This year will see AND spin up the third iteration of our flagship learning conference, now known as Horizons. In this post, we cover what Horizons is, why it matters - and some exciting developments this year.
This year, AND officially hit our 500 ANDi mark. It makes for exciting times - and also one of significant change. An event like Horizons plays a highly visible role in our calendar that enables us to bring ANDis from every club together - creating important opportunities to mix and learn, and reminding us of just how much we’ve achieved in the past year. For a rapid growth company like AND, this is a powerful way to reinforce our values as well as keep our skills sharp.
With the expansion of AND in West Yorkshire, opening Club Spärck in Halifax and the continued growth of Club Murray in Leeds, it’s a particular pleasure to be running Horizons in the heart of Leeds at the impressive Royal Armouries.
We think of Horizons like we would a digital product - something to continuously improve and iterate, so this year here’s what’s new in our latest iteration:
1. Horizons is open
Given our mission to close the world’s digital skills gap, this year marks a particularly exciting step: sharing Horizons with 100 selected external guests.
While Horizons began as a predominantly internal learning experience, for 2019 we wanted to give other organisations we work with the opportunity to join us. In this, there were two primary drivers:
- To give others a chance to experience, first-hand, AND’s deeply-rooted learning culture;
- To experiment and learn from the feedback of external guests, so that we can keep improving and evolving Horizons as AND’s flagship learning event.
This year, while it’s invite-only, it’s also entirely free - so we like to think we’ve saved our guests a penny or two on their training budgets (wink emoji inserted).
2. A wider topic
Unlike last year, Horizons 2019 is about more than technology. It’s dedicated to digital capabilities - the full gamut of skills and cross-functional expertise that it takes to build competitive advantage through software and data - today, and tomorrow.
Over 40 bespoke learning sessions will be grouped across five key learning streams:
These streams reflect AND’s core capabilities and those we help others build. A key component of the learning experience is that sessions are wholly practitioner-led, hosted in a peer-to-peer environment. What that means in practice is that all sessions have been curated or directly created by ANDis themselves, drawing upon their expertise and candidly sharing their experience and lessons learned. It’s like one big community of practice.
The programme is also designed to cater to every level. This gives individuals the chance to learn something brand new with introductory-level sessions, mixed in with deep dives for those looking to hone existing craft skills.
A very special keynote for 2019
We’re also delighted this year to welcome Dr. Sue Black OBE as our keynote address at Horizons 2019. A respected academic and computer scientist, Dr. Black is an instantly recognisable figure within the UK tech community and a prominent advocate of women in leadership.
Dr. Black will be talking about the campaign to save Bletchley Park from disrepair. Bletchley Park has a special place in our hearts at AND, being forever associated with Alan Turing after whom one of our clubs is named. It’s also a place of deep national and global significance - being critical to the Allied victory in WWII, and the birthplace of the computer.
Looking back at history might seem an odd topic for a day otherwise focused on the future, but Dr. Black’s talk reminds us that in our work today, we stand on the shoulders of giants. Our industry - like any other - has a strong heritage that shapes where we are today, and how it might evolve in the future.
This year, Horizons is set to be bigger and better than ever.