Lessons from Frank Dick

Posted 10/12/2019 by Benet Hanley

Technology Scotland held their 4th Annual Dinner on 14th November and, as a corporate sponsor to Technology Scotland, Enigma People Solutions was delighted to host a table at the event.

Frank Dick OBE, one of the countries best and most consistently inspiring motivational speakers. Frank Dick is, President of the European Athletics Coaches Association, Member of the World Athletics Coaches Commission. From 1974 to 1994 he was the British Athletics Federation’s Director of Coaching, where he was widely acknowledged as one of the outstanding sports coaches in the world.

Well, first off, I have to declare that Frank Dick is one of my ultimate coaching heroes, so I was energised to know that he was presenting the after-dinner speech and he did not disappoint!

So, what did we learn from Frank that we can take away from another highly successful evening provided by Technology Scotland?

Well first of all we received a clear demonstration of great public speaking; humorous, engaging and stimulating with great energy, presence and authority!

Here are some of the high-level takeaways that resonated most with me and that I thought were most appropriate for the Tech Industry in Scotland!

  1. Anticipate what “excellence” will look like in the future!

Now I know that we are in an industry that focuses almost solely on designing and developing the technology of the future but with that also comes the need to imagine and develop the businesses of the future and for Technology Scotland and a number of other organisations, the technology ecosystems and clusters of the future. Technology Scotland and Photonics Scotland have done just this with their paper “A vision for 2030” that highlights the Scottish Photonics Industry as a £1 billion industry supporting over 4,000 highly skilled jobs and that is estimated to triple by 2030. In fact a recent report into Photonics production by Region had Scotland as the 3rd highest producing region in the UK behind the South East and the East of England


  1. Work on handling change!

With such highly anticipated growth for the Photonics industry, and of course all that is happening politically in the UK and internationally, Frank’s point to “work on handling change” makes even more sense now, and for the coming years, than ever. We will see employment challenges with IR35 changing the landscape for contractors, we don’t yet know what will happen with our work visa systems and our ability to attract and retain international talent to the UK, although there are signs for the UK tech industry that work visa availability will increase. The government recently announced plans to reinstate the two-year post-study work visa allowing International students at British universities to stay in the UK for two years after graduation, up from the current 4 months. 


  1. Protect against complacency

As Frank pointed out, the top performers in sports or industry never settle with “where they are”, they never “arrive” at a destination. Rather, they choose to focus on being in the process of improving, developing and challenging themselves to exceed the current performance levels. They know that out there, their competitors are constantly setting new goals and challenges. Our industry in Scotland enjoys strong partnerships with universities developing the best homegrown talent for the future. The industry must also work to retain that talent whilst also attracting the best international talent to enhance the breadth and depth of innovation and to make it competitive globally.


  1. Competitive Collaboration or complaboration

This, more than anything Frank proposed, is where I believe Scottish companies can make huge gains internationally. Working with other organisations in the ecosystem is vital for the growth of the sector, be it via support systems such as the Innovate UK Catapult Centres, Censis, The Knowledge Transfer Network or with commercial competitors and collaborators. I believe that the networking and engagement opportunities afforded to Technology Scotland members not only serve the individual organisations but the wider ecosystem, community and industry.


  1. Attitude

Finally, Frank told us about the attitude of winners and this is something I believe the Scottish Tech industry can continue to develop. I see many members of Technology Scotland representing Scotland at international trade fares, Technology Scotland does great work representing the industry at events throughout the UK and internationally themselves. There is great sense in talking the Scottish Tech industry and Scotland as a country up. To set goals, to aspire, to commit and to believe!

Thank you to Technology Scotland for Championing the Scottish Tech industry and to Frank Dick for some inspiration!  

Enigma People Solutions is an award-winning technology recruitment consultancy. We find technical leaders for the emerging and enabling technology industries. Visit our job search page for the latest vacancies in photonics, electronics, semiconductor, software and IoT in Scotland and the UK. Check out our blog page for the latest in the technology industry. You can get in touch with us hello@enigmapeople.com or call us on + 44 131 510 8150


Great blog Ben, however the most recent figures show Scotland outperforms ALL other UK regions in Photonics GVA per employee.
Posted on January 10, 2020 by Stephen Taylor

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