Dynamo North East – July 2020 Advisory Board Meeting

Clare Nicholson, Dynamo Account Manager, 14th July 2020

Yesterday we held our last board meeting before our usual summer break for August. We had a great turnout with 25 of our advisory board members joining us via Zoom. Even though we cannot meet our board face to face, we are now getting used to seeing them all across our computer screens and doesn’t appear to have that sense of ‘this feels so strange’ anymore.

The meeting began with an overview of the Dynamo 20 Conference which was held on 25th June and was Dynamo’s first fully virtual event. We were 100% reliant on the wonders of technology running smoothly and do you know……it did! We have received some amazing feedback and are grateful to all our speakers and all of you for attending throughout the day who helped bring it all together. If you were unable to join for the full day, or simply want to revisit some of the inspirational sessions and share with colleagues, you will find all the sessions on our YouTube channel.

Up next, we talked about the launch of the Dynamites Awards for 2020. We did not want to cancel this event as why shouldn’t we still celebrate the tech sector in our region just because we can’t all be under one roof? Perhaps, now more than ever, tech projects, teams and organisations are more crucial than they have been and so this should be celebrated! We are going 100% virtual this year and are introducing ‘Party Packs’ to help bring the party to people’s houses, back gardens, front gardens or wherever you may be to watch the evening unfold. The awards are launching this week so keep a look out for more info. There are various sponsorship opportunities available for the awards. Please contact Clare Nicholson for further details.

Laura Kemp provided us with an update on the Service Delivery Centre cluster. They have been busy responding to any COVID issues that have come about and supporting people and their organisations. The steering group are keen to start picking back up on the strategy initially set in 2019 and move it forward. They are looking at best practices and will share a list of these with SDC of the future. There is an event coming up on 30th July which will focus on the wellbeing of staff and prompt managers in what to look for. There will be practical tips to engage employers as a cohesive team.

Phil Jackman is as busy as always with the Cyber cluster. #CyberFest 2020 is getting ready to launch. There will be 10 events throughout September, almost all virtual via zoom or Hopin. Phil will be approaching organisations who haven’t engaged with the cluster as yet as he is looking to engage better with the market in general. NHS BSA and Tees Valley Business Club have now joined the cyber steering group…welcome!

For the last 6-9 months, the Digital Construction cluster has been fairly quiet and so we are holding a working session with members of this cluster this week to discuss the ‘reboot’ and exciting projects they can be involved in.

Some other great news, CGI have come on board as our Health Tech cluster partners. We are so grateful for their support and a strong relationship is already being formed between Emma Whitenstall, Dynamo’s engagement manager who is leading on this cluster, and the team at CGI. This is a new cluster for us and we are so excited to see what it can achieve for the region!

This month’s board discussion was around diversity and inclusion – Dynamo as an organisation is aware that we need to improve our understanding of this area as a whole and we are currently taking steps to reflect and become more aware. We have already had external conversations with consultants on how we can take this forward.

Alastair Irons, University of Sunderland, informed us that they joined Tech talent charter last year which brought about interesting insights on the way we use language on website, reports, job adverts etc. It forces us think about our use of language which is a really important tool. Becky Strachan and Graham Jordan shared some helpful links to stats and tools. We were pleased to see a real interest from within our board in driving positive action in this area and many are keen to see how they can work with Dynamo to progress their own understanding.

There will be a working group set up by Dynamo with representatives from our advisory board in the first instance so that we can collect the relevant data, ideas, projects and other areas so that we can then reach out to our members and offer them support, advice and share best practices. If you are interested in being involved in this, please contact Sophie Mazrekaj.

We hope you all have a lovely summer and look forward to updating you all on our autumn plans.

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