Innovation Culture 03/10/17
Teesside University Technology and Enterprise Club kick off the year by looking at the secrets of Innovation Culture. How you create an innovation culture, how you recognise an Innovation Culture and how you work with other to exploit new and innovative ideas.
We will be joined by Iain McPherson of local creative heavyweights Big Bite Creative to talk about his experience of the power of innovation in business and how students can benefit from local innovation initiatives like the tech networking programme Refresh Teesside.
Everyone is welcome, regardless of discipline and regardless of expertise! Teesside University Technology and Enterprise Club is well known for its informal, informative laid-back events and as always cake will be served…
Blockchain – 6/12/16
The 6th of December was the date that saw the final 2TEC meeting of 2016. Once again in our trusty PG13 a group of eager students gathered to learn more about what was probably the most technological subject of the year, Blockchain.
Blockchain is a distributed database that maintains a continuously-growing list of ordered records called blocks. Each block contains a timestamp and a link to a previous block. By design blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data – once recorded, the data in a block cannot be altered retroactively. This means that it is extremely trustworthy as a receipt of data which is useful as people often aren’t as honest.
To help the group better understand Blockchain we were graced by the presence of guest speaker Glynn Bird who is a Developer Advocate for IBM or in his own words – a ‘Blockchain Guru’. Glynn was extremely helpful in walking us through the very basics of Blockchain, a subject which at his own admittance, can be a bit technical. Glynn went on to give examples of where the technology can be used and also some of its potential downsides.
In a 1st for the 2TEC group we were lucky enough to not only have 1 guest speaker at an event but 2! Following on from Glynn, Masha McConaghy joined us via Skype from Berlin. Masha is the founder/ CCO of BigchainDB and founder of ascribe.
Ascribe is a platform on which creatives can register their work and from there securely share and trace where their digital work spreads. It is a way to help creatives with their digital rights, with provenance, in order to track ownership. McConaghy went on to describe how they felt that ascribe was too slow, expensive and unscalable and as a result, BigchainDB and Interplanetary Database (IPDB) were born. The former is the software and the latter is the network it is used for. As its name suggests, BigchainDB is a bigger, scalable, blockchain database which provides the same securities as ascribe.
Masha then went on to describe numerous other examples of where blockchain has been used to great effect such as Resonate which allows musicians to register music in order to protect IP and BenBen the Ghanaian land registry website which is independent of corrupt government.
The evening provided a lot of information whilst demonstrating to the group members the huge potential of blockchain and the number of great uses it has to offer. 2TEC would like to thank Glynn and Masha again for their time!
And so that drew to an end what was an exciting and productive start to the academic year for the group. We can only hope that same passion continues in to the new year. Until then, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us here at 2TEC!
Blue Ocean Strategy – 29/11/16
Tuesday 29th November saw Teesside Technology and Enterprise Club meet up yet again in our beloved PG13 of the Phoenix building. This time on the agenda was ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’. Not many of the group had heard of this concept but luckily 2TEC leader Andy Price was on hand to walk us through it.
Blue Ocean Strategy is named after the book of the same name published in 2005 and written by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgn. Kim and Maurborgn argue that companies can succeed not by battling competitors, but rather by creating ″blue oceans″ of uncontested market space. Or as Andy phrased it ‘Instead of competing over the same cake – create a new cake’. Here at 2TEC we love cake and even a good cake-based metaphor!
Simply put, a Red Ocean is a currently existing, traditional market and everything that comes along with that i.e. many competitors, clearly understood rules and the condition that a company can only succeed at the detriment of another. An environment where growing market share and profit means reducing a competitor’s. Where a lot of money needs to be spent on things like advertising for small increases in market share in return.
A Blue Ocean on the other hand describes a market not currently in existence, where there is unlimited potential for growth. This can be achieved as a result of a company creating value which in turn creates a new market and demand with no competition.
Throughout the evening the 2TEC members were shown a few examples of companies who had been operating in traditional Red Oceans but had managed to carve out their own niche and in doing so establish Blue Oceans.
The first such example was that of Cirque du Soleil, the Canadian entertainment company. Cirque du Soleil managed to create their blue Ocean by creating value, coming up with something unique that would drive new demand. They did this by mixing opera and ballet with the traditional circus format whilst simultaneously eliminating aspects that were considered superfluous such as star performers and animal acts. This reduction of costs also meant that the company could redirect those funds elsewhere to aspects of the production that would be more important to the brand i.e. choreography.
The 2nd example was that of Yellow Tail who are a brand of wine produced in Australia. Similarly to Cirque du Soleil, Yellow Tail managed to reduce costs by getting rid of facets of production that were not deemed important to the majority of consumers such as the wine being grown in particular vineyards or its age. Yellow Tail simplified their offering by having only a handful of wines to choose from and by making their labelling minimalist and to the point. They also invested in stores at the point of sale by training staff on their products. This was very effective and by 2003, 3 years after the brand was developed, Yellow Tail was the number 1 imported wine in the United States.
