Dynamo 18 Programme

8.15am – 9.00am – Registration, Exhibition & Coffee


9.00-10.15am – OPENING PLENARY

Compere: Timandra Harkness

Welcome: Cllr Nick Forbes, Newcastle City Council

Welcome: Charlie Hoult, Chair Dynamo North East

Keynote: Timandra Harkness, Author of ‘Big Data: Does Size Matter?’

10.25 – 11.15am – BREAKOUT SESSIONS


Prolific Cyber Threats

Phil Jackman, Guerrilla Working; Anthony Mcmenzie, Forfusion; Rick Hemsley, Accenture 

This session covers cyber resilience, a major concern for everyone, whether you are running a business, working in an organization or are just trying to stay safe and protect your digital assets. Everyday there are new threats emerging and it is an arms race to keep protected. Hear from leading industry experts on the latest prolific cyber threats and what can be done to combat them.


A Tech Entrepreneurs Guide to Professional Services: Getting the Right Advice to Drive Innovation and Growth

Antony Hall, Mincoffs; John Marrin, Marwel & Co; Peter Robinson, Mincoffs; Clair Williams, Tait Walker; Tom Rahder, Sage 

Interactive involving a brief case studies highlighting the value of using the right advisor, sharing the experiences of Digital leaders and service providers, and audience participation.

We focus on what YOU can’t afford not to know, and how digital companies have gained real value from accessing professional services to drive innovation and growth in their business.  We highlight some real case studies that show how the right advice can add genuine value to a technology business.


Hacking the Cluster – The Power of the Region’s Digital Construction Cluster to Hack Client Problems with its IC3 Credentials

Becky Strachan, Northumbria University; Anne Macdonald, Dynamo North East; Andrew Gill, Waterstons; 

Dynamo’s digital construction cluster has over 60 members spanning digital design, software and platform development, construction, project management, asset management, standards and education.  This powerful mix of expertise sees our businesses working around the globe on innovative projects.

Building on these stunning credentials, Dynamo is working with Northumbria University and the cluster on proposals for IC3 (an international centre for connected construction) based right here in Newcastle.

This session outlines plans for a Dynamo digital construction hackathon in autumn 2018.  To demonstrate their expertise the cluster has invited clients to send in gritty, real world challenges. It’s not quite the X Factor, but delegates can vote for the best challenge and volunteer to help hack it.  Get your voting buttons ready!


Tech Marketing – Future customers’ journeys
Caroline Carruthers, Lowell Group (former CDO Network Rail); David Pinches, CMO – Financial Force; Paul Maher, CEO – Positive Marketing; 

Today’s digital customers are fickle. The best way to reach them changes constantly. Does social trump digital marketing? Is email dead? Is content still king? Where does GDPR leave ‘Acceptable Use’? Listen and contribute to the three-way debate as a tech buyer, a major league tech vendor and the consultant trying to add value to both offer their very differing views on Technology buying tell it like it is. .


11.15-11.35am – Break


11.35am-12.25pm – BREAKOUT SESSIONS

The Talent Matching Story – Capturing New Talent to Grow Digital Business

Anne Macdonald, Dynamo North East; Speakers from Accenture and Sage; Michaela Reaney/Nicola Short, Gradvert

Finding new talent to grow your digital business can be challenging. Dynamo’s Talent Matching service will capture pre-screened, high calibre job applicants that the region’s largest firms like Accenture and Sage don’t have capacity to place.  It will bring these applicants together with Dynamo’s SMEs who have great vacancies (but are maybe less well known) and that’s where the magic happens!  This session gives the latest update on Dynamo’s Talent Matching pilot and how to get involved.  It’s a win:win solution enabling talented candidates to find roles in our fast growing tech sector – and avoids us losing them to competitor regions or sectors. It’s also a fantastic benefit for Dynamo’s member businesses. Come join the revolution!



Leigh Varnham, Capgemini; TBC, Sage

With considerable advances over the last few years in AI and Robotics, is now the time to begin trusting these technologies with greater responsibility? We are surrounded in our everyday life by Robotics and AI in one way or another; Mobile Phones, Google Assistant’s, Amazon Alexa’s, Automated Customer Service Chatbots. The more immersed in the technology we become the more questions we begin to raise:

How will they impact jobs globally, and what are the ‘dangers’ of an AI world? What will be the social impact of these technologies; is the technology mature enough to ‘replace’ humans; how will humans co-exist, interact and work with these technologies. In this period of the 4th Industrial Revolution, should we be fearful about the rise of the robots?


North East Futures UTC – Working Together to Rebalance the North East Regional Economy

Bob Paton, Chair of North East Futures UTC Board of Trustees and Dan Sydes, Principal Designate

Both of the North East Futures University Technical College (UTC) specialisms of IT and Healthcare Science represent thriving sectors of the North East economy.  However, continued growth in these sectors of regional smart specialisation can only be assured if it becomes possible to recruit more skilled young people.

