Produced in partnership with the European PR agency Tyto, this csuite podcast expert panel discussed the Tyto Tech 500 Power List, a publication that identifies the most influential figures in technology in the UK, France and Germany.
We hear the word influencer more commonly than most of us would like, but don’t panic, we aren’t here to discuss Instagram, but instead to explore what it means to be an influencer in the world of tech.
Hosts of the show, Graham Barrett and Tyto’s Senior Partner and Head of Media Influence, Zoe Clark spoke to three of the influencers on this year’s Tyto Tech 500 list – Sophie Proust, Chief Technology officer at ATOS, Andreas Maier, Professor, Friedrich-Alexander University, Erlangen-Nuremberg, and Jonathan Symcox, Editor at TechBlast and BusinessCloud.
Zoe explained that there had been a recent boom in the number of influencers coming from the green tech sector across the UK, France and Germany and within health tech and biotech.
Jonathan said: “We look at female role models in technology, which obviously has a real impact in terms of people getting engaged on social media, people visiting our website and understanding who the people are that are trying to change the world.”
Sophie added that she found it a huge surprise and honour to be selected as one of the top women in tech and hopes it will inspire other women to explore the tech area.
It’s the world’s worst- kept secret, but even though there’s been a massive improvement in the male-dominated fields of science and tech, the percentage of women working in the STEM field’s is still worryingly low.
Sophie explained that women need to be interested in science and technology and must understand that this is an area where they can succeed and have fun.
She said: “Once they understand this, then we need to promote them and encourage them to have more leadership positions. And I think also we need to understand that leadership does not have to be this immutable stereotype model invented by men. But there is a place in the business world for more collaboration, more listening, more empathy, and a more sustainable way also to drive economic success.”
Jonathan added that there aren’t as many female CEO’s as they’d like and it’s important to understand there’s a lot more to be done. He explained he’s heard countless stories of women being negatively treated in the industry.
Andreas, a professor at the Friedrich-Alexander university said that targeted marketing is important when it comes to getting women involved in STEM at an educational level.
He explained: “We’re running several study programs, computer science is 90% male, 10% female, and then we’re running a study program that we call medical engineering, and you can study it in a flavour that is essentially computer science. And from day one bachelor to the last day of the master it’s 50% male, 50% female, and they are learning very similar things”
“I think if you frame it right, if you make it accessible, if you create the right learning experience, you can actually do it and make it much, much more interesting”
He said the most important thing that they need is role models, those that can show others how it can be done and how to be successful in tech as a woman.
Zoe said: “Within organisations, we just have to recognise that everyone actually does things in a different way. Man, woman, whether you’re an introvert and extrovert, even, you like to operate in different ways.”
She explained that it needs to be down to an organisation supporting their teams, especially their women to encourage them in a way that works for them.
Jonathan’s teams recently published their Ed Tech 50, which explores education technology companies that are using technology to help people whether that’s students, schoolchildren, or workplace development.
He said: “I think there’s just going to be an increase in businesses across all sectors experimenting with new technologies. AI has not been around that long. We talk about it like it’s been around for 20 years. But AI, in a practical sense, is only a few years old.”
Sophie added: “There’s also a big need for cybersecurity, and the threat landscape is extending.”
Zoe shared a quote from Jeremy Waite of IBM, who said “any true influencer never sets out to be an influencer”, although that might be true if you’re setting out to be a reality TV star, she said.
She shared another quote from him, where he said, “it’s the responsibility of all of us to influence whatever audience you’ve got, however big or small”.
She said: “We need to think about influence in a really human well-rounded way, however small your audience is, someone will be listening. Somebody will be taken by what you’re saying and be thinking about it. And to me, that’s what influence means”.