We kicked off London Tech Week in style with our #FashionTech panel, which brought together experts from across the industry to share their thoughts at the amazing ASOS offices.
Fashion tech is a huge buzz word at the moment - (the phrase has been googled 600 billion times in 2015 already), and it seems that for fashion and retail companies it to stay current they need to engage. But what is fashion tech? And with 60% of designers at fashion week still not having a website are the leaders in fashion seeing it as central to fashion’s future? Our panel in just a couple of hours covered these big questions as well as the future of wearables, big data and how to solve the problem of 15,000 ways of describing pink...
Matthew Drinkwater head of FIA University of the Arts Fashion Innovation Agency gave a great insight into what the future of wearables could hold - combating our consumerism and saving the environment by enabling us to change the size, fit and colour of an item. The FIA are even researching sensors that tell us when an item needs to be cleaned. He sees a future where the sales assistant is redundant and your technology takes you through the perfect customer journey.
The entrepreneurs on the panel gave some fantastic advice to those who were looking to break the fashion tech industry. Caroline Wood shared her lean start up story as Co-Founder Clotho London, encouraging the entrepreneurial CF:Gs to go for it; build a minimal product, learn by doing and pull in the expertise and help from those around you to get your business off the ground. Geoff Watts Co-founder EDITD came in with some tough love, a passion for fashion isn't enough it is important to ensure that by merging tech and retail you’re solving a problem and creating a product that people want and need.
Then we got onto big data with three data nuts on the panel Caroline Ohrn Product Manager Lyst, Laura Riches Senior strategist Qubit and Paulo Gomes Lead software engineer ASOS there was a lot to talk about. The big question we wanted to know - are targeted ads and suggested items perceived as creepy or the perfect customer experience? The general consensus was that targeted ads at present are annoying and unnerving, but there was an exciting future ahead where companies were sending us what we wanted before we even knew we wanted it….spooky. Companies need to remember that data means “to give”, customers are giving their data and they have a responsibility to use it wisely and usefully for them.
All in all it was a hugely successful event giving a great insight into the industry and even inspiring some of the CF:G’s to go home and start planning their retail tech start up.
We want to give a huge thank you to our amazing hosts ASOS, our guests, and all our fantastic speakers.
It’s been a whirlwind of a week. Monday saw the execution of a fantastic night, hosted by ASOS, at our Do’s and Don’ts of Fashion Tech panel – see Clarice's blog post for a more in-depth outline of the brilliant event.
Code First: Girls was also involved with London Tech Week this week. Running two TechTalent Recruitment workshops in collaboration with Monster UK, the first of which was part of Interop London at the massive ExCel centre. These workshops had been the culmination of meticulous planning and it was fantastic to see them both go so well. The panellist speakers from both workshops were extremely insightful. Attendees ranged from smaller start-up founders to large company HR to budding tech talent themselves, and the diversity made for some fascinating discussions, with many shared stories of different recruitment/retainment practises from all manner of workplace.
Clarice and Amali were also involved as event speakers at Interop and the London Devoxx conference respectively, both representing CodeFirst:Girls in a very articulate manner, as always. This week has really opened my eyes to the reality of getting more women in the tech industry, from the industry’s point of view rather than women themselves. So many companies are desperate to increase gender diversity in their tech workplace, but are unsure how… While no-one has a clear, simple solution, there are small steps being taken – and CodeFirst: Girls’ work is just one of them.
Hello World! My name’s Mary – I’ll be interning with Code First: Girls this summer. On this blog I’ll be giving you an insight into what goes on behind the scenes at CF:G, including:
- The organisational aspects of all the wonderful events and courses run by CF:G
- The work CF:G does with companies to try and increase recruitment of women into tech
- And much more…
Week 1 (beginning Mon 8th June):
I arrived at the CF:G workplace in London Bridge, with little idea of what to expect. I was warmly greeted by Programmes Manager Clarice, and then later by CEO Amali, and was quite surprised to learn that they alone formed the core CF:G team. Yes, that’s right. Running coding courses at 24 universities, collaboration with a large cohort of various companies, regular career events for young women, and more - all organised by two people alone. Impressive.
My first morning consisted of an in-depth induction. I was given the freedom very early on to handle a lot of the communications, which was daunting at first. But I soon adapted to the role of representing CF:G in emails, social media, and when meeting new people. It was a great way of getting into the mindspace of being part of the team.
