Generation game highlights Hull’s role in global technology sector
HULL'S place at the heart of a global technological revolution gave business leaders food for thought as they gathered at a special “Tomorrow’s World Today” edition of the Hull Business Women’s Breakfast Club, sponsored by The Deep Business Centre.
A presenter in the twilight of a career transformed by technology was followed by three young people who represent the future of global consumer goods company RB in displaying an array of global brands all serviced by companies from Hull using cutting edge technology.
One disturbing question which lingered in the mind after the event was how technology will look when Daniel Groom, Catriona McAulay and Temitayo Ogundimu reach David Keel’s age.
David Keel, branded as Hull’s “Digital Ambassador”, harnessed technology to transform Hull-based Trident into a £75-million business employing 750 people worldwide and enjoying 30 per cent growth year on year.
Now past retirement age but running his own business in addition to chairing C4Di, he told the audience at The Deep of his enduring commitment to Hull.
He said: “At Trident you could Skype into any office anywhere in the world and you would almost certainly be answered in a Hull accent.
“When we opened C4Di we didn’t realise the wealth of digital expertise that there was in Hull because we were all in little silos doing our own stuff. People’s lives are touched every single day by digital businesses based in Hull.”
David’s who’s who of huge brands from Trident’s portfolio included Boots, Carlsberg, Coca-Cola, Colgate and more, with special mention for a Bud Light advertisement during a Superbowl show which was viewed by 16 million people.
He added that Hull-based tech is now driving such everyday essential as airport carousels, Oyster card software and digital support for emergency services.
He said: “C4Di created this beacon of technology and technical excellence in Hull that everybody should be part of. It’s one of the top ten tech sites in the UK outside London.
“You can take away gas, electricity, road and rail and their absence would not have as much effect on your business as losing connectivity, because it is at the heart of everything that we do. Every business has to be digital to survive.”
The graduates from RB took the story further, telling of their experience, requirements and influence as millennials in the workplace, specifically as part of the future leadership programme in a company which employs around 40,000 people and sells 25 million products daily in more than 180 countries.
Dan revealed that half the workforce comprises millennials, born after 1981 and driving a change in how the company develops and markets its products. Catriona spoke of the platforms such as You Tube and Instagram which shape the buying decisions of an increasingly influential generation. Temitayo told how employers who match the millennials’ priorities of work-life balance, social responsibility and technological innovation will be rewarded by a workforce which is inspired and motivated to excel.
Pat Coyle, Chair of Hull Business Women’s Breakfast Club, said the presentations amounted to an important message for business owners at all levels.
She said: “In a competitive economic environment, businesses need to improve, adapt and be responsive to the changing world around them in order to maintain a competitive advantage. Technology is at the forefront of enabling businesses to be more agile, millennials now hold 20 per cent of all leadership roles and that’s obviously going to grow.”