Going Back to My Early 90s Modelling Career


When retirement comes, when you have time on your hands and want to give something back with some relevant skills and experience, be careful who you speak to on LinkedIn!

It’s been a while, but a few of you reading this will no doubt remember me from my British Coal, Hoskyns, Capgemini days. Others may recall my time on the LASEORS committee (sorry Sandra) or my presentations at YOR/ORConf in Exeter, York or Canterbury in the mid-90s. Or maybe my time working with DoH, DSS (DWP) or ECGD as a consultant. Well, 25 years with Capgemini have flown by, providing a varied and exciting career. It was a chance conversation with Gavin at The OR Society which caused me to wonder whether my experience, latterly as Group Marketing Director, could be of value to The OR Society, an organisation which helped me immensely in my transfer from Mining Engineering to a career in OR and Analytics in 1992 – with a little help from Jonathan Rosenhead and his team at LSE!

Well, I am now 7 months into the Events Committee Chair and Board positions and I have to say it has been an interesting introduction into the workings of the society, understanding its membership and the importance of events and training in that context. The handover from Ruth Kaufman was excellent and the committee members and Board have all made me feel very welcome and I am pleased to say, despite the uncertainty in the current economic climate, the events we have run to date have on the whole been successful. The quality of our speakers and the feedback from attendees is very positive, but attendance is down on previous years, with people being very selective about which “one event to attend this year”. We are in a very competitive market and, as the OR footprint cuts across a diverse group of subject areas and associated professional bodies, we have to remain vigilant to ensure what we are offering is what our members and prospective members want. One recent innovation is The OR Society App. We are looking to develop this platform further to enhance the member experience. It’s interesting that 72% of UK associations don’t yet have an app and of those that do only 19% are event-specific. We need to capitalise on our investment and use it to engage with delegates, before, during and most importantly after attendance. 

The society has increased investment in a Marketing and Communications team, with whom the Events Committee are working very closely. For each event we create a MarComms brief that ensures we are targeting the audience through the right channels in a timely manner, with the key messages and a clear call to action. This has initially been trialled and focussed on the flagship events in our calendar (New to OR, Analytics Summit and OR61). We will, however, be using similar approaches for all our events in the future. This approach will be further improved as we conduct research across our membership and target audience; through panels to obtain regular feedback, through the App and by listening to opinions directly shared at events. Anyone with ideas about this or other communications related matters should contact Geraldine Davis, Head of Marketing and Comms at the society.

Bob Scott, Events Committee

“One recent innovation is The OR Society App… It’s interesting that
72% of UK associations don’t yet have an App… We need to capitalise on our investment and use it to engage with delegates”

I have already had the opportunity to meet with the Chairs of the Regional Societies and the SIGs. There are some great ideas for engaging with our members and in the case of the SIGs, we are encouraging them to participate and meet at the upcoming OR61 conference in Canterbury. I know our co-chairs, Kathy and Said, have been in contact with the SIG committees to further enhance what is already scheduled to be another great annual conference. I would like to spend more time with the regional teams. There is a real opportunity to build stronger relationships with businesses and organisations in the regions and to further the understanding of how OR can make an impact.

I have also taken the opportunity to participate in a number of OR in Schools activities, organised by Evelyn Hardy. Since my daughters are now 25 and 23, the opportunity to play with Lego does not come around that often anymore. We used Lego in a Supply Chain Simulation game as consultants for organisations such as Glaxo SmithKline back in the late 90s. Therefore, when I saw the Tables and Chairs Optimisation Model, I was in my element and fortunately the children, their teachers and parents loved it too! I would encourage anyone reading this who would like to engage within their local community to contact the society, who are always looking for volunteers.

The highlight so far for me, has been the New To OR event which took place at Aston University in April. I worked very closely with Hilary and the organising committee and they are to be commended for a job very well done. The content was of an extremely high standard and had something for everyone, myself included. Not just meeting up with former Hoskyns colleague Paul Harper, or Frances Sneddon, or Tony O'Connor, all of whom gave up time to present as Plenary Speakers alongside Nira Chamberlain, whom I met for the first time. But the pleasure of meeting the next generation of OR and analytics professionals at an event that I first participated in many, many years ago. Since leaving Capgemini, I have been working with a large number of start-up and scale-up companies, many in the AI, Big Data /Analytics space as a mentor, pro bono. The energy and enthusiasm, the intellectual challenge, the burning ambition to be the best at what they do. There were clear parallels, the same buzz and a supportive atmosphere of people on the start of a journey. Thank you to all the participants, to their employers and university departments for sponsoring their attendance – long may it continue. For the rest of this year and next, we are already well advanced in planning for events such as the Blackett & Beale Lectures. My focus is understandably on delivering another successful Annual Conference – OR61 – so I encourage you all to attend and wish you an enjoyable and rewarding time. See you in Canterbury in September.