North East Futures UTC, opening in September 2018, aims to change the education, skills and employment paradigm in the North East IT and Healthcare Science sectors. It will provide the opportunity for young people aged 14 – 19 from across this region to benefit from exceptional specialist provision within an exciting, broad and relevant school curriculum.

Our specialist curriculum and an innovative and global best-practice approach to learning and career awareness provides an effective model by which to ‘grow our own’ skilled, committed and ‘work-ready’ young entrepreneurs and employees through a strong and sustained collaboration between the UTC and our employer partners.


Digital Health

Prof. Michael Catt, Director of the NIC:A will provide an update on the National Innovation Centre for Ageing.

Dr Emma Banks, CEO Datatrial – Dr Banks will discuss details of the software launch which played a pivotal part of winning the Innovate UK funding for the development of gene therapy treatments. Data in clinical – who does it belong to? She will discuss what it means to the industry and the North East.

 12.35-1.15pm – LUNCHTIME PLENARY

Innovating for Growth Panel
Steven Kyffin, Northumbria University, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Business & Engagement)

Richard Waterhouse, NBS, CEO

Judith Jackson-Merrick, Accenture UKI IBM Practice Lead

Claire Sharp, Customer Services Director, Northumbrian Water Group


1.15-2.15pm – Lunch



Keynote: Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP – Minister for Digital, culture, media and sport


I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, Amazon Web Services and tombola’s expansion

Ian Walshaw and Karl Wood, tombola 

Lessons on scaling, growth and how AWS is essential to supporting the sponsorship of ITV’s most successful TV show.

Sunderland based tombola is a rapidly expanding, market leading and international technology company which develops high quality online entertainment, focussed around affordable bingo and their version of casino games.  With all of their software developed in-house they are at the forefront of digital innovation.  Join tombola’s tech experts to listen, discuss and learn from their challenges after migrating to the AWS cloud platform and how they overcame them as well as describing how the AWS approach comes with pitfalls and pre-loaded expectations.  They will also show how AWS enabled the launch of the tombola Arcade business and gave it the platform to support their sponsorship of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here, which brought challenges of scaling and bandwidth, processing huge volumes of transactions and managing high levels of customer interactions.


Institute of Coding

Professor Alastair Irons, University of Sunderland

The session will provide an update on the Institute of Coding and what the opportunities are for industry and business in the region. The Institute of Coding is a national project worth £40 million over the life of the project. Newcastle, Northumbria and Sunderland Universities are members of the consortium. The session will cover the objectives of the project, the progress so far and the opportunities for colleagues from business and industry to get involved. There will be opportunity for discussion and questions.


Shared Services – Defining the Region’s Expertise, Challenges and Opportunities

Anne Macdonald & Stuart Lynn, Dynamo North East; Nick Morrison, Accenture; Saskia Hawkins, EY; Lindsay Phillips, Sage; Julie Mordue, NRG. 

Shared services are part of a complex business ecosystem spanning processing centres and digital transformation. They include bank trading, legal and HR outsourcing, data entry for government administration, customer services enquiries and complaints and new product development.

This fast growing sector employs thousands of people across the region but is under the radar and surrounded by misconceptions of low skilled work and cold calling practices.

Dynamo recognises the opportunity for shared services to boost the region’s digital economy and is building a shared services cluster to stimulate business collaboration and growth.   Join us for a lively panel discussion with leading firms to identify the strengths, challenges and opportunities for the sector…and help us dispel a few myths along the way!


Do We Need Challenger Banks and are They Really Challenging? 

Mike Butler, Barclays; Greg Hawkins, Starling Bank; Dr Karen Elliott, Newcastle University Business School; Steve Watchman, Newcastle Building Society; Simon Brown, Atom Bank; Mike O’Brien, Opencast Software;

The government wants more banks, challenger banks and others to enter the financial services arena for 2 reasons. 1. to keep the big banks on their toes and 2. to reduce systemic risk.
To achieve the first they simply need to challenge, not to win. To achieve 2 they don’t need to do anything different to the bigger banks, just take a bit of their market share.
Why does the public want challenger banks? They don’t! We just want our current banks to treat us as if it is our money not theirs (it is actually theirs not ours but most people don’t realise this) and to make our lives easier. Fantastic well thought User Experiences and well understood user journeys are key to this and what the challenger banks purport to do is look at it from the customer’s point of view. But actually do they? I don;t just want one account? I want all the services that you have mentioned below and I don’t want to have to think about it all the time. Financial Services are being commoditised and the race to the cheapest and easiest has started. If you still have a bank branch then who the bank manager is no longer matters – there is no differentiation there.

So, if looking after our money is a utility, then surely scale matters? The challengers either have to provide niche, boutique services, which they are nowhere near doing at the moment, or do it cheaper than anyone else. Perhaps they can do that by disrupting the cost model of banking – but wouldn’t that mean unpicking the whole banking eco-system? Now that’s a challenge!


4.00-4.15pm – Break


4.15-5.15pm – CLOSING PLENARY

Keynote: To be announced soon

Closing remarks – Stuart Lynn, Dynamo North East


New post: Northumbria students launch green awareness campaign for Metro operator dynamonortheast.co.uk/northum…

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