The CEO's Blog
Tue 10th January 2017
When it comes to business, especially in the science and technology sectors, a leader has to be future-focused.
Keeping one’s eyes on the horizon is the best way to see the ideas, the solutions, and the breakthroughs that can help a business stay ahead of the competition. As I see it, business leaders who don’t look to the future put their organisations at risk.
At the beginning of a new year, those who are focused exclusively on what lies ahead may be tempted to launch into it, without taking sufficient time to reflect on progress during the previous year. Celebrating the successes and understanding the contributory factors which made them possible are important in building on those foundations. Undoubtedly it also pays to reflect on and review the mistakes; I believe that we learn more robust lessons if we can assess a setback dispassionately - we emerge stronger and better equipped to face future challenges.
In that spirit, I can look back on 2016 at the Science Park as a hugely successful and rewarding year. Our occupation levels were consistently high and we hit a major milestone as the company count on the Park reached 100. Meanwhile we built and opened our newest – and largest – building to date: 5 Benham Campus. We also won the Business Park of the Year Award at the South Coast Property Awards, and played host to Nucleus Expo, which once again brought together the game-changers of our region. It seems our accommodation, our event and conferencing facilities, our networks and our culture have never been more in demand.
The same is true of Catalyst, our business incubator for science and technology start-ups. The 2016 intake was the largest to date and a diverse range of sectors is represented. As new businesses came in to start their journey, it was equally exciting to see the success of Catalyst alumni. Utonomy, for example, has evolved from a one man company to a fully staffed business with permanent office space here at the Science Park. Likewise, developing world Wi-Fi provider and 2013 Catalyst graduate, BluPoint, has grown from 3 to 16 employees in 2016.
I mention just a handful of 2016’s high points, but there were, of course, moments of unease. The political shift at home was a particular area of concern for many. Whilst I am delighted to report that the Brexit decision has, to date, had no noticeable impact on the Science Park or its tenant companies, I wait to see how the negotiations proceed and the economic challenges that emerge in 2017. Nonetheless, the current stability of the Science Park is encouraging news as it demonstrates the strength of the technology sector and the robust networks that underpin our innovation ecosystem here on the South coast.
So before I, along with the whole Science Park team, wish our tenant businesses a most successful and prosperous 2017, I ask you to join me in reflecting on last year and considering how we will use the experiences of 2016 to shape the future of our businesses.