Iain Gray's blog - 19 Jan 2009

Last week we published our first external blogs on the Technology Strategy Board website and we are now being followed regularly through our Twitter updates (www.twitter.com/Iain_Gray). We now have 20 Technology Strategy Board people registered on Twitter, being followed by increasing numbers of followers. The growth and influence of social networking sites will very much continue during 2009 and I believe they will be powerful media for communication that can help us to build confidence in innovation during this downturn.

I had an interesting mix of internal and external meetings during the week; here are the highlights.

On Monday I spent a good hour and a half with Lord Drayson in our offices, taking him through the objectives of the Technology Strategy Board. He was very supportive whilst also being quite challenging to do more - encouraging us to be even more closely engaged with other government departments, to make choices, to move fast and importantly to behave like a business in making decisions.

On Tuesday I held our monthly executive management meeting with directors, reviewing our latest monthly financial and progress reports and beginning the budgeting process for the coming financial year. In the evening I went to the EADS/Airbus reception in London which was extremely well attended. EADS had finalised the purchase of Surrey Satellites () that day.

Wednesday started with an Energy Research Partnership (www.energyresearchpartnership.org.uk) meeting. This is a senior cross-business/cross-Government leadership forum to determine energy research priorities for the UK. We received a good working group summary report on carbon capture and storage and identified areas which required significant R&D, as well as those needing other support such as permits and large scale integration demonstration.

I had a quick review with the Economist ahead of their upcoming conference in February, Innovation Island, at which I am one of the panel speakers.

Thursday provided the business highlight of my week - a visit to Imagination Technologies (www.imgtec.com). This is an impressive business, turning over around 60m with big growth plans in the coming years. They are a knowledge-based company and provide semi-conductor design solutions to all the major players, with big UK export orders.  They own PURE (http://www.pure.com/) the world's leading digital radio supplier, 100% designed here in the UK.  We discussed possible solution themes that could provide real UK market leadership and pull through, such as home connectivity and in-car electronics.

I then moved to Cambridge to meet with the Chief Executive of TWI (www.twi.co.uk ). It was my first visit to Granta Park and I was surprised at just how extensive the facilities were. Their Technology Showcase atrium included some pretty impressive exhibits - demonstrating world leading materials capability. We discussed the National Composites Network and its future, particularly in the context of the KTN reviews. It is important we find ways to ensure we exploit and industrialise further the composites capability for the UK.

We finished the week with a Governing Board meeting to review the direction we will be taking to respond to the economic downturn. We will find ways of positioning innovation at the heart of recovery actions, with the Technology Strategy Board playing a leadership role across the innovation landscape. The discussions focused around priorities over the next 12 months. Details will be worked up quickly and communicated in the coming weeks. I am left very much thinking of Dumbledore's advice to Harry Potter - "It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices." (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) Richard Harris)


Last updated on Friday 24 February 2012 at 10:37

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