Tag Archives: digital business

Connected Digital Economy Catapult

The Technology Strategy Board is consulting widely about the Connected Digital Economy Catapult – “to address the challenges of maximising the economic value of the growing digital economy to UK businesses”.

This is an area of great interest to my colleagues and me at the Centre for Creative Collaboration and we have been involved in previous discussions (in the days of the ‘Technology Innovation Centres’).

On Friday last, I went to the Information Day held by the TSB as part of the process. Here’s some thinking in the form of an audioboo, based on the Storify summary I produced.  My previous post has a liveblog made during the meeting which combines notes and collected tweets from the CDEC hashtag. 

The Lean Startup

This event marks the publication of Eric Ries new book The Lean Startup as part of the LSE’s public lecture series.

“Most new businesses fail. But most of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach to business that’s being adopted around the world. It is changing the way companies are built and new products are launched. The Lean Startup is about learning what your customers really want. It’s about testing your vision continuously, adapting and adjusting before it’s too late. Now is the time to think Lean.”

I liveblogged the event – and here are my notes.

The Lean Startup

Eric Ries

Linda Hickman says the book has started a whole movement; there is some controversy about his thinking. Started as a software developer, founder of IMTU and on the board of startups and working with HBS.  The contentiousness of his approach is related to his reflective practice – it’s not about the ‘Great Man’.

Ground rules – don’t want anyone to be disconnected on his account. Use your mobiles.

Public policy-makers are keen on ‘entrepreneurialism’ – v exciting.

Startups are difficult and boring – and product improvement meetings don’t make good movies. The stuff that’s important is ‘too boring to be in the movies’.

A startup is a human institution designed to deliver a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainly.

“A startup is an experiment – can we build a sustainable organisation”.

  • Most startups fail
    • Some get bought – by big companies.
    1. Some enter the Land of the Living Dead

“We can build anything we can imagine”

Entrepreneurship is management. He blames Taylor – “In the past, the man was first. In the future, the system will be the first.” (1911). Fred Taylor’s scientific management gives the wrong signals – we needed more stuff; it was about building it; not thinking about whether is should be built.

We are dealing with ‘extreme uncertainty’
It’s about “The Pivot”

Pivoting is a core concept – a change in strategy; not a change it vision. Pivot sooner. Expands the runway without raising more money.

Achieving failure = successfully executing a bad plan.

Forecasting ad planning only works in a stable environment.

Which activities (from the perspective of the customer) add value and which don’t.

Pivot for him was throwing away 6 months worth of code development. But learning is the excuse to justify failure. “Learning is our most valuable asset” as entrepreneurs.

Validated learning is about how we achieve the learning with minimum effort. Need to minimise the total time through the loop. Build – measure – learn. The point of continuous deployment is implementing features very rapidly – but as experiments.  Need to make the “Minimum Viable Product”.

Innovation accounting. [Cites the Toyota Way]. Need to hold entrepreneurs accountable. Normally the metrics are ‘vanity metrics’.

“They can’t [VCs] tell whether you’re on the brink of success or whether you’ve spent the year ‘goofing off’.”

You need to:

  • Establish the baseline
  • Tune the engine
  • Pivot or persevere

“It’s better to have bad news that’s true than good news that’s made up”.

“When experiments reach diminishing returns; it’s time to Pivot”.


Q – re leadership of the business; why don’t you mention the directors?

A – masses of advice on that. It’s more about the process and the environment that they work in.

Q – re e-commerce; what does MVP look like?

A – inventory is about satisfying demand. Building up inventory in advance of a sale is not a good plan. Start with a very small number of early adopters. Apologies and take pre-orders.

Q – why should I listen to this – what have you built that’s successful?

A – argument by case study. The point of a framework is that it makes predictions – start with one concept and see what happens – make predictions and test. Do it for yourself and see what works.

Q – re scaling. How do you implement a MVP?

