A Digital Week in June

Written by Robin Knowles, Founder and CEO, Digital Leaders

My recent blogs on the Digital Leaders platform seem to have been thank you messages. This is particularly appropriate as our community, which grew by 16,055 to 112,000 during Digital Leaders Week 2019, has proven itself once again to be so positive and giving. 

Someone needs to step up and say thank you on behalf of all of us, and that duty falls to me.

Digital Leaders Week in its third year doubled its events to 243 and welcomed 18,186 digital leaders to participate across the whole of the UK – a rise of 86% on 2018. 

The biggest single group were SMEs followed closely by Local Government and perhaps surprisingly, to me at least, bigger businesses just pipped Central Government by a few hundred. The audience was again split pretty much 50/50 gender wise with men making up 50.6% of the audience. Seniority wise we were 36% C-Suite with 71% manager and above. In fact only 2% declared themselves as junior, but we are a network of Digital Leaders after all.

The first thank you goes to the 301 speakers who gave their time and expertise to provide 619 hours of content, advice and inspiration during the week. They received an 87% approval rating from our audience. 

Also a huge thank you to the 100+ partners who put on the 243 events at which they spoke. We had 97 workshops, 30 conferences and expos, 46 seminars, 38 online events, 29 receptions and 3 sets of awards including, of course, the DL100 awards.

It’s not a competition, but of the 20 topics covered during the week: Skills 54; Innovation 27; and Cyber Resilience 21 were the largest by number of events. By attendees, this was a mirror image except that Cyber Resilience was edged out by HealthTech into third place. The latter had 1,273 taking part in 14 events.

Digital Leaders Week is about being #UKWide and not just London. 75% of all events took place outside the capital with the largest participations in the Midlands, North West, North East and Scotland, but all 10 UK regions took part again this year. Thank you to all our regional partners who helped curate and create the regional programmes.

I am sure you all have your own favourite events during the week or spotted events you wished you had had time to attend. So please forgive me mine, but I was so pleased that Professor Mark Thompson could give the Annual Lecture in Parliament this year. He really does have the ability to analyse and present very complex ideas in an understandable way. Thank you also to STEMettes for taking part in Digital Leaders Week for the first time, loved your online event; and I am also sorry I could not attend the Dynamo Conference in Newcastle, it looked great. That’s only 3 of the 243 I can mention here.

Huge congratulations to all the Digital Leaders 100 winners, including Digital Leader of the Year and overall winner on the list Seyi Akewowo. Her work tackling online abuse is inspirational.

Enormous thanks to the Digital Leaders Advisory Board, whose organisations took part in DLWeek and our particular thanks to our Chair, Russell Haworth, CEO of Nominet, who was a great champion for the week, welcoming Digital Minister Margot James on Monday morning to launch the week.

Finally, thank you to the team here at Digital Leaders. Those of you you know them will already know what a smart and hard working team we have. I hope the coming summer offers them a chance to recharge the post Digital Leaders Week batteries.

That said, there is already a real ambition for what Digital Leaders Week 2020 can deliver UK Plc. We will be in touch with more details, but please keep your time free for a big week of Digital Transformation next year from 15-19 June 2020. I hope to see you there.


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