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:
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?
Caroline 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?
Sarah 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?
Professor 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.
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.