A – take one idea; try to get a competitor to steal it. ‘We should be so lucky!’. Big companies have plenty of ideas – but they can’t implement. If you can’t out iterate them – shame on you.

Q – stuff gets released that people don’t really want.

A – it’s about batch size. Think manufacturing. Apply it to software development. Cluster immune system.

Q – re Investors and their attitudes. How do they react?

A – Not easy to sell to investors. It’s difficult. We pivoted to a better product. A few of our investors understood what we were trying to do as a micro-scale experiment. And we knew what the inflection points were caused by. It’s a tough sell. “Don’t pitch the buzzwords – pick the results.”

‘There is zero penalty for shipping the MVP too early.”

Q – from a big company guy from an established brand. What are the challenges of getting big companies to change their ways’

A – The challenge is to get them to change the accountability. Start something that doesn’t need the corporate brand. Reverse the thinking – needs to come down from the top. Middle managers get paid to ‘make the quarter’ – and they kill innovation.

Q – What are you going to do next?

A – I have no idea. Something to do with the short term nature of public markets. Targets are part of the problem. We need a long term stock exchange. Needs full-on ecosystem reform.

“Social Networks for Business Advantage”

I spoke at the Communications Managers’ Association conference “Communications –  the Key UK Growth Accelerator” on March 9th; I had a 10 minute plenary slot.  The CMA is a trade association whose members are responsible for about £15bn of spending on IT/Comms. I’ve written up the notes I used for the talk and they follow.

I said I was ‘the light relief before coffee’  – talking about ‘Social Networking for Business Advantage’.  Two global brands and an ex Ofcom senior person spoke before I did.

I started by saying – of course, this audience will probably regard Social Networking  as “all that fluffy stuff your marketing and PR people may be waffling on about” – the audience’s body language said as much!  “Oh and a few geeks might be going on about it as well.”  You can just make them all go away; but it’s coming to something when the marketing and PR people  and your geeks are on the same side!  Might be worth thinking about a bit.

The question is, can we gain Business Advantage from Social Networking?  My approach was to talk about three things which make it important for me, and which might be useful in thinking further; it’s about

  • Being entrepreneurial; and taking a bit of risk in a new area
  • Avoiding being caught in the hype – but don’t let your predjudices (people Tweeting about what they had for breakfast for example) drive your behaviours
  • Being prepared to have a go at it  – for yourself; to see how it might work (or not!)

Being Entrepreneurial

I was described as “Entrepreneur” in the programme and I joked that the conference organisers had looked at my bio and thought “No idea what he does – just put Entrepreneur – he won’t mind”. You’ll also note that that they didn’t put “wildly successful and influential” in front of “Entrepreneur”.  Nor did they put “failed”.  I’m working on the former – and have had a bit of the latter (but not too much).

I set up on my own in late 2002 – and I now do lots of things.  Consulting with Complexity Partners where I work with Thias Martin and Neil Gregory and a network of other business partners.   I’m on the Board of CBN (a Coop) and Aquafuel Research Limited (a venture capital backed technology business).  I work closely with Amplified Networks (a not for profit) at the cutting edge of the use of social media and collaborative working.

I use Social Networks to sustain meaningful conversations with customers, stakeholders and business partners.  I’m actively using technology to generate realtime and near-realtime content using widely available technology; mostly for C4CC and Amplified.

Over the past 6 years or so, Social Networks have become an integral part of the way I do business.

One of Complexity Partners’ major projects is the Centre for Creative Collaboration (“C4CC”).  C4CC is a joint venture between the University of London, Goldsmiths, Central School of Speech and Drama and Complexity.  C4CC exists to support collaborations that can deliver both economic impact and public value.

The hypothesis is that by focusing the development of Creative Industry businesses – most of them SMEs (as one of the key outcomes of the work at C4CC), we can make rapid and meaningful economic impacts.  These businesses can grow faster (and fail faster!) and offer the potential for employment growth over and above that of “traditional” STEM based businesses.

