Disruption has always been a key part of the North’s DNA

Helen Cutting, Deloitte

By Helen Cutting – Partner, Risk Advisory at Deloitte, sponsors of Disruptors North

The North has always been a hotbed for innovation… our region was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, our ports were integral to the expansion of international trade accelerating globalisation, and we’ve continued to disrupt industries ever since.

Today, the North is home to thousands of ambitious organisations that are constantly looking to evolve and do things a bit… differently. We’re at the forefront of the tech explosion, leading the way when it comes to the development of advanced materials, such as the creation of graphene, as well as revolutionising life sciences and healthcare.

We’re fortunate to have one of the best advisory communities in Europe (I may be biased!), providing expert support to businesses at all levels. From the work of organisations like our Business Growth Hubs, at start-up and scale-up stage, to the financial support offered by our thriving private equity and venture capital networks, the region’s most exciting companies are supported and encouraged to innovate regardless of their size or sector.

Our entrepreneurs and their management teams challenge the status quo in everything they do, from the innovative ways they bring products to market, to the ways they service customers. We’re all now acutely aware that the world can change overnight, and when balanced carefully with an eye on risk, those who look to embrace disruption can thrive.

So, what’s next for disruptive innovation in the North? Looking ahead, we know that sustainability and climate change are set to play a massive role. The reduction in emissions over lockdown has certainly opened my eyes to the level of change required to make a meaningful impact on emissions. This will require a global effort in both the public and private sectors with many businesses across the North already having made ambitious commitments to reducing their carbon footprints and achieving net zero status. It opens the door to those creating new disruptive solutions, as well as those that are adapting their current processes and behaviour.

Similarly, digital transformation is everywhere. We’re more connected and tech enabled than ever and there’s no doubt that data will play a huge role in what’s to come. Those who are digitally fluent and confident to adapt to new digital risks will thrive in the new eco-system, whilst those who are not will inevitably be left behind.

It’s an exciting time to be working and living in the North and I’m looking forward to TheBusinessDesk’s Disruptors North event today, where we’ll have the chance to hear from and interact with some of the region’s most exciting disruptors.

At 9:30am until 10:15am, alongside my colleagues Jonny Sharp, who leads Deloitte’s Technology M&A across the North, and Kent Mackenzie, our Global Head of Fintech & RegTech, I will be hosting a 45-minute session on Disruptive technology brought to life. In this interactive session, we’ll hear from two of the region’s leading disruptors and unravelling what we mean by disruption.

Joining us will be Bob Brown, Group Chief Operating Officer at EMIS Group, a major provider of healthcare software, information technology and related services, as well as Pete Hanlon, Global Chief Technology Officer at customer communications specialist Moneypenny. See you there!


Deloitte is supporting Disruptors North and Disruptors Midlands, the free-to-attend virtual conferences about how technology can improve your business and our regions.

Disruptors North takes place today (Wednesday, October 20) with the Midlands event following on Wednesday, November 24. For more information, and to register for your free place, visit www.disruptorsconference.co.uk.