Lou Cordwell has a spring in her step.
The merger between magneticNorth and Fluxx, which was first announced last year, has just been finalised with the new brand being called Magnetic.
Cordwell’s new role is Chief Creative Officer and she spoke of creating an ‘innovation powerhouse’ when news of the merger was first announced.
“MagneticNorth was focused on design, digital design, digital products and service design and worked with people like the BBC and Google and lots of other amazing digital organisations,” she told TechBlast.
“Fluxx’s heritage is in innovation and design. Those two things coming together to build the design and innovation business at a moment in time when that’s quite an important agenda item for UK businesses has been really exciting.”
Cordwell is also the chair of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership and said innovation was the watch word going forward.
“Innovation as we see it is recognising the opportunity that’s in front of you,” she explained. “This is often about understanding customers and people and the people who are going to buy your goods and services and redesigning yourself to be relevant to that opportunity.
“That might be digitising something, that might be completely rethinking your employer brand so that you’re relevant to the talent challenges that we’ve got at the moment.
“It might be rethinking your sustainability agenda, but it’s always about that kind of reimagination, that moment of change that you capitalise on to make sure that your business survives and thrives whatever comes next.”
In a far-reaching interview Cordwell spoke about the ongoing impact of the pandemic, the impending cost of living crisis and why the fight to set more women into senior tech roles has never been more important.
“In business you tend to have a five-year North Star vision,” she said. “It’s somewhere where you want to be. What the last two years have taught us during the pandemic is you genuinely can’t predict some of the challenges that come.
“I think what we’ve learned is that the strongest cultures have that ability to flex and change in the moment and react both to opportunity and to threat and to be quite tactical, but all the time keeping your eye on that North Star.
“I think we’re seeing that behaviour a lot in our clients, in our own organisation and just that challenge to be nimble and together.
“We’re hiring in very smart people to help us with our own people experience, with our own mental wellbeing of our own staff, with our own comms and marketing.
“What we’ve learned as a business is you’ve got to invest as we would advise our clients to. You’ve got to invest in that capability and that capacity yourself.”
Cordwell said the pandemic has made it even harder to get more women into senior roles in tech.
“Statistically women carry a disproportionate share of the burden,” she explained. “Trying to not be in a position where we go backwards, instead of forwards, given we still had an awful long way to go to get to parity is ridiculously important.”
Cordwell said a cost of living crisis so soon after the pandemic was a double whammy.
“The reality is people are really tired,” she said. “They’ve had a really draining couple of years with personal and work challenges. Now they’ve got a whole wave of economic uncertainty that’s still got to play out.”
Despite the challenges the tech veteran said she was ‘super, super excited’ about the future.
“I definitely feel like we’ve been laying the foundations and almost putting some of the pieces in place to get to this moment in time where we can drive some of this now,” she said.
“I am always optimistic but I do think we’ve been quite strategic. We spent a lot of time readying ourselves for this next phase. I’m always massively passionate about Manchester and feel genuinely privileged to have been around it for so long and survived running a business.
“Every time you do a business event you’re just struck by how committed people are to the city and the city region and how many people love the place.”