As part of this, the management of the Social and other networks around C4CC is an integral part of the design.  We actively manage the Physical, Virtual and Social ‘spaces’.  We have a Social Artist in Residence.  We host London’s Leading Social Media Cafe (aka the “Tuttle Club”) and a number of other business, cultural and artistic and performance networks.  And we do this for reasons of ‘Business Advantage’.

The power of the approach I describe is that it brings the kind of people we want to work with into the space.  And we invite them in on their terms – not ours.  And it’s working.

Avoiding the hype

I warned earlier about not being caught in the hype; a collection of anecdotes (sometimes called ‘”case studies”) does not deliver actionable data.  However in using Social Networks we can both set sensible metrics and track them.  So, in the case of C4CC what are the data for our first 12 months of operation?:

  • Collaborative projects; target set 20; actually achieved 80
  • People involved in projects and events; target set 200; actually achieved 2,100

And we were told “There’s no demand” for this kind of neutral collaboration space combined with high quality support and facilitation services.   We also have 4 start-up businesses (2 emerging from projects at C4CC and 2 we have brought in from outside).

Being prepared to have a go

Over the past 12 months or so, interest in Social Networks from businesses has grown and seems to have accelerated over the past 6 months.  Much of the action has so far been in the B2C area with ‘Big Brands’ using Social Networks to promote themselves and communicate.

And there is massive potential in B2B and also in internal communications; Enterprise versions of Social Media tools for example.  But to capture the value in this, it’s necessary to ‘have a go’ and not leave it to the PRs and the geeks.

Recently I was at a Round Table discussion of the use of Social Networks by business; a scattering of Fortune 500 companies, technology companies; a mixture of operational people, public affairs people and consultants.  All discussing the impact of Social Networks on business; and one of the participants,  a very senior corporate public  affairs person said “The Genie is out of the bottle – it’s just that the “C-Suite” hasn’t accepted it yet”.

So the best thing to do – is have a go.  And remember, this is what we wanted – pervasive, ubiquitous, accessible IT/Comms technology.  Deeply embedded in our lives  and businesses.  So we have to deal with it by getting involved.

Jeremy Hunt MP – Media and Technology

I was invited to hear his first keynote on Media and Technology – and here is the liveblog of the event.

At the bottom of this post you can see the liveblog I made at the time; while Jeremy Hunt was speaking. Using Scribblelive, I also added in content from those making comments on Twitter. I streamed live from the event using Ustream Broadcaster on the iPhone but just some of the questions. There’s no point trying to stream the speech – Ministers rarely depart from their prepared texts and in any event the transcript is usually available immediately. Questions are different however.

I’m embedding the stream archive here. The person in shot on the immediate left is Mark Thompson DG of the BBC – check out the body language.

The Future of Broadband event in Gateshead

The Future of Broadband in the NE and the world

In a busy, buzzy and engaging event, over 100 of the NE’s leading business people and entrepreneurs discussed the Future of Broadband – looking at the prospects for the NE in the new wave of broadband services, often called “Next Generation Access” or “NGA” some of which are being developed here in the region.

The scale of the opportunity

The event was sponsored by  NorthernNet represented by Mercedes Clark Smith and Sunderland Software City represented by Fred Pernet of Codeworks.

In their opening remarks, Fred and Mercedes mentioned the importance to the NE’s businesses of getting to grips with the coming services as broadband develops; this is especially important given that the region is increasingly looking to create new jobs in the digital and creative sectors; such as games, animation and software.  Mercedes described how NorthenNet offers types of technology and broadband speeds to smaller companies previously only available to the very largest and on a much more flexible basis.  She argued that “It’s not about the technology; it’s about the people” and that the benefits of creative and technical people working together are beginning to be realised.

