Now is the Time to Invent the Future

Jun 13, 2017 · Guest post from Jacqueline de Rojas, President of techUK

The future

The EU referendum is a watershed in British history. The UK is now committed to forging a new future outside the European Union and the next Government will be tasked with inventing this new future. Brexit is a huge challenge but there is another important economic and social imperative that cannot wait – how to create a modern and open digital economy that works for everyone.

The pace of globalisation will only increase over the next five years, so whilst we navigate Brexit, we have to focus on what kind of economy and society we want for the 2020, and beyond. While this will bring many complex challenges, it also brings opportunities. At the forefront is the chance to invent a truly innovation-led economy that works for everyone and where everyone has the opportunity to work. Those who invent the future, shape the future.

Technology-led disruption is accelerating at pace. The rise of digital, data analytics, the internet of things and artificial intelligence is creating new business models, disrupting legacy businesses and defining new paradigms. The change is widespread with consumer, industrial, not-for- profit and financial services businesses going through periods of introspection and rapid change.

The nation that gave birth to the first industrial revolution should not fear the next. Invention is in our DNA. We are on the cusp of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), a revolution based on digital transformation. And, just as every previous industrial revolution has resulted in significant increases in living standards, the 4IR has the power to radically improve our lives.

Whilst London was recently recognised as the top European Digital City for startups and scaleups, we have also seen considerable growth in tech sector outside of the Capital with eight other UK cities (Cambridge, Bristol, Oxford, Manchester, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Cardiff, and Glasgow) also within the top 50. Now, as we prepare for a future outside the EU, we need to ensure the UK continues to be one of the best nations in the world to invent the future.

The newly formed Government has some considerable tasks to undertake in order to fully embrace the 4IR. Brexit is a huge challenge but there is an equally important economic and social imperative that cannot wait – how to create a modern and open digital economy that works for everyone.

We want a modern, dynamic and productive economy creating good jobs for people across the United Kingdom, and to live in a country where people feel positive about what the future holds for them and their families. We want a society that is ready for the future. To achieve this, there are five main areas the Government should focus on:

Making Brexit a Success and securing a deal that puts the UK on the best possible footing to thrive outside the EU.

Achieving economic renewal through a modern industrial strategy which provides a long-term and evolutionary framework to build the capacity and capability for a truly innovation-led UK economy.

Building a Smarter State through digital transformation, which protects our public services amid rising public sector debt and demands on usage.

Nurturing the skills for the jobs of the future across all demographics.

Creating a safe and secure digital world through a comprehensive online safety strategy that makes all individuals safe online.

The pace of globalisation will only increase over the next five years, and the UK needs to focus on what we want for the 2020s, and beyond. While this will bring many complex questions and challenges, it also will bring opportunities for London and the UK. Not least the chance to invent a truly innovation-led economy that works for everyone and where everyone has the opportunity to work. Those who invent the future, shape the future.

Read techUK’s full Inventing the Future 2017 Manifesto here.

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