Ten Years After - An Explanation
31 January 2018 by David Bott
Ten years ago, the Technology Strategy Board was 8 months old, although we had only had a CEO for 4 of them. We had successfully run the first set of competitions bequeathed to us by the outgoing DTI Innovation Unit, and were planning the first of our own design. The Technologists had been out and about meeting companies and trying to see what would help them grow and prosper. For my own part, I had just been offered a 4 year extension to my initial year long contract, and was contemplating the enormity of designing the whole competition landscape.
This week 10 years ago, was busy – and as I sat down on the Friday, I realised that unless I recorded it, there were things that would get lost. So I wrote an e-mail to my fellow Directors, somewhat whimsically entitled “In case I am run over by a truck”. In it, I tried to capture the raw data that might be needed to help design a strategic programme over the next few years. It was also raw in language and honest in impressions. About 2 hours later, Iain Gray (the CEO) sent back an email simply saying “Great Idea”, and the following day sent out his own impressions in an e-mail derivatively titled “In case David’s truck keeps going”. Each week for the following 6 years, we recorded our interactions and ideas. Initially, it only went to the Directors, then it went to my team Heads, then all Heads and, in later years, apparently got forwarded to many inside the Technology Strategy Board community. I am told that the only thing they missed when I left was the “blog”.
On re-reading them, I realised they were riddled with typos, and that some of the comments about individuals should be toned down (or their identity disguised), but other than that, what you can read here is what I actually thought and recorded 10 years ago.
No-one may read them, but perhaps archaeologists of innovation practice may find them useful in many years time. We didn’t do everything right but, having trained as a scientist in the distant past, I believe that the raw data should be available and it is the job of the future to design its own theories to explain them.