Just one part of the invigorating refresh that Lisa Springate, Chair of IoD Jersey instigated, was the creation of a Technology Sub-Committee. I was tasked with putting together a team which would define the scope and reach of what we could achieve in the fast moving and dynamic world that we all live in.
Working closely with some very talented local individuals such as Ian Webb and Lloyd Adams, the team drafted a Terms of Reference that would guide not only this sub-committee but also provide a template to support the other newly formed sub-committees across IoD Jersey.
An experienced team
We brought a great deal of experience to the table. I started my career in the City of London, developing and supporting major banking applications, before 30+ years at senior levels in a range of businesses, including local Government coordinating change and development, as well as many years in Jersey’s legal and financial institutions. Along the way, there has been ‘time’ to build and test fly the first kit biplane in the Island, as well as have the honour of opening the 2018 Jersey Air Display.
Lloyd Adams is Head of Strategy with Digital Jersey and so perfectly placed to have his finger on the pulse of both our local tech community and the wider global digital environment.
Ian Webb spent his formative years in the UK developing IT systems for manufacturing plants, then managed integration programmes of recent acquisitions. He moved to Jersey in 2009, spending several years in Government consolidating and rationalising the IT function, before becoming an independent consultant. He’s now the CTO at e-commerce platform, Onogo, and spends his spare time racing and sailing his Quartertonner yacht.
Getting to work
Our first couple of meetings upstairs in a coffee shop in town seem a long time ago now, a time when ease of human contact made for much simpler and rapid dialogue, when seeing a small but subtle reaction to a thought or idea spoke volumes, and where planning for the future of collaborative interactivity of members meant large dynamic meetings and presentations in local venues. How times change…
Apart from planning events and features the Technology sub-committee has several other roles. Firstly, we needed to support a now growing and busy IoD committee. One way we quickly identified that we could help, was to support the implementation of a robust, collaborative documentation solution. This would allow the increased number of sub-committees to work more effectively and securely. Secondly, we worked closely with Jo Ferbrache and Yvonne Corbin at local PR and marketing agency, Betley Whitehorne Image (BWI), to update and improve the website for the new (fresh) look IoD.
Finally, one of the key things for the team to address, was of course our membership. We wanted to provide support and guidance to a very diverse member base from a technical perspective, but make it fun, engaging and interesting. We also wanted to ensure we could research and provide practical materials and information that IoD Jersey members can use in their daily roles.
The idea for the innovation series of events came from one of the early coffee shop meetings, and we soon mapped out the form these should take. Four sessions throughout the year were planned that could add real value to our members. We were delighted when JT offered to sponsor all four events this year and it has been a delight to work with Daragh McDermott and his team.
The first session in the series (There is Nothing Artificial About Intelligence) was delivered in the Royal Yacht to a sell-out audience with some really interesting feedback and questions. The presentation sought to highlight the difference between Machine Learning and AI whilst also touching on the ethical considerations that surround such technology. We were concerned about the size of the venue but support provided by the events organiser at the Royal Yacht and our own IoD PR and events committee was superb.
A surprise add-on at the end of the presentation was a draw to pick out a name to have a flight in a little yellow biplane. Once restrictions lift we hope to get this planned.
Ian and I planned the second session in the series (Mind the Gap) before lockdown, so we had to rethink how we could carry this on. Being in very different circumstances, we set this up as a webinar, and were pleased to again attract a sell-out audience for our first attempt at a multi-participant webinar.
The preparation out-takes are quite hilarious and probably indicative of many that have gone before and will follow. Ian showed some tenacity to get five different parties to prepare their offline content (in lockdown), collate it and then present as a seamless webinar with real time Q and A session to follow.
The topic of this webinar was increasing awareness of the need for digital skills at the top of organisations – the board and executives. We are aiming to improve how this requirement is measured through IoD Jersey, and also to provide a set of courses for Directors and Non-execs through the Digital Jersey Academy.
The Technology sub-committee is now collaborating with key local players in terms of JT, Digital Jersey and Jersey Finance, to ensure we all support and foster each other’s initiatives in overall support of ‘Jersey plc”.
Lots more to do…
Being involved with the sub-committee has been both rewarding and enjoyable. You also get asked to do all sorts of interesting things. I had the pleasure of being asked to review the papers on Radio Jersey one Sunday morning with the very talented Natasha Egré who is both Deputy Chair of the IoD and also Chair of the PR Sub Committee. Being suddenly asked what I thought about Harry and Megan relocating to Canada when I was planning to answer the Boris Bridge from Scotland to Ireland question, is a moment I will cherish?
So, one year gone and while we have achieved much across our committees in support of the IoD Jersey membership, there is much more to do. We are now actively planning the next two Innovation Series events. We don’t know yet how these will be presented, maybe in person, maybe digitally? We remain flexible and are looking at new and exciting topics to bring to the table.