How did I become a digital leader?

This was the initial question posed to a small group of people including me at last Friday’s #destinationdigital event organised by Wigan Council. It took place at ‘The Edge’ Conference Centre on Pottery Road in the town.

It’s a question I find difficult to answer with a straight-faced acceptance of the title.

I therefore found myself trying to establish which, (if any!) of the many definitions of leadership could be used to describe me.

In approaching the question this way I was able to provide an answer that supported my belief that ANYONE can become a digital leader. More importantly, that the digital and creative industries have a responsibility to inspire EVERYONE to develop digital skills vital to improve the lives of all in society.

The definition that I think best fits me personally and describes the Noun i.e. ‘To Lead’ is the following:

[the initiative in an action; an example for others to follow.]

If an identified skill is deemed to add value I will ‘grasp the nettle’, have a go, give it a try, take a risk, see what happens. Be brave, be bold, maybe fail, always learn and get better.

It’s always been that way for me and it’s no different with digital. There are no barriers. Age, gender, socio-economic status etc. should not exclude anyone from becoming proficient in one or all of the skills that collectively make up the digital economy.
Digital is the technology we have used to leverage every brand & communications trick in the book to make @alljoinjack the powerhouse Duchenne charity that it is today in just five short years.

We have to continue to deliver events such as last Friday’s. We need to increase the attendance of local businesses with an interest in learning how their organisations can be improved with the use of digital technology. We need to collectively ensure that through education, digital services can ultimately be delivered by next generation local digital talent. In order to be able to inspire the next generation workforce into becoming digital leaders we have to use the success story examples all around us.

Here’s another example of local digital leadership.

Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of speaking with a chap by the name of Joe Mitchinson who is 23 yrs young. I’ve watched his journey with great interest ever since I was introduced to his Instagram feed @joemitch and more specifically to his business Instagram account @JMproductions_video. My Son Jack attended St.JohnRigby College in Gathurst as did Joe in the year above.

With no real direction but a passion for video, Joe left John Rigby with a desire to make films. He started to teach himself photography, video production and post production skills through online tutorials. He became proficient in ‘grading’ film and ultimately used Instagram to promote his skills to the world. It’s clear that Joe not only has passion, but also raw talent which he has combined with his love of fitness to create films used to promote fitness studios and gyms.

His following started to steadily increase and, having photographed fitness and swimwear model @sommerray, having filmed for @tfit360, one morning around a year ago, he received a phone call whilst in bed from someone he’d never met before.

“Hi Joe? This is AJ”, the voice on the other end of the line stated matter of factly.
Joe replied “I’m sorry I don’t know anyone called AJ?”. To which the voice on the other end explained “Sorry, I mean it’s Anthony Joshua.”
To which Joe replied “The heavyweight champion of the world?” AJ said “Yes mate, I want you to come and do some filming for me at my training camp.”

The last twelve months have been a rollercoaster ride, sweeping Joe around the Globe and culminating in his being ringside to document the whole of the Joshua V Klitschko fight.

Things haven’t stopped there. Joe is busy working through the many hours of footage in order to produce a ‘fly on the wall’ documentary which, in itself will serve to provide inspiration for young people to follow their dreams and work hard to make them a reality.

This is one of a number of local people who inspire me and, who can inspire others with the passion and raw talent to succeed with their dreams. Technology is there to enable us all to improve our products, our services, our relationships and ultimately our lives.

We simply have to ‘Grasp the Nettle’ in order to get started.