Talking about the balance between Art and Science in marketing is a bit like the perennial nature vs. nurture argument. The discussion rumbles on – It’s all about ideas. No! It’s about evidence… but there is no single, simple proof which can settle the thing. It’s chicken and egg.
At the moment, the power is shifting towards science. Every year, technology provides access to more data and processing power, bringing analytical, accounting skills into greater prominence. The title ‘Data Scientist’ is in vogue.
Data analysis should be ‘scientific’, but labelling its practitioners as scientists is something like over-claim.
We have been working for the past year with Harwell, the UK’s largest Big Science campus, where significant academic research into nano-technology, space exploration, particle physics, genetics and many other areas is happening every day.
This is proper science. Not (warning, impending prejudice alert) hipster coders with fixies and fair-isle sweaters cutting and pasting html somewhere near Old Street.
The serious academic science research at Harwell matters. It matters for the economy and more broadly for society. According to the World Bank’s latest figures (for 2013) the UK has the 18th highest rate of GDP (1.72%) invested in research and development, but the 3rd largest economic contribution from IP (receipts from charges for the use of intellectual property), of nearly $13 billion behind the USA and Japan.
That’s wealth, but health is also a big part of the Harwell and UK scientific research story. At Harwell, phenotyping research at MRC is taking us towards a detailed understanding of our individual disease susceptibility, a potentially revolutionary development in healthcare.
British science is a compelling story and a vital economic contributor, so why does Harwell need Corke Wallis’s help? Because Harwell is not as famous as it should be. There’s a job to be done branding science.
This lack of fame is a problem, because academic science needs to work more closely with industry and private capital. Government cannot afford to fund science unaided – at least not in Europe or the USA.
So industrial tenants must be attracted to Harwell to bring a new, more modern balance to the site, where academic research, entrepreneurial science-based start-ups and industrial R&D can thrive synergistically. This mix will be attractive to both Venture and Government capital.
Our new identity for Harwell is a step towards this transformation.
1. Economic Times, “Data scientist among the sexiest jobs of the century”