LibDem Dragons blame ICT insularity for negative spin

I promised speakers and dragons at the EURIM Dragon’s Den in Bournemouth yesterday that I would blog my general impression and then give them the opportunity to check what I plan to say tomorrow, including how I have quoted them, when I do a more detailed account of what was said. Meanwhile, if I were a twitter, the headline above would be my tweet. 


Most industries spend time and effort boasting of their achievements in meeting customer needs in language that politicians, press and voters can understand.  Not so the ICT industry – whose communications alternate between technical gobbleygook and patronising baby talk. In consequence we have negative spin, highlighting the problems with successful projects rather than boasting of success and flagging any good points about admitted failures.  .


Few knowledge economy companies talk to local MPs, Councillors or candidates, about the issues that determine whether they can afford to stay in the UK, let alone grow a successful business. In consequence the latter are unaware of all the pressures driving them offshore: such as regulatory overheads, skills shortages, planning controls and fiscal uncertainty (e.g. the current backdated business rates fiasco).


Now we can add ignorance of the practical impact of new immigration rules that are unlikely to protect judges or ministers from employing illegal immigrants but will almost certainly get in the way of globally integrated career development paths – thus condemning the UK to professional backwater status.


The Internet Governance Forum status as a “mere” talking shop was both good and bad. Bad because of the growing need to address enforcement, including the consequences as playground and workplace bullying goes on-line. Good because it opened up the potential for co-operation across boundaries.


The “big issue” is, however, for the ICT industry to put its problems into political context and  talk with, not just to, politicians in language that the latter will understand.