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Digital Britain: Reports from the heart of Shoreditch

June 24, 2011 - 6 Comments

As a new contributor to the Connected Life Exchange, I have been thinking — there’s so much that is happening in the realm of technology and telecoms , not just in the UK, but globally — it is difficult to know where to start.

So let’s go on a journey, with the starting point being East London – my home town.

In November 2010 David Cameron pledged ‘that the East London Tech City will rival the Silicon Valley’.  This got me thinking, how do you create something like Silicon Valley, when Silicon Valley, really just happened? So what did David Cameron really mean when he said this and more to the point, how on earth is it going to be achieved?

My interest in the Tech City is purely personal – at the moment – as I have recently moved to East London and I am located right in the middle of the action and the fact that I work for Cisco who pledged to invest $500m over the next 5 years, it has defiantly got my attention.

David already mentioned the East London Tech City project, but over the next few months I will go deeper, by starting to explore the what and the how in more detail – reporting what these local start-up business leaders think about the big industry players coming to their community.

Reaping the Full Economic Potential of a Digital Agenda

I will be investigating how these start-up companies are using the latest ICT technology to enable them develop and grow; whether it is cloud computing, mobile internet, Smartphone apps or something equally forward-looking.

As I uncover the layers of talent and creativity within the Shoreditch neighbourhood and surrounding Tech City area, we’ll discover what it really means to conduct business in this rival to “the Valley” and if our most promising SMEs can truly ignite the local economy of the UK.

Will these start-ups become the driving force that propels the UK forward – just like the pundits are predicting?

I’ll document our findings from these start-up venture experiences — and what the big corporate players, the government, education institutions and the investment banks are doing to nurture and support these early-stage companies.

Moreover, I’ll ponder, what we can learn from other countries or regions that have already created these launch pads for new businesses? Are there proven lessons-learned that we can apply here?

Further to all of the above, I’ll highlight the impact of social media on their business operations — to actually improve productivity or increase sales; rather than merely try to align a Twitter account, or ensure that blog content is published to a LinkedIn profile.

This is just a sample the topics that I’ll be covering. So, I invite you check in, follow our progress and see if there’s something more that you would like to know about the opening chapters of the Digital Britain story – literally, as they unfold. Of course,  I welcome your questions and comments.

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  1. CBI held an excellent meeting at UEL Stratford on the Tech City subject. Mckinsey report at is very comprehensive.

    • @Stuart, thank you for sharing the details on the McKinsey report. I thought I had read just about everything on the Tech City initiative, but I had not seen this in-depth assessment before. I'm sure that our readership, from all over the world, will find this insight very thought-provoking -- as more cities attempt to establish or advance their own creative / digital technology cluster.

  2. Do you think there are any strong Digital SME players that DO NOT reside in Shoreditch?

    • Elliot, thanks for posting the comment. There are plenty of creative hubs across the UK which are home to Digital SMEs - such as MediaCity in Manchester and Dundee in Scotland - I just happen to be in the heart of one of them, which is Shoreditch

  3. On a related note, Neil Crockett, MD London 2012 at Cisco, describes the telecom infrastructure that's being deployed -- and how it will be utilized, long after the Olympics are over

  4. Andrew we would like to welcome you to London's Silicon Roundabout. Feel free to ping if you need any help with your research. Shawn Organiser London Silicon Roundabout Meetup Group