Skip to main content

Digital Shoreditch 2012: Creative Culture in London


I wasn’t able to attend the full Digital Shoreditch Festival, just a few days from the second week of scheduled events. That being said, I’m really glad that I witnessed part of the second annual festival of creative, cultural and technological developments within this evolving East London community.

I had mentioned – before my visit – I believe that London, England has some things in common with the emerging tech and digital creative clusters in Austin, Texas. But based upon what I saw and heard during the insightful Digital Shoreditch activities, I’m now thinking that there are more similarities with the New York City clusters.

London has a wealth of creative talent focused on the fashion, architecture and design sectors of the global networked economy. Few places in the world can likely match this amazing combination of artistic assets and intellectual capacity.

Besides, the local higher-education and professional mentoring opportunities are clearly more attuned to the apparent needs of these established industries in London.

Portrait of a Growing Digital Metropolis

Moreover, I believe that comparing the East London scene to the Silicon Valley in California really doesn’t appear to benefit their cause – that is, raising the awareness of the unique attributes in the area, and attracting greater investment in start-ups and early-stage local founded companies.

In fact, having a more diverse and distinctive digital business ecosystem may be the essence of an untold story about the promising upside opportunity for the digital economy to reach its full potential in London.

While there are some of the same essential ingredients within the London scene, the resulting start-up ventures typically aren’t the same profile of computer and software technology-centric companies that you’ll find in abundance within the Valley.

I noticed that East London also appears to have many more advertising and marketing agencies within the emerging clusters – as a percentage of the total number of companies. A panel presenter’s quick poll of the attendees at the Digital Shoreditch Festival actually confirmed my observation.

The established film/video production talent pool, along with the gaming and music technology developer stable, is the solid foundation for a forward-looking digital media powerhouse that’s second to none.

Balancing the Talent Supply and Demand

Prior to attending the festival events in Shoreditch, I was able to arrange a guided tour of the Ravensbourne College facilities, located in North Greenwich. I came away from that experience with raised expectations for the fortunate students that will graduate from one of the college’s progressive hands-on skills development programs.

I had the opportunity to chat with a couple of young entrepreneurs that attribute part of their early success to the multifaceted learning experience that’s being offered by the college.

However, it seemed that while the college is a viable source of candidates for some of the skills needed today, and relocating professionals help fill any void, I wondered if the demand for new digital-savvy talent might exceed supply in the foreseeable future.

Granted, that’s a good problem to have, especially in the current European economic outlook. But maintaining access to a pool of qualified talent -- to fuel and propel cluster growth -- could become a significant challenge, as other cities have already discovered.

Next Steps: the Forward-Looking Perspective

If I were to reflect upon my SXSWi legacy experiences and relate them to my recent observations at the Digital Shoreditch Festival, then I’d offer the following suggestions for the organizer’s consideration:
  • Further raise awareness with online content from the event, particularly for those key stakeholders who are unable to attend in person (hint; North American VCs).
  • Live stream video from the Summit, create video interviews of keynote presenters and place them in an online showcase.
  • Aggregate and curate the most interesting press or blogger coverage about all the events and use that insight to build anticipation for next year’s festival.
  • Once the events are over, hold a press conference for the mainstream media and share the summary findings from the researchers that are tracking the progress of the emerging clusters in London.
  • Tell the untold story – it’s so much more meaningful and engaging than the comparisons with other more well-known tech clusters.
View my Digital Shoreditch 2012 photo stream

Popular posts from this blog

Digital Transformation Spending Reaches $1.8 Trillion

Ongoing investment in business technology will remain on track, despite concerns about the global economic outlook which continues to evolve in 2022. Enterprise CIOs and CTOs are focused on operational profitability and digital business growth goals that are enabled by strategic IT initiatives. Global spending on the Digital Transformation (DX) of business practices, products, and organizations is forecast to reach $1.8 trillion in 2022 -- that's an increase of 17.6 percent over 2021, according to the latest market study by International Data Corporation (IDC). Many anticipated DX investments will sustain this pace of growth throughout the 2021-2025 forecast period, with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.6 percent. Digital Transformation Global Market Development "IDC expects to see aggressive DX technology investment growth in 2022 following a minor slowdown during the pandemic period," said Craig Simpson, senior research manager at IDC . "As orga

Flexible Working: Why Company Culture Matters

The main reasons for the Great Resignation are obsolete leadership, fearful middle managers, and a toxic culture that hinders employee engagement. Perhaps that's why some organizations are still struggling with the consideration and development of a flexible working model.  They're incapable of evolving to a more enlightened approach to work where employees are treated with respect. They're stuck in a bygone era of the 20th-century industrial revolution where 'shareholder value' tops all other values, and where spreadsheets and financial data analysis drives all key decision making. We should not be surprised that 76 percent of human resource (HR) leaders now feel that hybrid work challenges an employee's connection to organizational culture, according to a recent survey by Gartner. A 2022 poll of HR leaders reveals the most challenging aspect of setting their hybrid strategy is adjusting the current organizational culture to support a hybrid workforce. In fact,

Energy Sector IoT Cybersecurity Gains Momentum

The electric distribution industry continues to invest in digital transformation projects. Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) technology is becoming a driver for connected electricity meters, which will reach an installed base of 1.3 billion by 2027. AMI growth is prompting utilities and energy suppliers to revisit their IT infrastructure security and device management operations, according to the latest worldwide market study by ABI Research. Energy Infrastructure Security Market Development Digitization of traditional electricity grids and the modernization of the aging energy infrastructure is among the top concerns for utility operators and governments worldwide. Security for last-mile energy consumption applications was frequently overlooked. "However, the introduction of AMI, smart metering, and grid digitization is steadily increasing spending for secure management services, assisting implementers to transition to IT (information technologies) and OT (operational techno