Category Archives: stretch beyond

Webanywhere at BETT 2014

Sean Gilligan at BETT 2014

Sean Gilligan at BETT 2014

Michael Gove’s speech started the BETT Show 2014 at Excel in East London. BETT in it’s 30th year was busy not just with UK schools but many international delegations. The Education Minister mentioned three key words in his speech which give resonance to what we do at Webanywhere. Michael Gove in his speech mentioned open source software and flexible technology that stretches learning outcomes.

Our commitment to the world’s number one open source learning platform is most certainly a positive with the Cabinet Office and Francis Maude recognising the need for free open source software to reduce government spending on IT.

Webanywhere’s core business value is to be flexible so again the need for flexible IT is in parallel with many of our software product roadmaps. Our tag line is stretch beyond and stretching learning outcomes is one way in which we judge whether our software deployments are a success.

I was very proud to launch the latest version of our market leading software School Jotter at BETT. Two additional apps have been launched within the platform including School Merits and Jotter Learn. School Merits is an online reward system and is particularly useful in evidencing how schools utilise their pupil premium budgets. The Jotter Learn application allows teachers to create compelling learning sites within School Jotter. Learning sites can be edited and created in a similar way to your school website but with a different set of widgets designed specifically for digital online learning.

In some ways I don’t like the great expense and cost to both schools and business of the BETT Show. On the other hand it’s great for team building and a celebration of UK innovation in education with a worldwide audience. BETT 2014 was an open source, flexible and a stretching experience and long may it continue. See you at BETT next year.

Inspiring the next generation of Entrepreneurs

As an ex-pupil of Holy Family School in Keighley, I was delighted to be invited back to speak at their Enterprise Day today.

A group of Year 9 pupils were given an “Apprentice” style challenge to identify a business opportunity within the school and come up with a proposal to address it.

HFS Enterprise Day Photo July 2013 (2)

I was really impressed with the creativity and business acumen displayed by the 18 teams involved, and their confidence in presenting their ideas to a panel of their teachers.

Once the staff had scored each group out of 10 (Strictly Come Dancing style), a clear winner emerged – team “8 Minds” with their proposal for a swipe-card payment system to replace cash throughout school.

I’m sure that among those students there will be a few future business leaders, project managers and entrepreneurs – ¬†who might one day give me a run for my money!

I was joined by one of our media team on the day to film the occasion, so I’ll share the finished videos with you soon.

MADE: The Entrepreneur Festival

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Last week I paid a visit to a fantastic event in Sheffield, the MADE Entrepreneur Festival.

I am always seeking to improve the way we do business, the way we manage and inspire colleagues, and love nothing more than exchanging ideas with other entrepreneurs. As you may imagine, this meant I enjoyed the event immensely!

MADE brought together business owners, inventors, designers and investors at a variety of venues across Sheffield for the free exchange of ideas and opinions. Speakers this year included The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Dr Vince Cable MP, Peter Jones and many, many more.

So what did I learn?

  • Delegreat
    Delegate to great people and you will not go far wrong. We have built an incredible team here at Webanywhere, and as we continue to grow at a rapid pace there are more and more projects for staff to really take ownership of. There is certainly the opportunity for people to shine here!
  • Over deliver
    Our motto at Webanywhere is ‘Stretch Beyond’, and that is what we do, every single day. We work longer, we work harder, and we care a great deal about what we are doing, where we are going, and what we deliver to our customers.

MADEreinforced thatto be great is not some unattainable quality that a chosen few are born with. By always seeking to over deliver, you make yourself great. When facing a new project or task, do it with that little bit extra, be creative, add a bit more value and go the extra mile. This is what makes someone great day to day, and when multiplied across the organisation adds up to something special, something great.

Roll on next year!