DYNAMO, the region’s tech champion, has been sharing experience, knowledge and plans about what office working might be like post pandemic.

The network is confident about the regional tech sector’s ability to bounce back from the effects of the virus, and has been working with members to explore how hybrid working might impact on tech companies once Covid restrictions have ended.

Dynamo’s Laura Kemp, who led a session at Innovation SuperNetwork’s recent VentureFest North East on how firms can return to workspaces safely, said: “We’ve been talking to members about their plans to go back to work and what that might look like, particularly in terms of a split between working from home and going into the office, and the challenges this creates.

“Virtually everyone we asked said they would not be returning to how they were working pre-pandemic. Many have conducted their own internal research into employee preferences and the response is overwhelmingly a hybrid model with a lot of people only wanting to come into an office two or three days a week.

“We’ve been exploring how to manage this if everyone wants to work from home on Monday and Friday, for example, and whether it is possible to create an engaged and inclusive culture within a dispersed workforce.

“At a recent Dynamo advisory board meeting, business leaders talked of their teams wanting more flexible workspaces, with more space for collaboration and socialising.

Priority areas for Dynamo this year include the opportunities presented by healthtech; its continued work around the equality and diversity agenda; fintech; service delivery centres; innovation and skills, and supporting the Ic3 digital construction bid.

Dynamo sees healthtech as an area of real growth for the region’s tech sector, and, alongside health cluster partner CGI, has identified Population Health as a key focus.

Dynamo’s Emma Whitenstall recently led another VentureFest North East session on how innovation can influence Population Health. Emma is now working with CGI to run a design sprint event in April, looking to identify tech solutions to important issues and which will lead to a pitching competition in June with partners from the healthcare sector.

Dynamo’s healthtech cluster is also exploring bi-monthly networking which would give members an opportunity to present on topics such as research or funding.

Dynamo is part funded by the ERDF as part of the Catalysing Innovation in North East Clusters project, delivered by Innovation SuperNetwork. Earlier this year it was confirmed Dynamo’s ERDF funding through SuperNetwork will continue to June 2023.

Laura Kemp said: “We have a busy and exciting year ahead and we’re grateful for the continued support from ERDF through SuperNetwork. The extension in funding allows us to continue growing our tech clusters and our membership, which is great news for the region’s tech sector.”

Dynamo will also be delivering its regular progamme of annual events – its popular conference, #CyberFest and its Innovation Day for the digital construction sector.

Dynamo’s annual conference will be held online on Thursday, June 17. The event’s main sponsor is Sage and the conference is titled ‘Tech Leads the Way in a Challenging World.’ Sarah Wilkinson, CEO at NHS Digital, has been confirmed as a plenary speaker. Dynamo members have been invited to be part of the conference by curating and delivering breakout sessions – suggestions can be submitted here: https://www.cognitoforms.com/BeaconHouseEvents/Dynamo21CallForPapers

#Cyberfest, the region’s largest cyber-security festival, will be also be online, during September. Phil Jackman leads Dynamo’s cyber-security cluster and is a member of the UK’s Cybersecurity Clusters group. He is working with DCMS to improve its understanding of the region’s cyber-security sector.

Dynamo North East is a business-led organisation with the core mission of ‘Growing the north east tech economy through collaboration, innovation, skills and noise.’ With more than 160 members, it is made up of IT organisations, large corporate employers in the region, consultants, technology hubs, education providers, local government and suppliers to the industry.