That’s a wrap – FutureDotNow Fest 2021

If you’re wondering why you should improve your business’s digital skills look at these 3 stars: is there commercial value? Does it address social justice? And will someone help me do it? It’s a yes to all of these.

Donna Catley, CPO, Compass Group

It was a bumper week of insight, discussion and ‘Learning at Work’ at the FutureDotNow Fest: Accelerate 2021. Across the four events we heard from 28 (yes 28!) speakers from varying sectors. The core theme explored the benefits to business of focusing on developing essential digital skills. Thanks to all our speakers and attendees for their contribution to the sessions.

Sorting out workplace digital skills is not someone else’s problem; business must play its part.

Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, President, Tech UK

Jacqueline expertly chaired our senior leader debate focused on the ‘The hidden middle’ report, and was joined by Sir Peter Estlin (FutureDotNow Chair), Donna Catley (Chief People Officer, Compass Group), Kerensa Jennings (Director of Digital Impact BT), Olly Benzecry (Chairman of Accenture) and Dan Makoski (Chief Design Officer at Lloyds), who each shared their views on the potential impact of the report and why essential digital should be a business priority.

There’s a shortage of digital skills and the number of people learning them has dropped off. Just as business really needs them. We must address this.

Caroline Dewing, Co-Founder, Future Agenda

Caroline shared Future Agenda’s research, linked to digital skills and the future of work at Tuesday’s event. The conversation, hosted by Sunil Patel (PWC and FutureDotNow Board member), highlighted the good work being done by industry in developing essential digital skills, including Suze Howse (M&S) and Ben Weland (Lloyds) who showcased insight and case studies from their respective organisations.

Wednesday saw the conversation turn to both a national and regional perspective and how essential digital skills are being tackled across England, Scotland and Wales. We heard from Dr Cat Macauley (Scottish Government), Gary Coyle (DCMS), Sally Meecham (Centre for Digital Public Services Wales), Clare Hatton (WMCA), Melissa Hanna-Brown (Pfizer and Chair of Heart of South East DSP). Jeremy Hayward (Lloyds) talked attendees through the first part of the Lloyds Consumer Digital Index data for 2021 with a particular focus on a regional perspective.

We rounded off the Fest looking at how to build digital confidence to really drive change across the organisation. You might have all the digital tools and learning in place, but if the people in your organisation don’t see the benefit or have the confidence to try and learn new skills then change just won’t happen.

We heard from Debs O’Neill (Oliver Wyman), Helen Milner (Good Things Foundation), Katz Kiely (, Leanne Lynch (London Heathrow), Samit Saini (London Heathrow), Ross Martin (Barclays), Alissa Dhaliwal (CBI) and Jemma Waters (Lloyds). They explored what Covid-19 has done to change digital behaviours and motivation and how organisations can help their workforce to become more digitally confident as part of a culture of life-long learning.

Missed the Fest?

Don’t worry you can catch up on the Fest on our Youtube channel…