Now in its sixth year and open for entries, The Techies is a Business Exchange award scheme that celebrates Swindon and Wiltshire’s most exciting tech innovators.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be catching up with some of last year’s winners.
Today we hear from Roderick Hebden, Managing Director of New Elements, a Swindon-based corporate social innovation consultancy. Rod won the ‘Outstanding contribution to Swindon and Wiltshire Tech award’ by public vote for creating the Festival of Tomorrow, an event that celebrates all things science and technology.
How did it feel to win the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Swindon and Wiltshire Tech Award’ at the Techies 2022?
It felt very emotional. The work that I do takes a huge amount of energy and goodwill from so many people – so it’s really nice when you get recognised for the good you are doing.
Tell us more about what you do
New Elements is my company, and it is essentially me plus freelancers. We have a wide range of skills and our work spans across different sectors. I call us a social innovation consultancy, because while the projects we are doing might vary, we are always working in partnership with companies and charities to try and create some kind of social good.
Through the Festival of Tomorrow, I work with large Wiltshire-based companies like Intel and Dyson as well as smaller firms like Rendermedia which is another Techies winner.
What have you been working on since winning?
I’ve been working with a national sports concussion charity, Love of The Game (as New Elements initially), and since December, I’ve been acting as CEO for them.
Through this work, I’ve also collaborated with some other local sports concussion charities including PhysiGo and HeadX (which I was introduced to by Scott Gulliver, who was shortlisted alongside me at the Techies).
What are your plans for the coming months?
We will be doing a lot more work with the sports concussion charities and we are also starting to look forward to the next Festival of Tomorrow. We want to support our local community here in Swindon. There’s a big gap in terms of skills and access to higher education. But actually, Swindon is the home of UKRI (UK Research and Innovation), which is the main government funder of all types of innovation in the country. A lot of government money comes through their offices in Swindon. They’re our key partner and so we want to make the Festival a platform for how the UK engages and participates in its science and innovation.
What would be your advice to anyone looking to enter the Techies?
Just do it! It’s a great experience and a great community to be part of.
Have you made any new connections as a result of winning the award?
Definitely. My LinkedIn has now started to be populated by other finalists and winners. Green Machine is a great example. [Some of our work] overlaps so we are always looking for projects we can do together.
Are you using your award win in your marketing?
Yes – it’s a great stamp of approval and credibility so we have it proudly displayed on our website!
If The Business Exchange could help you share one message, what would it be?
New Elements is a connector and a platform – we are essentially here to help other people deliver their crazy ambitions. If they’re trying to do something good for society, for people or for the environment then we can help them, either through their marketing, their communications, their partnerships, their strategy or if they want to get involved in the Festival.
We also want to encourage the next generation because we’ve got a massive skills shortage in the UK and some very fast-growing sectors – such as the space sector and sustainable technology.
How can readers connect with you?
Most people find me through LinkedIn and we have a website: newelements.uk So just reach out! I’d love to hear your ideas and we’ll see what we can do to help.