The move from Copper to Fibre

To provide a basis for the conversation, Adrian Wooster, Chief Technology Officer of the Community Broadband Network, talked about “From Copper to Fibre” and covered the types of new services based on optical fibre technology and their impact on business.  He mentioned that it’s important to remember that it’s not all about download speed.  Increasingly the speed at which you can upload files and other content is becoming more critical to businesses.  He said “New technologies are coming, some of them already being implemented in Gateshead, that offer the potential for new services.  You can get closer and closer to customers.”  He stressed the business relevance and innovation potential of new services.

G-ti – “Getting it done” in Gateshead

Liz Reed from Gateshead Council (pictured above) focused on G-ti (which stands for Gateshead Technology Innovation) a ground-breaking project bringing ultra high speed service to the Baltic Business Quarter.  “Our job is to make sure we get businesses and jobs; jobs for local people.”  That G-ti is an example of collaboration between the private and public sectors, is a very open and competitive network and that it demonstrates what Gateshead needs to be competitive.  That it’s important for local authorities to demonstrate leadership.  She spoke passionately about the “need to unite creative and technical people in using this new stuff”.   Liz said that Gateshead was “About getting things done.”  At the end of LIz’s presentation, Brian Condon a director of CBN and an independent consultant on technology and business, did a ‘straw poll’; asking the audience to vote on whether this project was a good use of public funds – admittedly an unrepresentative audience – but they voted in favour (with not a single hand raised against).

Caring for the “Not Got Anythings”

Other local projects featured highly in the session – Cybermoor Limited whose Operations Director, Kevin Wood, said that in his area of Weardale ‘NGA’ stands for “Not Got Anything”.  Cybermoor are working with local communities to install optical fibre and improve access to services and innovations such as high capacity ‘Telehealth’.  He agreed with Liz that it was about “Getting things done”.  He said he wasn’t afraid of the “Community” word.  He was open about some of the issues of small scale projects; and that a lack of depth of resources could give problems.  He concluded that “It’s about making things happen when no one else cares.”

George’s “Stories from the Coalface” from ITPS and Virgin

George Galloway, MD of ITPS brought what he called “Stories from the coalface” of real business in the region.  ITPS is a successful and growing privately owned IT services business with over £10m of turnover.  George, who was on stage with Chris Walsham from Virgin Media, provided examples of how ITPS operates.  They were the first Service Provider to offer services on the G-ti network (there are now 5 competing providers) and they partner with a range of companies including Virgin Media.  Chris stressed the importance of partnership working and the need to collaborate.  He said that their strategic relationship with ITPS was a good example as it shows that both large (and Virgin Media has a £15bn network) and smaller players can benefit.  George gave the example of a successful project where a move from Copper to Fibre (of one of the types described by Adrian earlier) had delivered operating cost savings of 30% while simultaneously provding a 10-fold performance increase.  Chris added that these new technologies can help companies reduce their carbon footprint; reducing the need to travel and saving time.

Partnership working to ‘bridge the gap’

Simon Roberson who is the NE Regional Manager for BT Group gave a different perspective from a very big player in the market.  He  talked about BT’s plans to deploy “Superfast Broadband” to 66% of the UK population by 2015.  He said it was a very big project and that it would be difficult to reach those people described as being in the “Final Third”.  He said “We have to remember that the ‘Final Third’ is one third of the population; not 1/3 of the country.” and that there are still very big distances to cover outside the dense urban areas.

Simon gave an example of partnership working in Northern Ireland as a way for the public and private sectors to work together.  He argued that, despite what some other speakers had said, what will pay for the investments will be premium services such as HD and 3D TV which need more bandwidth than existing services.  He said to businesses in the meeting “For you guys it’s a tremendous opportunity.”

Stand by me . .

