As I sit here in 2030, I have been given a unique opportunity to look back to 2020, which now seems such a long time ago. I tend to only look at current events and potential for the future, therefore it is salutary to look back and reflect on the impact of the vast changes that have taken place since 2020. Certainly if I had been asked to do this exercise in 2020 looking back to 2008 I cannot imagine that I would have predicted that US policy would largely be announced on twitter by a President Trump (whose fame at the time was from the USA Apprentice, Miss Universe and a presidential reference in the 2000 episode of the Simpsons). Nor would I have predicted that around two thirds of the world’s population would have a mobile phone, which would be in constant use - but not to make telephone calls!
I am composing this article sitting at the Sea Terminal restaurant, overlooking the animatronic solar powered horses, pulling trams along our lovely, newly completed promenade. I am also safe in the knowledge that no one would have predicted that Serena Williams would now be sitting in the Oval Office and Tanni Grey-Thompson in No 10.
What is new in Tech and the Isle of Man
The good news I can tell you is that our move into biosphere green technology and responsible environmental use has proved not only the right thing to do but of real use to the Island’s economy. This has taught us that the Island has had to move with the times to ensure there are good and interesting prospects for the next generation and that the Island can build a strong and more progressive society. The use of social media and the ability to publicise and influence global issues has driven nearly every sector of business to ensure it is socially responsible. So by 2023 the Island led the way by banning the use of all plastics and by 2025 our innovative locally produced hemp clothing line had developed a world leading clothing providing natural relief for arthritis sufferers.
The Island has also established itself as a test bed for new technology. Some of your readers may be aware that in 2019 Stanford researchers had just devised a way to generate hydrogen fuel using solar power, electrodes and saltwater. The small plant created in Ramsey in 2025 invigorated that area and enabled the Island to be at the forefront of a hydrogen powered autonomous vehicle project. The vehicles can now run for a month at a time without refuelling and are hailed in 5 minutes from your handheld. This test bed dramatically reduced private vehicle ownership on the Island and is now being rolled out throughout the world.
There are lots of other new technology areas that our innovative and well-motivated workforce has grasped and developed.
It would be wrong for me to tell you too much more about the future but my words of advice to CEOs are as follows:
1. Be prepared to change approach and be flexible in your style of doing business;
2. Do not underestimate the need to embrace change;
3. Focus on the Island’s natural strengths and use it to direct new business opportunities:-
a. Safety; unfortunately, weapon crime, terrorism has become even worse over the years. The physical safety to residents our Island can offer has become an enormous attraction to many from all over the world.
b. A unique work force; down to earth people living on a beautiful island create the potential for a very well-motivated loyal workforce, people who want to stay on the Island and grow it together. Look after them.
c. The next generation; encourage your government to take every care to, not only give the full range of educational options to our children, but also to incentivise them to return to the Island and help us grow and develop. Letting your primary future workforce leave and experience the world after education is no bad thing but encouraging them to return is vital. The Island is only as strong as its people are, the Island is an ideal place to encourage everyone to pull together and you are in a unique position to drive this forward.
Anyway, I have finished my musings and the trams have now been suspended due to high winds and leaves on the lines, so it’s time for me to sign off.
PS Brexit wasn’t as bad as they thought and look out for the opportunities from the Manx China trade deal.