Alix King

Freelance Copywriter

With industries consistently overlapping, we need to work together.

 

ITaaU network

The ITaaU Network+ Community Conference, held in July, confirmed just that.

If I’ve learned one thing from running my own business, it’s that I need help. We ALL need help. Yes, we want to succeed on our own merit and of course we want the pat on the back and the “well done – AND all on your own!”

But help from others makes it all that little bit easier. When I started out on my own (nervously) as a freelance copywriter and journalist, I desperately needed help, and I wasn’t afraid to ask. I visited networking events, where I met with people from all industries, backgrounds and disciplines. I thought that they would not know anything about my industry, but they actually surprised me with their suggestions, ideas and offers to help.

I have now learned that it’s okay to ask for help – and it’s actually better to collaborate with others, even if it doesn’t seem obvious at first.

I recently attended the IT as a Utility Community Conference. The ITaaU Network is a dynamic community of researchers, practitioners and policy-makers interested in interdisciplinary collaborative activity, that relates to IT utilities applied across the whole spectrum of disciplines, in the context of the Digital Economy.

The range of speakers was immense; I didn’t know what to expect. There was Tracy Keys, from the Research Council UK, explaining a research council’s perspective, Andy Stanford-Clark from IBM, explaining what was next for the Internet of Things, alongside Anisah Osman Britton, from innovation and accelerator programme The Bakery and Zoe Philpott, an interactive storyteller, telling the story of Ada Lovelace.

On paper, they don’t seem to gel; and I’m sure that was the first opinion of most who attended the conference. But as the event progressed, breakouts groups took place and talks finished, it became clear that all had something in common and more importantly, all had ideas for innovation and new ideas for disciplines that were usually out of their capacities.

After each talk, there were offers of collaborations, help with projects in the future and general ideas of who to connect with and who to ask for help.

General sound bites and opinions from attendees were of the same opinion.

“The Network is great as it brings together academics and business alike.’”

“There’s a wealth of ideas here, ready to be taken to the next level of development.”

“ I found it surprisingly relevant to my industry – I didn’t se the immediate relevance – but it was: lots of innovation and different ways of working.”

I’m glad I attended; from what originally seemed not relevant to me and out of my comfort zone, I was surprised with how much content I found useful from every single speaker at the conference.

The ITaaU Network continues to bring together individuals and businesses from different areas, all with an interest in the Digital Economy.

In this digital age, industries are consistently overlapping, and this will continue to happen. Networks such as this benefit everyone; even me. We need to encourage more people and organisations to become part of these networks and get involved.