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Cyber innovation waves

The cyber ecosystem – biologists and boardriders!

CYBERUK 2022 is nearly here and is being hosted at the ICC Wales 9-11 May! The event will feature a new Cyber Ecosystem Zone which will provide delegates with a snapshot of the rich and vibrant community at the heart of UK cyber.

Deloitte are proud to sponsor this new zone and with a team of our Cyber practitioners we are keen to share our experiences of leveraging culture, capability and community to capture opportunity for those willing to ‘get in the water’, ‘grab a board’ and ‘paddle to the wave’.

As developing the cyber ecosystem is a primary pillar of the UK’s National Cyber Strategy 2022, the zone will bring together key stakeholders, success stories, and partners from across government, industry and academia under six themes that support the cyber ecosystem:

  • trust
  • partnership
  • innovation
  • talent
  • resilience, and
  • growth

Expect bite-sized talks, presentations and videos around these themes as we look to connect the ‘community of interacting organisms’ in this ‘physical environment’ that will include:

  • Cyber practitioners and NCSC accredited service providers;
  • World-class academic researchers;
  • End-users of cyber security across verticals;
  • Capabilities and experience of Government;
  • Our dynamic cyber investor community;
  • Regional cyber clusters and their UK Cyber Cluster Collaboration (UKC3)
  • Cyber skills growth initiatives like: CyberFirst and NCSC for Startups

In the Zone

Working with NCSC and other partners, our intent is that the zone will draw the cyber ecosystem together for optimum mutualism, i.e. best conditions to nurture relationships between organisms where each benefits from the activity of the other.

At Deloitte, we talk about Cyber Everywhere. Go Anywhere and we work to help our clients have the confidence to make the most of every technological opportunity available to them. We recognise that in order to help the whole of society - we are all in this together. In the cyber ecosystem zone we want to encourage you to have your say!

The zone will host interviews with key industry figures where we will ask them to share what they can bring to the ecosystem, and what they want to get from the ecosystem. We will also be encouraging delegates to engage by writing on our wall of commitment or using the hashtag #cyberecosystem on social media channels.

Ultimately, we will look to aggregate the content from these conversations over the 2-days of CYBERUK 2022 into a tangible output, producing valuable insight to help further strengthen the UK’s cyber ecosystem.

On board

So, how do you get on board and what is the potential of this ecosystem? The UK cyber ecosystem is a thriving environment committed to addressing cyber challenges through innovation. Government, industry and academia are working together on technology and policy development to drive a more secure digital environment for all, organisations and citizens alike.

Deloitte’s purpose is to make an impact that matters, and this means that our cyber practice is an active member of this ecosystem. The CYBERUK Ecosystem Zone will be a great way to understand how you too can become an active member - of an ecosystem with enormous potential. Waves of opportunity can be unlocked and we can learn how to do this from one of the most adaptive and dynamic ecosystems – surfing. A powerful analogy that is surprisingly relevant and insightful.

Waves of opportunity

Throughout my career, I have experienced a certain amount of cognitive dissonance - 25 years of working in tech & cyber as an engineer, entrepreneur and research institute commercial director. Now as a partner in ‘the big-4’, I still would secretly just like to be a surfer. However, as I reflect on the cyber ecosystem, and time helping to deliver CSIT, LORCA, and NCSC for start-ups, I realise there is no need for cognitive dissonance – cyber innovation happens in waves!

Innovation is not a linear process (described in terms of steps or gates) or a funnel (with bottlenecks where ideas are forced through to survive or suffocate). We know from macroeconomics that markets ebb and flow like waves. Markets shift - they are unpredictable, and speed is the only competitive advantage. New markets are winner-takes-all, meaning that small teams can create immense value, but also that for every success there are a multitude of wipe-outs.

Waves can be small and generate incremental change; waves can also be large and able to clear everything in their path. Waves may come together and ‘double-up’; waves can also cancel each other out. Waves can come from anywhere at any time.

Therefore, if innovation happens in waves - what can we learn from the boardriders? Well within their ecosystem, they have three principles they try to get right in order to help capture their opportunity: Culture, Capability and Community.

Culture: spend time in the water

Surfing needs commitment. It can take years to master the art. Cyber also needs commitment. The UK is into its 3rd decade of building an innovation ecosystem. Kudos to UKRI, DCMS, NCSC and other government organisations for this leadership and strategic direction.

The culture of surfing also instils a flexible attitude coupled with discipline - following a code of conduct. Similarly, cyber needs adaptably to the ebbs and flows of the market and a disciplined togetherness - sharing intelligence of ‘swell lines’, looking after ‘grommets’ and celebrating one another’s success.

Capability: learn to swim & grab a board

A surfer has to be able to swim. Likewise, the cyber ecosystem needs the right skills. CyberFirst is one of a number of initiates to provide an initial ‘dunking’ and further growth and development of talent.

Alongside talent, capability needs ‘a board’. The UK’s 2016-2021 National Cyber Strategy laid out plans for two Cyber Innovations Centres, one in London and one in Cheltenham. It is wonderful to see the plethora of successful alumni businesses from both LORCA and NCSC for start-ups that leveraged the facilities of these centres and their technology and market domain experts as a ‘platform’.

Community: paddle to the wave

A surfer focused on the sea will begin to understand how and when waves appear. However, confidence and commitment are needed to ‘paddle to the wave’. Motivation can come from your ‘crew’ or like-minded individuals setting off to ‘paddle’ in a certain direction or shout ‘outside’ and head for the horizon.

A Cyber Ecosystem needs focus on the market and its movements. However, it is only by being ‘in the water’ with a community of practitioners, researchers, users, government agencies and investors that we can get a better understanding of the market, its stakes, interests, and perspectives. Accordingly, only an open, diverse, and inclusive community can help innovators understand the true value of an idea and how it might be positioned for optimum impact.

Come on in, the water is fine

The CYBERUK Ecosystem Zone will provide delegates with a snapshot of the rich and vibrant community at the heart of UK cyber. It will also provide an introduction to the networks, programmes and clusters that keep it connected. Engaging deeply with this community, leveraging the right capability and adopting the right culture will indeed support those interested to capture the current, emergent and future waves of cyber opportunity.