In a charismatic multimedia keynote presentation, Houston Spencer (above, left)  Vice President of Alcatel Europe (the private sector partner in G-ti) used the Ben E. King song “Stand by me” coupled with images from the 50s and 60s to show how much the world has changed and how much more change there is to go still.  He showed a video called “Stand by me; playing for change” which was made in multiple locations by multiple players and brought together to form a single performance.  He told us that the original record had been played over 7 million times on the radio since its original release 50 years ago but that this video, released only 2 years ago had already been watched over 12 million times on YouTube.

Houston talked about the changes that are coming; and that big organisations came about because of the ‘need to aggregate capital’ because everything was expensive.  The IP/Broadband world changes all that – and that it’s now much easier to create and distribute new forms of content and products using the internet.  Houston asserted that many people mistake the intent of new forms of social media such as Facebook and Twitter; they are not about “broadcast mode”; “It’s not about self promotion, it’s about making connections with people, building relationships and forming an ‘ecosystem’ of people connected together”.  Houston concluded that there was a risk that the big players might destroy the ecosystems they are creating by too many rules or changing the conditions that brought them about.  He finished with an optimistic picture of how relationships sustained by the internet can result in an explosion of global collaboration and connectivity.

Photo credit: Simon Williams, Crest Photography

Metaphor and Strategy in Digital Britain

metaphorsThe use of metaphor in strategy and business and in the media is widespread and often annoying.  Narrative is used to illustrate choices and “It’s been a long journey” is regularly heard from both reality TV participants and news media people who ought to know better.  But there are many more forms of narrative than the journey story – and richer archetypes we could think about.

But maybe we could recast or re-interpret some of these metaphors to help see problems in a ‘new light’.  There, you see; I’m doing it now.  What if we could ‘think our way off the Pendulum’ of boom and bust?  How about ‘painting ourselves Out of the Box’?  And how about making the ‘Playing Field’ more mountainous for players with too much market power?  What if we could harness our knowledge of systems dynamics so that things spiral into control.

And then we come to the Patchwork Quilt analogy I came up with as one of the scenarios for Digital Britain.  The industry seems to want to interpret the Patchwork Quilt as a ‘bad thing’.  Actually it’s a good thing because it’s a manifestation of the coming wave of localism.  Design your own patch of Digital Britain to respond to local conditions and make sure, though, at the edges it joins up with the other patches.

So, the next time you hear a metaphor being used to describe strategy or choices; generate the anti-metaphor in your mind and see where it takes you.

The Onemedia Unconference


‘Creating a new blueprint for media businesses.’

The goal of the unconference was for the participants to set the agenda to find the cross industry business and collaboration opportunities that mattered to them, to increase their revenue and develop their business model.

Setting priorities
Setting priorities

Participants came from film, TV, games, mobile, web, software, interactive media, arts and design to see how they could collaborate and share. Each participant had the opportunity to suggest a session that they would like to run. Notes were taken and then collated together to create a book.
Over 30 sessions were created and run. Each session was written-up in the participants’ own words and is the start of a longer conversation. Sometimes after much debate, a session finished with more questions, sometimes a solution or further action planning was suggested.

Narrative and Storytelling

In an increasingly complex and media-saturated world, we need to help people connect with information/content in ways that are meaningful for them.

Not everything is a ‘story’ but we need to invest more time/effort in getting both content producers and consumers to develop their storytelling and narrative skills.

As an example, we could use story archetypes as a filter/ to explore/evaluate/distill the value of content and its connection with multiple audiences.

We need to go back to basics and think about how what we are doing could be changed/improved by re-visiting the fundamentals of narrative storytelling.

Here is one write-up of a session I was involved in.

Action plan: / Narrative and Storytelling Convener; Henry Playfoot, White Loop

Not everything is a story but do we need to invest more time/effort in getting people to develop their storytelling and narrative skills? If you started with the (say) twelve story archetypes use them as a filter/ explore/evaluate/distilling for discussing the efficacy/value of media content.

This could include collaborative experiments that marry ‘traditional’ storytellers with technologists or cutting edge digital service developers and projects that investigate the application of storytelling across all sectors.

