Driving change via technology | Deloitte UK has been saved
In advance of Bristol Technology Festival 2021, David Tansley, technology consulting partner and vice-chair at Deloitte, discusses how technology can be the conduit to a better, greener, more prosperous and inclusive society.
My Deloitte colleagues and I are delighted to support Bristol Tech Festival for a third year running, and it will be great to see familiar faces – as well as some new ones– at the festival’s launch event at Engine Shed on 7 October. Whilst the festival was held virtually in 2020, this year we are all looking forward to returning to a live, in person festival, and, despite the challenges of the last 18 months, it’s evident that the tech community in Bristol has continued to thrive.
Technology is at the heart of driving emerging opportunities in high growth sectors such as FinTech, LawTech, and SpaceTech. As technology becomes embedded into everything that we see and do, it fortunately means you can suffix the word ‘Tech’ to just about anything and an opportunity for growth is revealed. Deloitte is a technology consultancy, amongst other things, and we are pleased to be working with many enterprises in the local tech sector on developing the regional response to these market opportunities.
Over recent years, we have all seen how technology can be a force for good. For example, supporting scientists in the development of effective vaccines and in using drones to deliver medical supplies and test kits. We’ve also seen how technology can play a role in connecting the most vulnerable and isolated people in our society, and technology used to support learning at times when our classrooms have been closed.
We’ve also witnessed just how quickly people of all ages can adapt to using technology in their everyday lives, whether in the workplace or at home, which for some may be one and the same. Whether we are now working from home, or living at work, may be just a matter of perspective and brings into sharper focus our need to be better at balancing our home/work lives. But we shouldn’t overlook the digital divide and those who don’t have access to the right technology, or skills to use the technology, as these pockets in society have struggled in recent times.
As a society, we must ensure that the growth and prosperity that can be catalyzed through technology is inclusive, creating opportunities for everyone in our communities. This will necessitate investment in job creation, upskilling and commitment to greater diversity and inclusion.
The core theme of Bristol Technology Festival 2021 is ‘changing the face of tech’. Deloitte is already a firm believer in taking action to address these issues within the tech industry and we have a programme of activity dedicated to diversifying and upskilling a digital workforce, as well as bridging the digital divide through our work with schools and charities.
We are working with the Institute of Coding on their digital skills bootcamps across the South West and further afield, giving people in the region access to digital skills training and new job opportunities with businesses that are urgently in need of tech-savvy employees. We’re also supporting Code First Girls by sponsoring 15-week nano-degree courses in data and software, ,which saw us hire seven women from the programme into Deloitte in Bristol in September, and with a further cohort of ten expected to graduate and join the firm in January 2022 .
Technology may have a key role to play in helping people find jobs, in helping people learn new skills and in reimagining at least some aspects of how we undertake these roles. I was fortunate to see a demonstration of how immersive technology is being used to create hi-fidelity simulations of critical events whilst at the University of the West of England, UWE Bristol ,this autumn, and the potential for using these techniques is enormous. In my view, technology can be the key to helping ordinary people do extraordinary things.
We must also remember that – as well as needing data scientists, coders and robotics experts – for the South West to function and prosper as a region, we also need more construction workers, drivers, hospitality workers and carers.
Given we are just a few weeks away from COP26, climate change is being talked about more than ever and it’s a global challenge in which technology also has a critical role to play. As I see it, technology will be vital in developing cleaner power, better and less polluting forms of transport, or more efficient greener homes that cost less to heat. And beyond that, it will equip people in the local workforce with the skills they need to fill the new ‘green jobs’ that will be created.
Bristol Technology Festival is a great platform that brings people and communities together and enable us to share, learn, explore and showcase how technology can have a positive impact for everyone in society, the local economy and the environment.
This year’s festival schedule is bigger than ever, and the spread of topics is just fantastic and testament to the tech community in Bristol which Engine Shed and TechSPARK have championed over the years.
As many a blog draws to an end, we see words of wisdom from inspiring leaders or key figures from history. I’ve chosen to to zero in on the green theme and turn to a quote from the one and only Kermit the Frog, who said:
"Have what Jim Henson liked to call 'ridiculous optimism'. Without it, we wouldn't have this amazing world we live in."
With #BTF2021 and that thought in mind, I’m really excited about this year’s festival and to seeing and hearing some ridiculous optimism in the upcoming days and in the 50 or so amazing events taking place over the next week.
Bristol Technology Festival 2021 takes place between 11-15 October showcases, celebrates and connects everything that's great in the inclusive, collaborative and varied ecosystem that is the Bristol tech community. The theme of this year’s festival is ‘changing the face of tech’, with an emphasis on tackling diversity and inclusion in the sector. Events are crowdsourced from organisations across the city.
#BTF2021 | https://www.bristoltechfest.org/
Deloitte is hosting five sessions which will be recorded and then made available to view on demand.
Dave is a Vice Chair and Consulting Technology partner. He leads our firm wide Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Government Sector (IT&RG) within Government & Public Sector (G&PS). Dave is also a member of the Deloitte NSE Board where he chairs a number of committees. As a Chartered Engineer with over 30 years of experience, Dave has a proven track record of delivering complex, large scale digital and technology-enabled business transformations across the Public and Private sectors. In his multiple LCSP roles, Dave helps public sector organisations transform their businesses and user experience through the exploitation of digital technology, new ways of working and innovative business practices. Dave is currently the Chair of the Deloitte UK & Swiss Partnership Council and is a member of the Board of Governors for the University of the West of England (UWE) and the Governance Board of the Institute of Coding (IoC).