Spring pastures

by Justin Souter on April 5, 2016

Exit stage left – digitally

March was my last month working at Dynamo North East, a social enterprise which Charlie Hoult and I have bootstrapped over the last two years; and which Charlie co-founded with Bob Paton.

Whilst I’m sad to move on, I believe we’ve created good things together (also this post from the Dynamo blog) and that Dynamo has much potential to further grow the North East IT economy.

Any organisation needs to regularly take stock and decide how to proceed: Dynamo is pivoting its cost / operational model, and I wish them all success in future.


One of the highlights has been working with many great people, including team members Joanna, Pamela, Steven, Andrea, and Dorrian.

The Dynamo Advisory Board have given great support and delivered much; as have Dynamo partners at Beacon House Events and previously Charles Hardy at EFM; Dynamo Members have been brilliant; and a wider group of stakeholders has been tremendously supportive.

Things achieved together

My blog posts for Dynamo describe much of what I’ve been involved in, including the initial research; much work creating the organisation itself; getting out and about as ‘Head of Engagement’; incorporating the Community Interest Company; instituting the Membership scheme; along with setting up tech systems and being the Board Secretary.


Dynamo events have been primarily due to fantastic work by Sarah Thackray and Beacon House Events (posts referring here), e.g.:

  1. DynamoNet - skills - February 20162 Conferences – with the next one on 23rd June
  2. 1 Dinner – next one in a couple of weeks on 14th April
  3. 2 Dynamites awards dinners – next one in October
  4. Monthly DynamoNet events and also the Think Tank format to gain feedback from Members and key stakeholders

Making a difference

Bob Paton and Giselle Stewart have done brilliant work with the Skills workstream, including Apprentice Hubs to get more young people into IT, and being part of the successful bid team for the North East Futures University Technical College. We have also benefited greatly from the sterling work of Graham Jordan, thanks to the support of NEICT.

Most recently, the match-funding of the UK Government for a National Institute for Smart Data Innovation – to be based in Newcastle – is tremendous news for all involved. There’s more information about Dynamo workstreams here.

What’s next for me?

Innovation and Entrepreneurship workshops

I’m happy to say that I’ve been asked to deliver more Lean Innovation workshops – again to help create space for new thinking, and hence greater productivity and commercial awareness.


I’m excited to be MC’ing Day 2 at Leanconf in Manchester on 22nd April, whose promo states:

3 day Lean Startup and product event for innovators & entrepreneurs

Learn how to:
Innovate like a startup. Systematically turn your ideas or new project into a scalable business. Launch better, faster and for less. Learn faster than your competition. Validate your ideas or new project.

It’ll be great to catch up with connections from the Lean Startup Conference (in SF), and previous Leanconf’s in 2013 / 14.

But first – study leave

First thing I’m going to do is to take some time off to catch up with my reading around Lean Innovation, and refill my tank.

My goal is to go off-grid (as much as possible) for the next couple of weeks, and look forward to reconnecting when I return!

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