Storytelling and Narrative

In an increasingly complex and media-saturated world, we need to help people connect with information/content in ways that are meaningful for them.

Not everything is a ‘story’ but we need to invest more time/effort in getting both content producers and consumers to develop their storytelling and narrative skills.

As an example, we could use story archetypes as a filter/ to explore/evaluate/distill the value of content and its connection with multiple audiences.

We need to go back to basics and think about how what we are doing could be changed/improved by re-visiting the fundamentals of narrative storytelling.

Related Issues:

Whilst we didn’t get very far in the discussion of this theme during the day it was noticeable that this session was so popular when people came to vote at the end of the day. Why was that? What is about ‘The Story’ that resonates and is so important to people?

What is the story now?

Stories still connect with people – it goes to the root of people’s emotions and there is a groundswell of interest in how storytelling/narrative can be used across every sphere – from politics/policy through to business and communities. Within this we should explore the impact and opportunities afforded by digital technology/platforms. With online gaming, for example, there is no longer one storyteller- there are multiple storytellers. Who is the protagonist/ who is the narrator and how do these shifts influence our experiences? There are strong arguments to suggest we need stories now more than ever. We need authorative voices that can help us navigate the often overwhelming amount of information that bombards us. In the emerging Web 3.0 world, we need authoritative and AUTHENTIC voices to help make sense of the world and the vast amount of noise/content. Business communities are beginning to talk about storytelling. We all know that great business leaders and educators are great storytellers. Their skills do not lie in spouting statistics or presenting data, rather than in distilling disparate threads into a coherent story.

Next Steps

In the creative industries – especially those under the One Media banner – we have unrivalled storytelling capacity. It is what we do, from conception of a game through to delivery of complex, cross-platform content and services.

Keeping an eye on some of the excellent work being undertaken in the UK eg Mike Wilson, University of Glamorgan, DEMOS the role of blogging/self narrating to support literacy (see recent report) and research in the US and Canada into the power of storytelling, NESTA should help ensure we formally embed storytelling skills into our offer.

This could include collaborative experiments that marry ‘traditional’ storytellers with technologists or cutting edge digital service developers and projects that investigate the application of storytelling across all sectors. We are convinced that we would get some real insights and that there would be hard economic benefits in terms of generating revenue for One Media businesses through providing expertise and creative consultancy. Additionally, we have identified that formalising and sharing these skills would support the integration of new people into our sector – especially powerful when thinking of equipping graduates/entry level staff with the requisite skills/attributes to succeed.

Co-Conspirators: Henry Playfoot, Brian Condon, Tim Furby, Paul Dorman, George Stamkoski

The World HiTech Forum – Focus India

Inspired by Muhammad Farmer Director of ‘BITE’ (the British Institute of Technology and E-commerce) the forum and took place in London on 8 October 2008.

Shiv Shankar Mukherjee High Commissioner, Republic of India speaking of the role of government said

“The future skilled workforce of the world will be even more Indian than it is today” and called for better collaboration between India and the UK: “The UK is 3 or 4th largest technology provider to India. We need to deepen this collaboration.”

Speaking on ‘The Knowledge Gap’ Prof S Ramachandran, Vice Chancellor of the University of Madras, painted a contrasting picture of highly skilled people and poor people.

“While we produce a large number of graduates – it is the quality we are concerned about.”

He argued that India’s higher education system today does not produce all the skills required at the workplace and spoke frankly of the challenges faced by the Higher Education sector

“About 25% of our technical graduates are regarded as ‘employable’ – and while the others may be well educated, they don’t have the skills needed by the market.”

Here are more detailed notes of the event:

The Role of Government

Shiv Shankar Mukherjee, High Commissioner, Republic of India

Shiv Shankar Mukherjee
Shiv Shankar Mukherjee

India is still experiencing very high rates of growth. The future will be about moving away from the ‘heavy hand of government’ – liberalisation in India is as much about ‘mindset’ as it is about changing government or operational structures especially in innovation.

