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#DigitalNorth take 4!

We all had a cracking night at our latest #DigitalNorth event – our fourth in the series. 

Wait, you weren’t there..? Well, grab a beer and digest the best bits – from kissing frogs to binning industry jargon.  

Pack it up, pack it in, let me begin…

Doug Winter cited unlikely inspiration from 90’s rappers House of Pain (is Jump Around stuck in your head yet?) while talking business strategy and referencing the likes of Sun Tzu and Gandhi – inspirational hey…

Doug is founder of software development business, Isotoma – early pioneers of open source software; he made some great points about modern business strategies, notably the ‘blue sea strategy’ approach of Apple, which argues that leading companies will succeed not by battling competitors, but by systematically creating “blue oceans” of uncontested market space ripe for growth.

It was Doug’s discussion on ‘cultural strategies’ which resonated most in the room; “it’s hard for competition to compete with this strategy,” he said. “If you get the culture right, you can really take off.”

You’re going to kiss a lot of frogs…

Tom Bird is ‘building the best customer team in Manchester’ for Beauty Bay; he told the audience that they’re going to have to “kiss a lot of frogs” to get the right team together. “Teams that need to solve challenges need to be able to listen to each other,” Tom said. Citing why it’s important to put together a team of self-motivated ‘adults’ he added: “You as a leader are also going to have to believe that they can solve any challenge because it’s going to motivate and give that team member some power; if I believe that I can do something I will.”

Eco versus Ego

Steve Plummer of After Digital echoed Tom’s points, stating that hierarchal structures are dead in modern businesses; it’s no longer about a pyramid-headed by one ego, businesses now have a culture and ecosystem in which everyone thrives. “We now talk to our clients about the death of a hierarchy of management,” says Steve. “Modern organisations have to have a culture change in which collaboration, trust and respect are encouraged.”

Good history

From the canals of the 18th century to the revolutionary steps of modern businesses, Keith Braithwaite from software firm Zulhke Engineering talked disruptive technologies and gave us the kind of history lesson we like..!

His fascinating run through businesses that have tried, succeeded and failed to pioneer new ideas turned our heads, with Keith concluding that new ideas must have a legitimate purpose in the market: “At the start of any business, we should be thinking about the objective of any project; you must ask yourself ‘what is the problem I am trying to solve for the world at large?’.”

Agile pundits? What are they..?

Alistair Brown, CTO of HR software firm BrightHR, provoked the audience to ignite a decent debate on agility. He also passionately debunked the myths around the subject: “There are quite a few myths here; agile doesn’t scale, agile lacks rigor, agile doesn’t suit highly regulated organisations – what a load of piffle!”. Alastair also guided the audience on creating the right culture for their business through collaboration.

Toni Phoenix is our Digital Gurus North director and pulls these awesome events together, she summed up the evening by saying: “Our talks are bold, brilliant and a bit different. No death by Powerpoint here, just witty, insightful analogies, great company and a few beers.”

Fancy joining us next time as an attendee, speaker or sponsor? Register your interest here.

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