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Tech Connect: Innovation, Ethics, and Immersive Tech…

The second industry day of the Tech Connect programme.

Last week saw the second industry day of the Tech Connect programme. Following the launch of the second cohort last month, the teams went straight to the first industry visit, masterfully hosted by Oracle. A fortnight later for the second industry visit the teams were split into two groups. While one group went to spend the day at BT’s HQ in St Paul’s, I found myself a few hundred yards away, accompanying the other group to Sopra Steria.

Tom McCann, Sopra Steria’s Public Sector Growth Director, was our host for the day, and had laid on a tremendous agenda. Morgan, Sopra Steria’s Head of Digital Innovation gave us an overview of the day and an introduction to their work on innovation. His colleague Stephen then talked the group the work they do in their DigiLab and their approach to fostering innovative cultures. He emphasised the critical importance of applicability and outcomes, and outlined the central role of product ownership. He also provided some great practical advice on how to build diverse innovative teams.

Next up were Sophie and Jen, who gave us a comprehensive introduction to digital ethics and the Tech for Good agenda. After an overview of the some of the major global challenges that are causing deep uncertainty, they gave the group some current case studies to talk through and explore the ethical implications of some emerging tech.  

Then David, the Innovation Team lead, demonstrated some immersive tech that they’re currently working on, and gave some real life examples of how it can hep address public sector challenges. The demos really highlighted the empathy that immersive tech can bring, and powerfully brought this point home with examples like tackling bullying and coping with dementia.

After a whirlwind morning getting to grips with these issues, fueled by the Sopra Steria lunch and the info from the morninthe teams then had some time to continue working on their solutions to their Tech Connect challenges. There was a great buzz in the room as the teams got together with their mentors and started papering the walls with post-its as they began mapping out their solutions.

Another great Tech Connect industry visit, enormous thanks to Tom, Morgan and the whole team for hosting it! Best of luck to all the teams as they work on their challenges!


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