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MD Tech Leader Talks - November 2023

Rachel Tsang, Jason Hughes, Danielle Haguedal-Wilson, Triin Sober, Mikey Smith and Richard Corbridge,

November’s Tech Leader Talks, sponsored by Slalom, saw Manchester Digital host an insightful Q&A session with tech leaders from across Greater Manchester’s thriving tech community.

The event, held at Manchester Technology Centre on 9 November, brought together CTOs and senior executives for an evening of networking, discussions and the opportunity to hear from the likes of DWP Digital, Co-op, JLR and Money Supermarket on the technologies that are driving innovation within their businesses.

Guests networking before the event

After networking and canapés, the Q&A session was introduced by Manchester Digital board member Rachel Tsang (Deputy Director, Digital Identity at Government Digital Service) and led by Triin Sõber (Senior Principal in the Data and Analytics Team at Slalom). She posed questions to the panellists: Richard Corbridge (Chief Digital Information Officer at DWP Digital); Danielle Haguedal-Wilson, Head of Strategy, Performance and Governance for Digital, Technology and Data at Co-op; Jason Hughes, Chapter Head for Site Reliability Engineering at JLR; and Mikey Smith, CTO at MoneySupermarket.

Q&A session led by Triin SoberThe panel discussed a wide range of topics, including how their organisations are leveraging innovative technologies like generative AI to drive digital transformation. They offered insights on scaling innovation within large enterprises, making the business case for innovation investments, and managing risks.

Key highlights included:

Mikey Smith: “Innovation is multi faceted. We have people who are pioneering and looking forward into the future and then others who manage how we get that live.”

Danielle Haguedal-Wilson: “When it comes to fostering a culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing, you need to make sure people feel safe to make mistakes. Transparency is really key so make sure you have tools in place to share your work.”

Richard Corbridge: “Focus on the actual need - don’t just try and apply a snazzy technological solution where it isn’t necessarily needed.”

Jason Hughes: “It’s really important to value the retention of staff - make an environment where people feel safe to innovate, flourish or fail. For me, I like to manage people how I would want to be managed and I think that’s really helpful when it comes to retaining our engineers

Richard Corbridge: “At DWP Digital, we need to remember that we’re not a tech company. It’s easy for technologists to forget, but you need to look at the business problem and go after the problems that your consumers are facing as your innovation points.”

Jason Hughes: “It’s important to have guardrails in place, but still being able to innovate and drive change.  Drive innovation within your teams, but always make sure you are behaving ethically.”

Danielle Haguedal-Wilson: “At Co-op it’s about doing something smart with the data we have. There is so much to do, but we’re really excited about the productivity benefits of Generative AI.”

Mikey Smith: “Tech is here to make our lives easier. At Money Supermarket we’re looking at productivity and how we use it to serve our diverse range of customers, helping them to make the right choice.” 

Our Tech Leaders taking questions from the audience

Throughout the evening, the audience of tech leaders and innovators gained valuable perspectives on leading and navigating innovation in today's rapidly evolving landscape.

We’d like to offer a huge thanks to Slalom for sponsoring and hosting our June Tech Leader Talks event If you’d like to pick up a conversation Slalom  - their MD Caroline is happy to chat:

For more upcoming Manchester Digital events, keep checking our events page.

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