From N.I.T. to NISDI

Ring ring

So my mobile rings mid-way through yesterday afternoon – it’s Charlie:

  • Charlie – “It’s in”
  • Me – “What?!”
  • Charlie – “NISDI, the folk at Newcastle Uni have spotted it in some of the Budget supporting docs; George didn’t mention it but apparently it’s there”
  • Me – “Wow, that’s a gamechanger, isn’t it?!”
  • Charlie – “I’ll ring off, more enquires to make”

This post is a short-form explanation about how we got from there to here…

A long time ago

I can remember have a social beer with Charlie Hoult and Mike O’Brien outside the Clocktower Cafe at Hoults Yard – probably about 3 or 4 years ago.

Charlie and Mike were considering an enterprise IT networking org of some sort.

Fast forward to June last year, and Dynamo 15 at Sunderland Uni – Charlie had founded Dynamo with Bob Paton, we’d be going a year and Charlie had hit The Journal front page with his vision for N.I.T.:

  • Dynamo to unveil bold £95m vision for Northern Institute for Technology and Business Exchange […]
  • Technology initiative Dynamo plans to create a Northern Institute for Technology and Business Exchange (NIT) in a move with the potential to electrify the quality jobs market and boost the region’s standing in the Northern Powerhouse. […]
  • Mr Hoult added: “It’s all about creating innovation by bringing together ‘dream teams’ of regional talent to work together, including in ‘sprints’ (short bursts of activity on hot topics), in which academics, entrepreneurs and users collaborate to create breakthroughs, turning ideas into jobs and economic growth.”

Now is NISDI, tomorrow is greater North East tech success

It was with a slight air of disbelief that I looked through the downloaded Budget document from the Treasury. There it was!

The government will invest £15 million in the National Institute for Smart Data Innovation in Newcastle, subject to approved business case. This new facility will bring together industry, the public sector and universities to create the skills, ideas and resources needed to exploit the opportunities offered by Smart Data.

Many of the elements originally articulated in the N.I.T. vision were articulated by Professor Paul Watson and colleagues from Newcastle University.

Newcastle City Council have been brilliant, especially Rob Hamilton, Ed Banks, and Pat Ritchie.

Leadership with the NE LEP has come via Dynamo Advisory Board member Neil Hemming of SAP; and on a wider basis of course from Charlie and miscellaneous support from many Dynamo stakeholders.

More info is available via the agreed press release – “Chancellor announces funding for Newcastle smart data centre”.

The focused work starts here

Our mission is to grow the North East IT economy.

NISDI therefore a step change in what we can achieve – so how can we make it the greatest success possible?

I agree with William Gibson that “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed”; as per my previous post:

We have a vibrant and successful enterprise IT sector in the North East, and we at Dynamo are keen to build on our existing achievements (e.g. this post) and work with our Members and stakeholders to springboard into future success.


I believe we are on the cusp of a data-driven revolution, and the disruption will be pervasive. We can take advantage, but we need to act now – enterprise IT will be at the beating heart.


By working together with North East industry, we can (and must) parlay our existing strengths into the opportunities just around the proverbial corner.


Be part of the Disruption


Digital Factories; data-driven pharmaceutical discoveries; supply chains providing track-and-trace capability; sensors capturing real-time telemetry which creates actionable insights and business value.


These ‘cross-over’ ways to use enterprise IT are going to be the places where innovation happens and competitive advantage is created.

We’ve got a chance to hit this one out of the park – get in touch with us through Twitter or e-mail and let’s make this a catalyst for greater North East regeneration and prosperity!