Learning from future talent

When I agreed to get involved as a judge for the Young Technologist of the Year awards 2015, I thought it would be a great way to build a closer working relationship with the Royal Television Society (RTS), which organises the award. Little did I know just how much I would learn from the experience!

RTS provides Colt with a social platform to better understand the media industry – both leaders and future talent. Other companies sitting on the judging panel included Fujitsu, Olympic Broadcast, Accenture and internet TV service, YouView. Each of us were given a number of written entries to review before we came up with a shortlist, with final judging held face to face on 29 June.

Media is such a fast moving world, predominately driven by the youth consumer. However, what I saw from the young people I met was an inspiring lack of preconceptions. It’s human nature to self-impose views over time, but here were people who hadn’t yet learned to restrict their thoughts and I truly believe that the passionate enthusiasm shown here can change entire industries.

I really enjoyed listening to the three final candidates. Sometimes thoughts like ‘they will change’ would creep into my mind, but shame on me. I learnt far more from them than they would from me. For example, one of the final candidates worked on Formula 1 live streaming. His ideas for ‘inclusion’ and crowd participation were leading edge.

Another candidate was on the BBC engineering apprenticeship. She was a fantastic role model for young women trying to succeed in male dominated environment. She portrayed exactly why gender diversity is so important.

The last candidate rewrote a software programme that has been around for the past 40 years. It had changed very little in the past 40 years because ‘it worked’. His view was: “most things work, not many things work well.”

Yes, technology can broaden young people’s horizons and open up new opportunities. But businesses can benefit too. The younger generation is vital – they are our future audience, future customers and future employees.

The corporate world needs to focus and direct talent, without restricting it. And we can all learn from the attitudes I saw as part of the process – the mindset that we can challenge the norm and find a better way of doing something.

We should not underestimate the ability of hiring the best young talent we can and moulding them to be successful in 5 to 10 years. We need to focus on maximising young talent, partnering with key universities and sponsoring progressive voluntary youth organisations.

But above all, let’s make sure we learn from young people and don’t impose too many rules, views and opinions on them, so that we can nurture their talent. And let’s try our hardest to refrain from imposing these rules and thoughts on ourselves. How do you think we can nurture young talent in the industry?

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