According to the newly formed group, it will operate ‘beyond established silos’ by creating connected technical and business communities, identifying common challenges and developing the UK tech ecosystem, and building partnerships across industry, academia and government.
The organisation is being chaired by Sir Hossein Yassaie, pictured, recently CEO of Imagination Technology. “We believe we have the last major chance to do something significant in the UK and the timing is right because there have been major changes in the industry.”
Part of the thinking behind TechWorks is that almost all products now feature diverse technology. “We’re getting to a crunch point,” he continued. “We need to bring different disciplines together and each group needs to be good at what it does. We intend to bring them together to deliver solutions to complex problems.
“I believe there are enough serious people in the industry who recognise why we need to do this and why we need to do it for real. This has focused the minds of many senior executives.”
TechWorks will have an advisory board featuring some well known names, including ARM’s CEO Simon Segars and investor Hermann Hauser. “They haven’t joined just for the hell of it,” Sir Hossein explained. “The board will add more ‘punch’ to what’s already been going on and it believes in the direction of travel.”
Essentially succeeding the NMI, TechWorks is recognising the role which finance plays in the technology world. “We’re bringing in financial people for the first time,” Sir Hossein continued. “They could be the missing element, but the finance sector hasn’t been involved before. They are now the focus and we believe the community is now ready for it.”
Derek Boyd will be TechWorks’ CEO. “We don’t see this as a unification move. What we’re trying to do is to build on our existing niche and to broaden it.
“We will continue our partnerships with ElecTech and techUK, which welcomes the initiative. While we share a lot of common ground, we’re trying to reflect changes in the technology ecosystem, remove barriers to collaboration. While technology is driving everything that’s happening out there, thinking of us as one industry isn’t right any longer.”
One of the aims of TechWorks is to exploit the UK’s engineering talent. “We’re good at creating talent in the ‘Deep Tech’ sector,” Sir Hossein commented. “We have some of the best engineers and a lot of creative people capable of dealing with emerging technologies. In fact, there’s a lot of AI development going on in the UK; as much as there is in the US.”
Boyd and Sir Hossein highlighted the importance of the finance sector becoming involved in technology. “We’re expecting more involvement from incubators, for example,” Sir Hossein asserted. “More finance related companies have been joining NMI over the last couple of months because they’re interested in the sector. We’re expecting they’ll get involved in bringing more business and finance to companies.
“TechWorks will help to ensure than finance reaches places where it hasn’t reached before because the two communities weren’t engaged enough. Now, it’ll be easier to talk to the top people in private equity and say ‘get involved’.”
TechWorks will also be looking to influence the Government. “We want the government to understand what our community can do and how much value it can create. The government, on its own, can’t do magic, but if the industry does nothing to help itself, neither will government,” Sir Hossein concluded.