The final example of Blue Ocean Strategy of the evening was the events which saw the turnaround of Marvel Comics. After years of stagnating profits, Marvel brought in Peter Cuneo as CFO in 1999 and through his guidance went on to turn the business around. This was done again by creating new value, in this case superhero movies which proved to be extremely successful. Consequentially, Marvel’s stock price rose from a low of $.96 in 1999 to over $50 per share.
This capped off what was a very interesting evening and a great example of what the Teesside University Technology and Enterprise Club is all about; bringing new ideas to the group in an attempt to broaden horizons and get us all thinking!
David Jamilly – 16/11/16
It was a quick turnaround for the Teesside University Technology and Enterprise Club on the evening of Wednesday 16th as following on the back of Tuesday’s successful guest speaker we were graced by another! This time around it was the turn of entrepreneur and ‘secret millionaire’ David Jamilly.
Devoid of cake the event saw the attendance of a group of students and others who were all keen to hear Jamilly describe his experiences in the business world and to listen to any sage advice he could impart.
The night was very informal with David welcoming participation and input from the audience as he progressed through his PowerPoint presentation. He recalled his humble beginnings within the entertainment industry as a clown and how this foundation lead to him being able to build what is today, a 40-person company specialising in events, party planning and prop hire.
David was eager to express his belief in the bigger picture of entrepreneurialism; that money is not the be all and end all but rather the benefits it can provide society and the redistribution of money. To this end, he noted the unconventional opinion that he loves to pay tax! With his long brown hair, softly spoken demeanour and caring nature, Jamilly could be best described as the Jesus of the business world.
The second half of the evening’s events were very personal and even more participative. David sat amongst everybody else in attendance and welcomed input. Ideas were discussed, bounced back and forth, and experiences were shared. The relaxed-natured event was less of an orthodox talk and more of an entrepreneurial love-in.
The night drew to a close with David staying back to talk to people individually who had specific questions for him. Jamilly made sure to speak to everybody and in doing so it meant that he had to rush to avoid missing his train home!
We here at 2TEC would like to thank David again for a thoroughly enjoyable, engaging evening and for giving up his time to come and speak with us.
Up next for the club is a meeting centred on ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’ and the chance for students to participate in the Darlington Building Society Digital Challenge.
Dominic Lusardi – 15/11/16
Tuesday 15th November saw another first for 2TEC this academic year; the club’s first guest speaker!
This took the form of a visit from Dominic Lusardi, MD who is the Managing Director and founder of the highly successful Teesside-based Digital Visualisation company, Animmersion. Lusardi is a graduate of Teesside University and an alumnus of the university’s prestigious ‘Digital Fellowship Scheme’.
Animmersion services clients across a wide range of sectors with visual communications using a unique combination of 3D artwork, slick multimedia and cutting edge digital technologies. The name ‘Animmersion’ is a portmanteau word of ‘animation’ and ‘immersion’ which epitomises the company’s aim of providing immersive digital media for promotional and training purposes.
The event was extremely well attended (and catered; with 2 different cakes on offer!) with around 40 students present to hear Lusardi speak. Dominic recounted how his journey began back when he was a student at Teesside University and he and his friends would stay in on Saturday nights experimenting with animation rather than hitting the town. It was this dedication that lead to a career within the animation industry and ultimately the offer of becoming the managing director of the firm he was at at the time. Having been offered this promotion by the company (foolishly, as Dominic jokingly described it!) he thought to himself ‘If they trust me to do this, why not start my own company?’
This is precisely what he did and in 2006 Animmersion was born. 10 years on the company now has offices at Boho in Middlesbrough and can count many well-known names amongst their clientele, including: Boots, Sainsbury’s and St John Ambulance.
Dominic offered interesting insights in to the ways the technology Animmersion utilises can be used in a real-world context such as holograms used as attention-grabbing advertisements within Boots stores and virtual reality to help St John Ambulance trainees learn how to respond to situations such as somebody suffering a heart attack; an achievement which obviously meant a lot to Dominic.
Lusardi concluded the talk with some useful business advice. He stated ‘It’s not the work you do, it’s not the clients you have, but the team you have around you’ and to ‘have fun and don’t take it too seriously.’ Words I think we could all live by.
The talk was followed by a Q&A session where students got the chance to ask Dominic about any queries they had.
Overall, the evening proved to be a great success and set a high standard for talks to follow. 2TEC would like to thank Dominic again for offering his time and for the advice he imparted. We wish him and Animmersion every success in the future.
On the horizon next for 2TEC are a talks by ‘Secret Millionaire’ David Jamilly, workshops regarding business opportunities and Blockchain and a Christmas party to wrap up the year in style!
