MARK PROBERT, DIGITAL STRATEGY DIRECTOR, NEWICON
Not following a typical career path, Mark left school at 16 to work at a Design Consultancy in Cheltenham. Then, during a gap year in Australia in 2001, Mark worked at a leading Creative Agency in Melbourne, where he undertook projects for clients such as Adidas and the Australian Formula-1, Grand Prix.
In 2002, and back in the UK, Mark founded a Design Consultancy to work with companies such as Dyson, Dolby and Zurich. As digital evolved, Mark teamed with Steve O’Brien and Neill Jones and formed a partnership with Newicon; later becoming a Director as the businesses merged in 2014. Mark, Steve and Neill recognised early on, before UX was a thing, that a design-led approach would result in better user experience and leaner business process. Their exciting journey continues as Newicon move into digital products of their own… exciting times are ahead!
INNOVATION HAPPENS WHEN IDEAS ARE SHARED, CLEARLY COMMUNICATED AND ARE VISUALLY EXPLAINED. DESIGN THINKING IS KEY IF WE WANT TO INNOVATE AT PACE.
At Newicon we don’t like to follow the crowd, we’re forging our own path; creating our very own ‘New Tomorrow’; which is our company mantra. For us the future is exciting and technology presents us with boundless opportunities to improve the world we live in and shape it for the better.
Our clients are making a real difference with innovative and disruptive solutions to real problems. We help develop their ideas into design prototypes at pace, so startups can seek investment, launch online products and scale-up. We’ve helped award-winning startups through to enterprise organisations, such as Airbus, solve design-led technological challenges.
I am personally passionate about helping startups achieve their vision, but aside from that, one area which makes Bristol such an exciting place to work is having a creative sector nestled between the aerospace and engineering powerhouses. You would be hard pushed to find another city in the world where a leading creative and engineering sector resides next door to one another as they do here in Bristol. For me, this represents exciting possibilities, not just for Newicon, but also for the region’s startups and specialist digital SMEs to contribute as we enter the fourth industrial revolution, where Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, open data collaboration and agile methodologies come to the fore.
We have already developed a number of Augmented Reality solutions for aerospace using web technology, and hope to utilise our agile, design-led approach, to help these organisations think user, before technology, in order to truly transform processes and operations using new digital technology.
Another thing that’s close to my heart is open innovation. The number of large organisations working on solving the same problems brings competition, but also creates waste. It is no surprise that during World War II, great innovations such as Radar were created at breakneck speeds, through open collaboration between great minds. It’s concerning, given the rate of climate change, that open innovation – especially between large organisations in aerospace and manufacturing – isn’t enabling knowledge-share at the rate the planet needs.
Of course, innovation requires great minds. I’m passionate about transforming education to facilitate the digital revolution. Our current academic approach isn’t working. We need the designers and engineers of tomorrow to solve the skills gap in order to allow innovation to flourish. We need to consider alternative paths, like I did when I left school at 16. Newicon is currently exploring opportunities with a number of universities so we can play our part in shaping the workforces of tomorrow. Stay tuned; ‘New Tomorrow’ starts here!