Chair of Digital South, Andy Headington talks about digital challenges and opportunities
Find out more about the purpose and aims of Digital South
Who are you and what is your day job?
My name is Andy Headington and I'm co-founder and CEO of Adido, a digital marketing agency based in Bournemouth. I work with a broad range of clients that are based in and around Hampshire, Dorset and the South of England.
Apart from work, what makes you tick, what are your interests?
I have a busy home with my wife and three children, so it's non-stop, but when I get a moment to myself I like to swim in the glorious Bournemouth sea (all year round) or very occasionally, squeeze in a round of golf.
How and why did you first get involved with Business South?
We have been supporters of Business South for many years, ever since we had an office in Southampton and we’re great believers in the work that they do for the region by connecting and informing businesses.
What is the vision for the Digital South Action Group group?
Digital South exists to help companies adopt and use digital technologies to improve their output, drive economic growth in the south and ultimately, make everyone more prosperous.
As a group, we have worked hard to really think about what we can do and what we should stand for. With so many groups and organisations doing 'digital' things, it's important to take time to consider where and how we can really make a difference. We feel that we can offer a significant benefit through the connections of Business South, the Champions and also links within the region at scale. We don't want to just do what everyone else is doing. We aim to collaborate with as many organisations as we can in the region to bring ideas, talent and knowledge together.
What do you mean by ‘digital’?
Good question! This is something we've spent a long time pondering ourselves. It can mean many things to many people. To us, we want to look at all aspects of digital technology - infrastructure, hardware, software, marketing, new tech and more. Pretty much every area of business touches digital. So, as well as connecting the region’s businesses, we want to showcase and link ideas to enable all areas to be considered in a joined-up way.
Who else is involved in the Digital South group?
We have a great mix of companies who help to steer the agenda including giants like Ordnance Survey, IBM and ESET, through to great businesses in the region like Carswell Gould, The Creative Engine and Glow and education institutions University of Winchester, Solent University and Winchester School of Art. Our mix of expertise, experience and connections has helped us to have a really rounded viewpoint of where digital is and what we can do to help people understand how it can make a difference.
Why did you get involved in the Action Group and how does your knowledge and experience support the initiative?
I was approached by Business South to become Chair as they knew my passion for digital - but I also hope that I know what I'm talking about. I've been working in digital marketing and development for the past 15 years. As well as our company helping hundreds of businesses over that time, I've also met and presented to thousands of people, so I have a good idea of the challenges a lot of businesses face, as well as knowing a lot of people who can help solve them.
Why do we need Digital South and how will it benefit our region?
I believe there is a need for Digital South because there is simply so much going on in the region. Along the south coast and even up towards London, there are hundreds of groups, organisations and people who are passionate about different areas of digital. Individually, they are great at their own thing, but our aim is to work together with these groups to shine a light on the amazing work our region does and share the good use of digital technology stories to other businesses who are looking for inspiration. It needs to be more joined up and collaborative and we hope with our members and connections through Business South we can make that happen and inspire other businesses.
What are the key activities you plan to work on and deliver?
At the moment the jury is out and we want the market to drive some of what we do. So, the first and most important thing to do is to get the view of businesses across the region.
To that end, we have launched a major research project and anyone working in the south should play their part and fill out the following survey.
How can people get involved and if they are interested?
You can contact me - I'm easily findable on LinkedIn and Twitter - or you can speak to Anna at Business South (firstname.lastname@example.org) directly about joining the Action Group if you are a Champion.