It was a very useful week for me to be joining. We had a couple of strategy workshops, the first of which was run by Neysan from EDIS, focusing on human-centred design and how it could be applied to our operations. Also participating were Alice and Matt, who are co-founders of EF (Entrepreneur First), the company that originally started CF:G. In just a few hours, CF:G’s core strategy was deconstructed and carefully rebuilt using post-it notes and flipchart paper. From an onboarder’s point of view, I found it really interesting to see how the whole team had their own slant on the fundamental purpose of CF:G, and yet were so forward-thinking and open to new ideas.
The second strategy–focused activity of the week involved an exciting visit to Oxford on Thursday. Melting from the June heat, we were greeted by four lovely members of the Oxford Strategy Group who had kindly agreed to look at our engagement activities. They had some really fantastic insights and suggestions regarding our website, competitors, and university profiles.
The rest of the week was filled in with a lot of prep for the next week’s numerous events; Clarice and Amali having encouraged me to listen in or participate with pretty much every single meeting and call. After just five days, I’m already feeling like I’ve been here for months, and am so excited for this summer and getting really stuck in at Code First: Girls.
For this months CF:G competition we gave away tickets to the amazing Web We Want Festival at the Southbank Centre.
The Web We Want is a global movement to defend, claim and change the future of the web - seeking the power of the people to create a web that is for everyone.
The festival was an amazing four days of talks and panels on the wonderful and extraordinary web exploring it's challenges and difficulties.
Three CF:G's spent the weekend exploring the festival and our very own CEO Amali De Alwis joined as a speaker about on "Women and the Web"
A big thanks to The Web We Want for the tickets as you can see below they had an amazing time.
Don't miss out on these great competitions join our mailing list here
You can read more about the festival from some of our CF:G's below
The Web We Want - Stephanie Allen
A terrific opportunity, my ticket to the Web We Want festival wasn't just access to an educational affair and an occasion to meet a number of figureheads in the community – it was also really good fun!
I attended a number of talks and panels – where topics ranged from industry challenges such as equal opportunities and safety issues, to exciting new areas of development in AI that fall into the realms of what would have previously been considered sci-fi.
In between these, I dipped into a number of installations and performances being held throughout - and it was fantastic to see the broad range in ages of those participating. While some specifically targeted a younger audience – such as the interactive 3x4 Green Room installation, there was a crowd of adults and children alike watching demonstrations of the incredible MiMu Gloves by Drake Music, while a similar group admired the extraordinary mix of art and technology evident in the Woodpecker tool from ThoseWorks – and I also spent time in the Gaming Lounge where I happily sat among a number of young and old, to revisit the retro games of my youth!.
There was of course much more besides; too many to mention here and too many to do justice to in just 4 days! With such a broad appeal and benefits on so many levels to those attending The Web We Want Festival is initiative I would attend again, strongly recommend and would love to see more from!
My Weekend at the Web We Want Fest 2015 - Shwetal Shah
Code First Girls and South Bank centre gave me the opportunity to attend the Web We Want fest during the weekend by entering a competition organized by CF:G.
The fest was filled with a lot of topics that interest me and the weekend was kicked off by a panel debate chaired by Sir Tim Berners Lee, whose foundation organized the whole event at the South Bank Centre. It was quiet an insightful talk with interesting panellists having backgrounds in marketing, tech law and music. This panel talk was all about the rights of the internet and covered the broader topics of digital rights today.
In conjunction to this I attended the End of Privacy panel chaired by the CEO of the web we want foundation, after which I headed to see the exhibitions on display from old computers to 3D doodle pens and as the talks and screenings continued throughout the weekend on different topics. It was an insightful productive weekend well spent and I look forward to more such events and get involved in CF:G activities more.
The Web We Want - Mia Lewis
I'm very grateful for the opportunity to attend the Web We Want festival at the ever inspiring Southbank Centre. This was a weekend of debates, workshops and activity centred around how the World Wide Web has changed the world.
I really enjoyed the panel 'Neuroplasticity and the Web: How Technology is Changing the Brain'. This was a lively discussion between Artists, Designers and Scientists who despite their diverse backgrounds, agreed early on that that the internet is changing how our brains are wired and so the conversation was based on the question, "is this a good or bad thing?".
I've always been interested in this topic from the perspective of a designer. Rebecca Ross, Communication Design Course Leader at Central Saint Martins suggested that recent trends of uniformity and homogeneity in web design could be having negative effect on brains as we are no longer being provided with diverse stimulus online.
With our society spending an increasing amount of time online, it's worth us all remembering when designing a digital world, that variety is the spice of life!
Code First: Girls