Dear Members and Friends,
With yet another unprecedented week in Whitehall and the Supreme Court, events at Strategy International have continued to provide our Members with insights that help to make sense of the current uncertain times and highlight the opportunities for businesses that are still out there.
The D Group events this week were very different but equally fascinating lunches. On Tuesday, Wendy Addison, Founder & CEO of SpeakOut SpeakUp gave a very personal account of her experience as a whistleblower in a case that was described as ‘South Africa’s Enron’. It was interesting to hear how the case and her own experience evolved over the eleven year wait for justice and how Wendy now uses that story to train individuals to have courageous conversations. The discussion was rich with personal experiences and I am sure that everyone took away some valuable personal reflection points. Of equal importance were the discussions on how organisations can best foster a culture of speaking up and use this to their advantage, preventing issues and concerns from ballooning out of control.
On Wednesday we hosted Gary Aitkenhead, Chief Executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, who clearly outlined the challenges faced by the UK, now and in the future, and DSTL’s role in combatting them. With an ever-increasing rate of technological change and a broader threat spectrum, DSTL is operating in an evolving external environment and must collaborate with industry and other government departments to succeed. Gary’s comments gave our members a great deal to think about, not just with a traditional view of defence, but also the role of ethics, effectively competing in ‘grey zone warfare’ and ensuring that the UK sets itself up with the right people and skills to stay ahead.
British Expertise International hosted His Excellency Thomas Reilly, UK Ambassador to Morocco, on Monday, who highlighted the opportunities for UK Business within Morocco across a range of sectors. He focused on the untapped opportunities within the infrastructure, education and energy sectors that UK plc could explore more proactively. If any of our Members would like more information on these opportunities and how best to explore them, British Expertise International would be happy to help so please get in touch.
On Tuesday, BEI hosted a meeting with Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) CEO, Philippe Valahu, who shared updates on his organisation’s work. Of particular interest, he emphasised the wide range of opportunities for UK companies to engage in all stages of infrastructure from upstream technical assistance, through to early stage development and implementation. Again, any interested Members or companies should look to make use of the procurement sites of the various PIDG entities to their advantage.
Next week the D Group will host a dinner with Vanda Murray OBE, Chair of Marshall Plc, speaking on ‘Coping in a volatile and uncertain world’ – a topic that will be relevant for every sector within our Membership.
BEI will be hosting two events next week. First, ‘Transforming Agriculture and Agribusiness in Sub-Saharan Africa’, discussing the ongoing transformative work in this area and its critical role in delivering regional economic growth. Second, ‘Sustainable Infrastructure: Looking to the Future’ which will explore the role of British expertise in ensuring the future of sustainable infrastructure and the challenges of delivering sustainable infrastructural systems with growing environmental, economic and political pressures.
This week also marks my fourth week in my role at Strategy International and the back to school feeling that I had at the start of the month has gradually faded as I have learned more about how we operate and work for our Membership. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting a variety of Members at events already and I hope to meet many more of you in the coming weeks and months.
Development Director, The D Group
Wednesday 2nd October 2019 – BEI
Transforming Agriculture and Agribusiness in Africa
Jonathan Innes, Senior Economist, Booker Tate
Chris Isaac, Managing Director, AgDevCo
Thursday 3rd October 2019 – BEI
Sustainable Infrastructure: Looking to the Future
Davide Stronati, Global Sustainability Leader, Mott MacDonald
Jonathan Essex, Principle Consultant, Cities and Resilient Development, IMC Worldwide
Conor Storkey, Head of Sustainability & Community for Construction, Mace Group
Thursday 10th October 2019 – Digital Catapult & Strategy International
The Blockchain and IoT – the Possibilities through Convergence
Christian Beck, IoT Product Lead, Digital Catapult
Robert Learney, Lead Technologist, Digital Catapult