of running crowdfunding campaigns (principally Kickstarter and Buzzbnk, but also using angel investors) to launch projects and grow a business. This will include the importance of brand building online and offline to engage customers and investors.

This is sure to be a fascinating evening. There will be plenty of opportunities for asking questions. So do book early - and bring a friend.

When: Thursday, March 12, 2023 6:00 PM

Where: Presentation Room, The Media Lab, NUA, Monastery Court, Norwich NR3 3AJ

Please RSVP on the Meetup page because it helps us with planning (particularly when arranging the FREE drinks). We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at this event - and would welcome all feedback.

Meanwhile, please put the following dates in your diary:

          1. Talkie #1 - Thursday 12 March at 6pm
          2. Talkie #2 - Thursday 11 June
          3. Talkie #3 - Thursday 10 September
          4. Talkie #4 - Thursday 10 December.

We have opted for the second Thursday of each quarter, so we don’t clash with Norfolk Developers (which tends to be on the first Wednesday) and SyncNorwich (which tends to be on the third Thursday). We hope to hold two other ad-hoc events, perhaps in collaboration with these groups - we will let you know more when we can.

If you have any suggestions for future talkies - subjects or speakers - please let Caroline and me know. We would like to have two to three speakers at each event.

Remember to follow @HSNorwich on twitter for updates.

Kind regards

Huw Sayer, Caroline Mayers and the Hot Source team.

Please share this post with your network

Hot Source Ignites!

We said goodbye to 2014 in style by hosting an Ignite presentation evening.

Speaker submissions were open to everyone and anyone who was up for a challenge and had something they wanted to say. As a result, 13 fantastic presenters of all ages, interests and disciplines came and shared their thoughts with a packed bar of eager listeners.

It was a night of insight, humour and irreverence and we’re looking forward to hosting another in the not too distant future.

You can now watch all of the talks thanks to Josh Trett who filmed and edited the evening.

Rod Humby - 2015: An AI odyssey

Tom Wood - What’s happening to Hot Source… and why it’s okay

Rachel Buck - Why B2B marketers are editors

Niamh Cavlan - Digging deeper for data

Neil Powell - A provocation on problems

Neil Pawley - I am likely to die this year…

Nania Tait - My people of Norwich

Matt Wood - Homes of the future

Matt Isherwood - The evolution of wearable technology

Luke Romeril - Agency and client-side

Joshua Croft - I had a successful Kickstarter…

John Heaser - October Makie 2014

Please share this post with your network

Hot Source Autumn schedule serves up three fried slices of purest awesome

The year is drawing to a close and to celebrate a fantastic 2014 we are having a truly awesome Finale!

Thursday 27th November, 6pm: End of 2014 Ignite session

In our last event of this year it’s time to say goodbye 2014, and hello 2015. The heart of the evening’s fun will be a series of 5-minute Ignite talks from…well anyone who wants to share. We’ll also build in some drinks, twiglets and anything else we can think of to get us fired up about the year gone by and the year ahead. Come and let your hair down with other creative and digital types from the neighbourhood. More

So yeah, it is going to be pretty brilliant. W00ts and hand-hugs all round. See you there…

Please share this post with your network