In his 2015 manifesto, Sadiq Khan promised to make London the world’s ‘smartest city’ by increasing the focus on technological advancement and digitalisation. Now it seems he is making good on that promise.
The mayor of London created the brand-new role of Chief Digital Officer in a move intended to cement London’s status as a global tech hub. With more than 47,000 digital technology companies in London, employing an estimated 240,000 people and a further 44,500 tech jobs expected to be created by 2026, the need for a digital strategy is clear.
Who is Theo Blackwell?
On 25th August 2017, Sadiq Khan appointed Theo Blackwell as the very first Chief Digital Officer. Theo has over 20 years’ experience in digital technology working for both the public and private sector. As a cabinet member for finance, technology and growth at Camden Council, he was responsible for boosting Camden’s reputation as a leading digital borough.
It is hoped that Theo’s expertise will help transform London’s public services, making them more reactive to the needs of Londoners.
Theo Blackwell has said of the appointment, “The new Chief Digital Officer post is an amazing opportunity to make our capital even more open to innovation, support jobs and investment and make our public services more effective. The pace of change over the next decade requires public services to develop a stronger relationship with the tech sector. Our purpose is to fully harness London’s world-class potential to make our public services faster and more reliable at doing things we expect online, but also adaptable enough to overcome the capital’s most complex challenges.”
What will this mean for the digital sector generally?
As Britain rises to its ‘tech hub’ moniker in the wake of Brexit, this emphasis on digitalisation will only serve to bolster its reputation overseas. After all, the promise to revolutionise the city’s public services could be seen as an open invitation to the best tech companies out there – and the brightest talent.
The path to a more digitalised capital will no doubt be paved with innovation. Which is good news for start-ups and go-getting creatives alike.
As Antony Walker, deputy CEO of techUK put it “This appointment is an important step forward to London being at the forefront of tech innovation to create smart places and communities where citizens want to live, work and thrive.”
A word from Cogs…
Liam Morgan, Founder and Director at Cogs Agency, says:
“Any government backed initiative that offers jobs, security and growth and further strengthens the UK’s position as an open hub for innovation, design and technology is a welcome development. We wish Theo every success in his new role.”
- Looking for people