frances's blog

Re-thinking Progress: The Circular Economy

With up to 50 billion connected devices predicted by 2020, a pervasive digital transformation is reshaping the economy. Will this ‘fourth industrial revolution’ lead to an acceleration of the extractive, ‘linear’ economy of today, or will it enable the transition towards a society in which value creation is increasingly decoupled from finite resource consumption?

There's a world of opportunity to re-think and re-design the way we make stuff. 'Re-Thinking Progress' explores how through a change in perspective we can re-design the way our economy works - designing products that can be 'made to be made again' and powering the system with renewable energy. It questions whether with creativity and innovation we can build a restorative economy.

The Clean Energy New Economic Revolution

So, a couple of months after the momentous public and private sector commitments involving billionaire movers and shakers such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Reid Hoffman, Jeff Bezosh and other high-profile entrepreneurs to pledge to spark a “new economic revolution” based around clean energy through launching a new investment drive for renewables…..it’s instructive to look back and reflect on the issues - and exactly what was agreed.

Startup Recruitment - Sponsorship

It is paramount for startups to hire talented people who want to work hard to build something from the ground up. However, the costs of sourcing and hiring a Developer or Software Engineer in the UK, especially in London, can be high, so many founders end up outsourcing the work to remote contractors based offshore.

Startups can look to India, Spain, China or many remote locations to get a job done but that doesn’t replace an in-house team of permanent hires with a shared vision for the longer term.

The Future for Smart Cities

With a global population explosion underway and increasing numbers of people migrating to urban centres, some argue that cities will have to get smarter or face collapse.  Which is why, according to industry analysts, the “smart city” will represent a $39.5bn (£25.1bn) marketplace by 2016.

Whole new cities, such as Songdo in South Korea, have already been constructed according to this template. Its buildings have automatic climate control and computerised access; its roads and water, waste and electricity systems are dense with electronic sensors to enable the city’s brain to track and respond to the movement of residents. But such places retain an eerie and half-finished feel to visitors – which perhaps shouldn’t be altogether surprising.

Digital Business Growth - the Thames Valley vs London Tech Clusters

The digital economy in the UK is thriving. The UK-wide nature of the industry was supported by the Tech Nation research report from Tech City UK - the agency originally created by the government to promote the east London tech cluster but which now promotes tech business growth UK-wide.

Using data from fast-rising digital businesses like Duedil and Adzuna, the Tech Nation 2015 report predicts that digital job growth will outperform all other occupation categories by 2020 - with digital employment itself set to grow by 5.4% by 2020.

Cyber Security - Threats and Budgets Growing Exponentially

Commitment to combating the ever morphing security threats across industry, not least fuelled by the high profile attacks on the likes of Sony Pictures and Home Depot, is gathering serious pace.  Cyber security start-ups raised more than $1bn for the first time in a single quarter - up from $540m for the first three months of last year and almost double the same period of 2014, according to data from private company research firm PrivCo.  Four years ago, total annual funding was less than $1bn.

Women in IT Careers - The Gender Gap

The UK faces a worsening gender gap in its flourishing IT industry, according to a new study.

The Women in IT scorecard looked at gender trends from secondary education through to the work place.

It indicates women account for just 16% of the UK IT workforce.  And the problem starts early - despite consistently out-performing boys in computing A-level results, girls account for just 6.5% of those taking the exam.

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