Shropshire businesses should allow their staff to daydream if they are to make the most of the digital revolution, the European head of Twitter has said.
Bruce Daisley said the greatest flashes of genius often came when people allowed their brains to drift – and called on companies to allow staff the space to think creatively if they wanted to come up with the next great digital idea.
And Mr Daisley, European Vice-President of the social media giant, said the Marches Growth Hub could then give those ideas ‘superpower’ to help county businesses challenge established global tech firms.
He was speaking to an audience of more than 100 business people at the Get Digital – Survive or Thrive event at Enginuity in Ironbridge, organised by the Marches Growth Hub on March 20.
"Our best ideas don’t come from sitting and staring into a computer screen, but when we allow ourselves the space to breathe," Mr Daisley said.
"The truth about modern work is that the great ideas and the genius is going to come in those day-dreaming moments.
"And in the Marches Growth Hub you have a portal here which can super-power those ideas through the skills and advice they have to offer."
Mr Daisley – speaking the day before Twitter’s 13thbirthday – said the next big digital advances were more likely to come from ‘some kid in a garage’ than any of the big technology firms and that Telford and Shropshire companies could compete on a global digital stage.
"Innovation can come from anywhere. The most important thing is to have a sense of curiosity within the business. Openness and the wish to ask a few more questions seems to be a good starting point."
And he said his own personal experience showed that having the courage to think differently was often the key to success.
"I drew a four-page cartoon CV and it changed my life. I went from no-one replying to me to getting phone calls with every job application I was doing. The secret to success can be just doing what nobody else is doing.
"These days people don’t send letters. But I guarantee if you send a beautifully-written letter to places like the BBC it will get read more than just another email. There is a value to thinking about the things that other people are not. There is a whole lane on the motorway which is not being used."
Mr Daisley headed animpressive panel of experts at the event which also included Parmjit Chima, the head of agri-tech at Harper Adams University, Virtual Reality company boss Tim Luft, Steve Garner from the University of Wolverhampton and Sara Williams from Telford-based digital manufacturer Protolabs.
It also featured four hands-on workshops in digital skills, an expo and networking opportunities.
Claire Critchell, manager of the Marches Growth Hub Telford & Wrekin, which is delivered by Telford & Wrekin Council, said she was delighted by the success of the day.
"To have been able to discuss the amazing changes which will shape our future with Bruce Daisley and our brilliant panel of local experts – all in the cradle of the original Industrial Revolution – was very special," she said.
Lee Carter, cabinet member for Economic Development at Telford & Wrekin Council added:
"It was a pleasure to see so many people at this event committed to ensuring that Telford & Wrekin is right at the forefront of the digital revolution as we continue to keep innovation and creativity at the heart of what we do."