Sage loves the celebs – following last year’s Summit in Chicago which brought Hollywood A-Lister Gwyneth Paltrow to the stage, this year’s star power came from renowned tech entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox.
Co-founder of lastminute.com, Martha Lane Fox took to the stage to talk diversity, inclusion, innovation and customers.
With the UK at an all-important cross-roads dues to Brexit, the dot com entrepreneur first talked about the UK economy – a well-positioned individual to do so as she serves as a House of Lords crossbencher.
Lane Fox made it clear that for the UK economy to prosper, digital needs to sit at the heart of the economy. Urging the assembled crowd to ‘think global’ and ‘to be bolder’, the omission was made that “UK businesses don’t export as much as we could.” This last observation should provide motivation for UK businesses, although it could also create anxiety in businesses who are already concerned with the trade uncertainty in light of Brexit.
For Lane Fox, for business to prosper, and in turn for the UK economy to prosper, firms need a two pronged approach – the customer and the workforce.
“We need to build diverse companies and we need to design for all audiences,” said Lane Fox.
The entrepreneur’s strong stance on diversity and inclusion saw Lane Fox urge companies to put diversity at the heart of their organisation. That diversity also extends to the customer, with Lane Fox urging those at the summit to ‘design for the furthest first.’ The end-user was paramount for Lane-fox who issued a strong, but simple, message of focusing on the user, building for scale and including everyone.
Although Lane Fox describes herself as a ‘Dot com dinosaur’, her comments regarding diversity and inclusion were certainly sentiments from a new age of thinking – as a journalist who covers women in tech, it was great to see a role model stand up and put such importance on diversity and inclusion. Put simply, Lane Fox’s advice was sage (pun intended) advice for businesses of the future:
“Focus on the user ad the right user”
“Build for scale”
“Put diversity and inclusion at the heart of your design”