We all accept that technology change and innovation are key drivers of economic growth. Now we have self-confident global companies but we also have 300m of the world’s poor who need to see that the fruits of globalisation come to them as well. Nehru identified the use of science and technology for growth and this has continued. Diversity in India means we will have to constantly innovate.  Look at Japan and Korea as examples of the benefits of investing in education and technology.

India is emerging as a gobal R&D hub – over the past decade this has accelerated and contributed to economic growth. A large chunk of patents. Our advantage is the availabllity of highly educated english-speaking maths and science graduates.

The sustained growth of 8.6 to 8.8% over the past 5 years is as much about the development of commercialisation and research as it is about liberalisation.

“The future skilled workforce of the world will be even more Indian than it is today”

Skills and education are central – we produce more graduates every year than all of Western Europe combined. But while we have quantity, the quality is not uniform. We accept that this is a big challenge. The Knowledge Commission, which advises the PM, points out that while India has 300 universities, we still need 1,500 more if we are to meet the needs of the future economy. We will need to move very fast to improve provision and ensure quality. Skilled people are what we need and we need to get back to developing that. India is beginning to outsource to Mexico for example.

View from the Conference Centre
View from the Conference Centre

The role of government will continue to be central in terms of the priorities and spend on improving the spread of quality education across the land and to continue to provide the educated people we need. As well as the highly qualified people – we also need the ‘building blocks’ of technical and support workers – this is an area the state has allowed to become moribund.

“UK is 3 or 4th largest technology provider to India.
We need to deepen this collaboration.”

‘The Knowledge Gap’

Professor S Ramachandran – Vice Chancellor – University of Madras

Professor Ramachandran painted a contrasting picture of highly skilled people and poor people. “While we produce a large number of graduates – it is the quality we are concerned about.” India’s higher education system today does not produce all the skills required at the workplace.

“About 25% of our technical graduates are regarded as ‘employable’ – and while the others may be well educated, they don’t have the skills needed by the market.”

“Where we do produce good quality education this is also too expensive. If we want to sustain the growth we are seeing, we need to ensure access to high quality education. There is a potential for a ‘demographic dividend’ as we have large numbers of younger people. We can only turn this into an advantage if we can ensure the quality is good. Teaching quality is also an area for us to focus on. Need to invest more by paying good teachers better. The Knowledge Economy has to be supported by the update of core knowledge and update the curricula. Alongside the hard core of discipline knowledge, we also need to make sure we build on skills.”

A recent jobs fair which 30,000 students attended with 20,000 jobs on offer – yet only 25% of the students ended up in jobs. They lacked the skills needed by business – communications skills, verbal skills and synthesis skills were all lacking. It’s not that the students were poorly educated – they just weren’t what the businesses needed. This was a wake-up call and the University has worked closely with the Indian Confederation of Business to overhaul courses.

By 2010, we will have a shortage of 250,000 skilled graduates. And it’s very hard to find students who want to do a PhD and learn to develop new knowledge. Moral imperative for government to improve access to PhD courses through improved scholarships. Need improved support from Research Councils. While the education system is strong in the country we need to work hard to ‘fine tune’ it to the needs of both the economy and the need to generate new knowledge.

India needs 1,000,000 new teachers by 2010 – 2012.

Q – From the audience “What to do?”

A – Need to turn graduates as ‘job-seekers’ in to graduates as ‘job-providers’ of 5m graduates a year only 1m go into jobs. We need revolutionary reform to boost their confidence and make them more entrepreneurial and get them to generate new businesses and new jobs. Can’t happen overnight – the numbers are large but we need to make progress. The education sector is the most neglected and it’s difficult to attract teachers to teach – they don’t get paid enough. We have vacancies and they are generally applied for by teachers who are not qualified.