Scotland’s digital future and another CodeClan Scholarship for Be-IT #Talkingtrends16

20 May 2016

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Last night, I went to #TalkingTrends16, organised by The Herald and held at the Hub at Pacific Quay in Glasgow.  After the introduction by Gordon Stevenson, Head of Digital at Newsquest Scotland (The Herald), Be-IT’s very own Gareth Biggerstaff was first on the podium, with a wide-ranging talk that looked at what the digital industry can learn from the economic history of Scotland’s major industries, especially oil and gas. Towards the end of his session, having made the important point that government has a key role in creating the conditions that will not only allow Scotland’s burgeoning IT industries to thrive but also survive into the future (and not decline as, for example, the electronics industry has in this country), Gareth announced that following the success of the first one, we are to create another Be-IT CodeClan Scholarship in the second half of 2016.

The next three speakers all, to varying degrees, agreed with the general premise that government and industry have to work closely together.  Dr Anna Morgan-Thomas of the Adam Smith Business School at Glasgow University stressed the need for “ways of thinking strategically as the mesh of digital increases”, while Rab Campbell of CodeClan noted that the government is doing things (but could always do more), especially by way of the encouragement (of which CodeClan is one of the best examples) of firms investing in training people to code.

Ben Hutton, of XDesign, talking about mobile, was thought-provoking and challenging, pointing out that although we (almost) all use mobile, people are still wedded to old software. He also discussed the monetisation of mobile – apps for apps sake?  The final speaker was Emma Mykytyn of Glasgow Foodie Explorers, whose subject was social media. She stressed the importance of “keeping it human” and not just a hard sell.

The Q&A was largely around social media and also featured questions about the state of Scotland’s secondary education system and whether it is, or not, training the next generation of digital/computing experts in sufficient quantities to secure the future of the industry (the answer, sadly, is not yet).

Overall, it was a stimulating evening, well worth attending. The weather (pouring in the hour before it started) affected the attendance slightly, but those who came – at least the wide range of people I spoke to afterwards – were unanimous in their feeling that it was a good night and congratulated The Herald for organising it.

Michael Phair, Be-IT Resourcing


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