1st Workshop – 1/11/16
Tuesday 1st November proved to be a busy day for the Teesside University Technology & Enterprise club with not 1 but 2 meetings taking place.
The earlier of the 2 saw the first lunchtime 2TEC meeting of the year as Andy and a group of students met for an informal discussion which largely revolved around planning the schedule for the coming year. The potential activities on offer by the club were analysed before the proposed workshops were grouped with possible speakers in an attempt to map out the group’s activities for the upcoming months.
A rough outline of what will be taking place from now up until Christmas was agreed upon. After which the group concluded that it would be a good idea to have a post-Christmas review to evaluate the achievements of the club up to that point and to decide on the best way to progress from there.
This meeting was extremely useful in that it provided members with a better idea of the club’s itinerary from now until the new year. Another idea that was explored in furthr detail was the club’s plan to hold ‘Wired Lunches’. These would involve 2TEC members and any other students who wish to, meeting for lunch 1 day a week to watch a short video from Wired magazine. Wired is an exciting print and online publication whose aim is ‘to be the magazine about what’s next – bringing you the people, the trends and the big ideas that will change our lives.’ The goal of Wired Lunches will be to expose members to innovative new ideas and to stimulate discussion.
The evening then saw the initial 2TEC workshop of the academic year. These workshops will aim to provide students with an insight in to a wide array of subjects that could prove helpful in fostering entrepreneurial ambition. This inaugural workshop was held by 2TEC leader Andy Price and was dubbed ‘What the Hell is Design Thinking?’. As the title suggests, this was a fun introduction to the subject of Design Thinking and the event was extremely well attended raising hopes that the club can really amount to something special this year.
Design Thinking is a powerful process that anybody can use in order to creatively and innovatively come up with new ideas for problem solving. After a brief introduction to the topic, the attendees where tasked with putting this new knowledge in to action when they were split in to groups with each group attempting to draw as many representations of an apple as they could imagine.
A following task was put to the groups when they were asked to come up with as many ways as they could think of to improve the university. These could be as creative and ridiculous as they wished; the aim being idea creation in a positive and affirming environment. This thinking outside of the box has been shown to aid with ideation.
After an initial struggle in both tasks, the groups then thrived because of the techniques they had learnt proving that Design Thinking allows you to tackle situations with greater success where innovative or creative solutions are required.
Overall, the night proved to be an engaging and rewarding introduction in to a subject that may benefit the attendees in all their future endeavours. We can only hope that the coming workshops will be as successful as the first!
2nd Meeting – 25/10/16
2TEC’s 2nd meeting of the academic year was held on the evening of Tuesday 25th October in the Phoenix building of Teesside University.
Like the previous gathering, the event was well attended (and catered!) which gave hope that this eager group of students will make the most of what’s on offer this year.
The purpose of the meeting was twofold: Firstly, to act as an ice-breaker so the students could get to know each other better; this was achieved via a frantic game of ‘Human Bingo’! And secondly, the meeting aimed to delve further in to the group’s activities for the year based on the list of ideas brainstormed in the previous week.
The evening proved to be very constructive with members discussing and coming to agreements on various topics including the scheduling of future meetings, the creation of a LinkedIn group and exciting new events like the planned ‘Wired Lunches’. Other activities in the pipeline involve speakers coming in to chat to the group about a range of subjects, notably: Blockchain, enterprise resource planning, Tech City UK and Animmersion on the 8th of November to talk about animating for engineers. These events will be coupled with relevant workshops that will run alongside. Watch this space for more info.
On a final note, there are opportunities for students who wish to get more involved with 2TEC by becoming Committee members. Positions are available in Publicity & Marketing, the Events Team, as a University Adviser, the Management Team, President and Vice-Presidential roles. If you’re interested in any of these, simply get in touch with 2TEC leader Andy Price. It’ll look great on your CV!
1st Planning Meeting – 18/10/16
Tuesday 18th October saw the inaugural planning meeting of Teesside University Technology & Enterprise Club (2TEC) for the 2016/17 academic year.
2TEC is a club run at Teesside University where entrepreneurial individuals can come together to pursue their enterprising and technological ideas in an encouraging environment.
A group of around 20 enthusiastic students and volunteers came along to discuss their hopes and aspirations for the club within the coming year. The informal gathering, presided over by 2TEC aficionado Andy Price proved to be a great success providing a lot of positive energy, a chance to meet like-minded people, a draft list of activities for the group and most importantly – cake.
The club aims to support students in every stage of the business development process and this is reflected among the topics penned in for the group for the year which include: a beginner’s guide to business, funding, TEDx talks, networking and testing out ideas.
The meeting has undoubtedly set the tone for what will hopefully prove to be a fun, engaging and successful year for the club. We’re off to a great start!