A message from FutureDotNow CEO, Liz Williams MBE

It’s been over a week but the team and I are still buzzing from our Autumn Highpoint event and the launch of our Annual Review 2021-22, both called Collective action for a digital world.

It was great to look back on the collective progress we’ve made as a coalition, reconnect with members and reveal some of the exciting plans for the year ahead. I’d love you to take a few minutes to read the review and if you couldn’t make it, you can even stream a recording of the event – there’s more on both below.

The process of compiling the review gave us the opportunity to check-in with many of our members to hear about more of the great work being done to digitally empower the UK workforce. You can hear from Asda, West Midlands Combined Authority and many others in the report.

Below we’ve included a short excerpt from the Weir Group on how the multinational mining technology company is approaching their upskilling programmes.

New members

A huge welcome to our 162nd member:

Travis Perkins PLC

The UK’s largest distributor of building materials to the building, construction and home improvement markets.

Annual Review 2021-22 and Autumn Event: Collective action for a digital world

Last Thursday saw the launch of our Annual Review, and our Autumn Highpoint event – both called ‘Collective action for a digital world’.

Annual Review: As well as reflecting on the last 12 months of activity from the coalition, the review also acts as a ‘state of the nation’ on workplace digital skills. It reflects on the how the pandemic has driven a change, and on the work we still need to do, by bringing together thought leadership and insight from across our membership. You can read the review on our website.

Autumn Event: The event was an opportunity for coalition members to hear from senior leaders at Lloyds Banking Group, Salesforce and PwC as they reflected on how new data and insights into the UK’s digital capabilities can inform our actions as a coalition, as well as discussing opportunities for you to collaborate with other members over the coming year.

If you weren’t able to make the event, you can stream the recording over on our YouTube channel.

Looking ahead

A key theme from both the review and the event was collaboration, and the recognition of the power that comes from working together across organisations to make progress. It’s exciting to see the likes of Salesforce, Network Rail and Barclays kicking off a project together, and Lloyds and PwC are doing the same. However, there is a lot to do, so we’d love to see more of you getting involved. Here are some of the priority projects on the list for this year:

  • Identifying and closing knowledge gaps around digital skills.
  • Working with regions to enhance skills strategy and plans.
  • Policy advocacy: developing a simplified life skills framework that includes digital skills
  • Policy advocacy: campaigning to unlock government funds for upskilling
  • Making it easier to baseline skill levels and measure progress
  • Making it easier to evidence and accredit digital skills
  • Improving self-serve resources for members: playbook and directory
  • ‘Test and learn’ lighthouses that focus on building confidence and upskilling key groups
  • Building the FutureDotNow community

In the spirit of collective action, if any of these sound like something you already have planned, or an activity you could be the driving force behind, please let us know by filling in this short survey.

Member insight – Weir Group

With more than 11,000 people, working across 50 countries, and a history dating back to 1871, mining technology company the Weir Group sees digital transformation as simply the next stage of their evolution. However, the scale and spread of the business have presented some challenges when it comes to digital upskilling.

Keith Bryan, Head of Employee Communications, Information Systems & Technology at Weir tells us: “The key to the business’ success is its people and the diverse range of skills they bring to each part of what we do. From colleagues on the shop floor who manufacture our product, to the Chief Information Officer, who creates and shapes the IT strategy for the whole organisation, everybody has a crucial role to play, but equally, this means there exists a wide range digital understanding, confidence and appetite.”

Weir’s digital transformation and digital capability programs are progressing well and joining the FutureDotNow coalition has been key to helping them shape their approach to this work.

Read the Annual Review to learn more about the action they are taking.

Connect with other coalition members at the December FutureDotNow ‘Meets’

79% of our members say they’d like more opportunities to come together with other members. If you’re among this group, why not join one or both of our informal December sessions that will bring coalition members together?

Share your experiences and insight or ask any questions you might have about starting your organisation’s Essential Digital Skills journey. Sessions will be informal, with space for conversation between members, so come prepared to talk!

We’ll discuss questions such as:

  • What does “essential digital skills” really mean and how do you build common understanding of this topic in your business?
  • How do you identify where the gaps are, and which ones are most significant?
  • What are the tools that can help you to do this?
  • And more…

This is a chance to truly connect and learn from each other, helping us move into 2022 with a true sense of collective action.

Book your place:

We look forward to seeing you there!

COP26 – Change your digital habits

With COP26 wrapping up this week, we know there’s a real drive across industry to reduce the carbon footprint of business activity. What many don’t realise is that our digital behaviour and particularly data usage has significant environmental impact. Did you know, for example, that unwanted, duplicate smartphone pictures are responsible for over 355,000 tonnes of COevery year in the UK alone?

New research by the IET reveals this, and more of the UK’s ‘hidden dirty data habits’, but fortunately, they also provide some top tips for reducing the impact of the data you use:

Top tips for better data habits:

  • Delete duplicates: It’s fine to get that perfect shot for Instagram, but simply deleting unwanted shots could make a huge difference to your carbon footprint.
  • Clean out your cloud: Don’t forget about your cloud storage. Clean this out regularly to save much needed data space – and slash your emissions in the process.
  • Wipe the WhatsApps: Let’s be honest, most texts, messenger service messages and WhatsApps from 2015 probably don’t need to be kept, so spring clean your messages, and get yourself in the habit of deleting old groups you don’t use anymore.
  • Unsubscribe all: when you’re deleting emails from your inbox, take a minute to think about if you need to be subscribed to that mailing list at all. Save space, and the planet!
  • Face free day: Have a ‘video off’ day when you can; if you don’t need your camera on for meetings, occasionally turn it off to save data.
  • Step away from the phone: when watching TV or a streaming service put your phone away. Maybe even leave it in another room to resist the temptation to scroll as you watch. You’ll enjoy your show more and cut your carbon all in one simple move!
  • Auto play; off: Switch off the ‘auto play next episode’ function on your streaming services and use the handy ‘sleep timer’ on your devices if you listen to music or podcasts as you drift off. Your cat doesn’t need to hear 8 hours of true crime or rainforest soundscapes!

Find out more:

New IET research reveals Brits’ photo hoarding carries higher carbon cost per year than round the world flights

Keep the conversation going

This is your coalition and we want to make sure that you are getting the most out of it.

Do you have some insight, lessons learned that you think others in the coalition would benefit from? We’re always keen to showcase what our members are doing on their EDS journey. Please get in touch on the email below to feature in upcoming newsletters.

Don’t forget to follow us and share our content on Twitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions, comments or feedback please do send it to hello@futuredotnow.uk and we will get back to you.

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