On Wednesday 25th September 2019, the ERDF Big Data Corridor (BDC) project held the Industry and Policy: Development Through Data event at iCentrum, Innovation Birmingham Campus.
The event aimed to provide an opportunity to roundup the work of the BDC, and use the successes of the project to provide a standard for how cross-sector collaboration using big data analytics can accelerate progress, towards industry and local authority goals. Safe to say, we succeeded in that aim! Conversations were had all day around maintaining the momentum that had been provided by the BDC, and how best we can all ensure that support around data capture and analysis can continue.
A fascinating keynote speech from Christian Howes kicked things off, engaging attendees in the diverse and creative applications of big data techniques. No longer is the data the realm of stock markets and financial analysts. We were then given a talk by Chris Thompson (CEO, EnableiD/ You Smart Thing and BDC Industry Partner) then gave an insight into the regional impact of the BDC project, providing the audience with examples of where to take a broadminded approach on how your company uses data.
The afternoon saw 3 brief presentations from BDC Partners (Birmingham City University alongside PBL Care, and Aston University) and a BDC beneficiary (Harmil Pardesi, CEO @ MyEd Ltd). Each of these case studies provided an insight into the wide reaches of big data, with a clear impact seen in different sectors such as health and social care and EdTech.
We then wrapped up with an amazing panel discussion titled “Catalysing the Industrial Strategy in the West Midlands using Big Data”. The purpose of this session was to consolidate everything we had discovered from the earlier sessions in the day, and use this to provide insights which would steer our discussions around next steps for big data in the region. Our panel handled some challenging questions, and gave their take on where we currently stand as a region and what they would like to see in the data sector going forward. Kari Lawler (Founder Youth4AI and WMCA Youth Board Member) gave an invaluable contribution representing the future leaders of the tech sector, and having her say on how we should engage and upskill the generation which is likely to be implementing these new big data techniques. Iain Mansell, as Networks and Partnerships Manager at the Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands, spoke about the crucial role of innovation hubs and support networks in the region and ending the silo mentality of support provision to make accessing this support far simpler for both the public and private sectors. Harmil Pardesi from MyEd Ltd, as the industry representative on the panel, made the appetite for industry to engage with local authority on data projects clear, and gave us food for thought as to how we can improve that engagement going forward.
All in all, the Industry and Policy: Development Through Data 2019 event was a huge success and we can’t wait to see what comes of some of the discussions.