Do you recognise this woman?
How about this woman?
or this man?
How about this man? 😉
They are all amazing UK tech heroes. People from the UK who have done amazing things in the technology sector, but do we know about them and their achievements? We all know about Sir Tim Berners Lee, but do we all know about the others? Probably not.
They are Dame Stephanie Shirley who set up F International in the 1960s, Dina St Johnston who set up the world’s first software house, amd Tommy Flowers inventor of Colossus, the world’s first programmable, digital computer.
In the UK we have an *amazing* tech heritage, but for some reason technology/computing/IT is seen as something boring and a thing that boffins or nerds do. That annoys me, it annoys me so much that I’ve set up a foundation to sort it out.
At a conference a few months ago a leading UK economist said that the success of a nation depends on it having at least one of the following:
In the UK we only have creativity. But, creativity is something that we excel at 🙂
Read “Crisis Focus: The Cs to economic success” for more details.
In 2012 the world is rapidly becoming a global marketplace. In the UK, because of our history, our success during the industrial revolution, we have got used to being one of the world’s movers and shakers and to calling the shots. But that time is coming to an end.
A truly global marketplace will mean that previous power structures that have existed will change or cease to exist. We are seeing the beginning of this already with the Arab Spring, but this is just the beginning. Over the next few years this will affect us in the UK more and more. We need to think hard about what our position will be, and how we will sustain a UK economy when we don’t have computer science in schools and most people are completely switched off by technology, unless it is a gadget that they can use. We need technology innovators and creators.
So what can we do? Well, we have an amazing tech heritage, we also have an amazing history of invention, innovation and creativity. We have key strengths.
But, more and more, technology enables innovation. So, if we are not keen on technology we will not be maximising our potential for innovation.
We need to get everyone in the UK more tech savvy. We need people to understand a bit more about the creation and production of technology so that they feel more comfortable with it, and understand a bit more about how it all works, and fits together.
The more that everyone feels comfortable with technology, the more people will use technology to innovate. More innovation leads to increased productivity, increased productivity leads to economic growth and to the UK being successful in the global marketplace. This also means a better standard of living for those of us in the UK, or at least no drop in standard of living.
I’ve put my ideas into a graphic which I’ve called “The <goto> effect”.
We need to make the <goto> effect happen in the UK. We need to get everyone excited about technology, more tech savvy and creating stuff using technology. We don’t need everyone to become a programmer, but wouldn’t it be great if everyone has a better idea of how a program works? Wouldn’t it be great if everyone felt that they could have a go at creating an app that would improve their life in some way?
Ok, so some people will never be interested, I expect that’s true. But, everyone *could* do it. The <goto> Foundation’s first event #gototech was all about showing that 7 year old kids could do it. They designed apps with AppsforGood, they did a bit of programming in Scratch, they plugged a peripheral device into a Raspberry Pi. If 7 year olds can do that, so can almost anyone in the UK.
Our <goto> Foundation first event was a phenomenal success and we have great plans to make all of this happen. But we need your help. If you want to work with us to make the UK #techfabulous, please get in touch: sue at gotofdn dot org
Computer says YES!! :))