Rise & Design: The Power of Data - The Highlights

On 12th January, we held our first Rise & Design for 2018. The Northern Design Centre saw around 70 delegates coming through its doors eager to learn more about The Power of Data and the different ways they could use this power in order to enhance performance, drive business value and achieve their goals.

Our host and DNN Programme Manager Terry welcomed everyone and presented the speakers.

First on the stage we had Jason Turner from Data2Action who delivered a talk on how to turn the data that you already have into a valuable asset to your business. Jason addressed the common goals that most companies are striving to achieve nowadays i.e. grow revenue, improve customer loyalty, improve products/services, reduce costs, be more efficient, improve opportunities, increase innovation, getting ready for GDPR and explained how data can help us achieve those goals.

Jason paid special attention to the fact that companies can’t predict what they can’t measure and the importance of understanding how to do this. Some of the key elements of the measurement cycle include: keeping business in mind while identifying key actions, getting an understanding of what’s available in terms of data and where, is this data accurate, what can be done with it, how can it be used. He also talked about thee 4 types of Data Analytics i.e. Descriptive, Diagnostic, Predictive, Prescriptive and how those 4 types link together.

Following Jason, we had Steve Caughey from the National Innovation Centre for Data (NICD) on the stage talking about the benefits of big data and how the NICD can help with making more meaningful use of this data.

Steve also explained why data is an innovation opportunity for the North East. Some of the points that Steve made to showcase this were:

  • Data is the fuel of the digital revolution
  • Data is frictionless (and the North East has lots)
  • The North East has a long history of innovation
  • Academic strengths:Teaching – gold award, Research – CDT and world-leading, Engagement – no. 1 for Computing Science Impact
  • Fast-growing digital sector
  • Political support
  • Science Central

Steve also touched on some statistics and information from the Tech Nation 2017 report in relation to data and digital:

  • Newcastle is second in the UK for high-growth digital businesses
  • Leeds and Newcastle joint 4th for average digital salary
  • Best House price : Salary ratio
  • One of the highest Quality of Life ratings
  • Digital GVA of £1Bn – more than Cambridge, Leeds and Edinburgh (comparable per pop. to Manchester)
  • 39% growth in Tech businesses since 2011, 2nd only to London

Steve explained that the big problem for employers is proving to be the lack of availability of key skills in terms of data. According to a research, 90% of decision-makers say data is relevant to their industries, 66% say they don’t have the skills to implement big data.

He also gave us an overview of the NICD, which is a unique facility bringing together industry, University researchers and students together to enable organisations to extract value from their data. This will be achieved by delivering:

  • Insights into transforming productivity
  • Skills in extracting value from data
  • Connections to sources of expertise

Next up we had Alex Craig from Muckle LLP who talked us through the 12 steps to achieving good data ‘hygiene’ and being compliant with GDPR regulations (prior changes in law on 28th May are into force). The 12 step guide Alex used for her talk was issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office and can be found below.

If you would like any further information or have a question for our speakers, you can contact them via the details below:

Jason Turner, Director, Data2Action Ltd.


Steve Caughey, National Innovation Centre for Data / Arjuna Technologies


Alex Craig, Muckle LLP