Friday Five: The UK’s future as a digital superpower

3 min readApr 14, 2023

Zone’s Mark Sylvester handpicks and shares the five best news stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

1. The UK’s future as a digital superpower

When it comes to ambitions, they don’t come bigger than one near the top of the UK Government’s to-do list; guarantee growth and prosperity, and the UK will be put at the leading-edge of global technology.

Announcing a huge investment in tech and telecoms, the Government is on a mission to digitally connect the country, spreading 5G, improving infrastructure and funding future telecoms research such as 6G. A major aim is to help industries transform in an age of revolution for communications and ways of working.

2. Leave the basic browsing to the bots

In the evolution of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, its ability to do some of our more tedious web searches may be one we can all get on board with. And it could be just around the corner. Generative AI start-up HyperWrite has unveiled an AI agent able to navigate a pizza website, sort out addresses and make an order.

It is a breakthrough in the ongoing work of building a bot that can browse the web and interact with sites like a human. Teething issues remain, not least the fact that an AI with human-level web skills could be vulnerable to human-level errors. But it’s a big step towards trimming all our web-surfing minutes.

3. Co-op not bottling out of sustainability

As an industry-first retailer, Co-op is putting its spring water bottles at the centre of the circular economy. Partnering with recycling pioneers PolyTag, the water bottles will carry QR codes revealing details on sustainability and the firm’s commitment to environmental causes.

Meanwhile, a UV tag layer enables information to be collected at recycling centres, building a picture of current recycling patterns, and helping guide future initiatives. It is a powerful tool to put the onus on brands to take responsibility for their packaging.

4. Closing the tech gender gap

The classic view of tech as a male-dominated world might be crumbling — with help from a recent trend spearheaded by career-switching women. A report by the coding education and employment provider Code First Girls reveals a growing number of women leaving jobs across a swathe of sectors to pursue a future in tech.

Not only is this helping redress the tech gender gap, but it’s also filling crucial vacancies and bringing a rich range of new skills and life experiences to the sector.

5. Building better teams by design

We might all know that teams are more than a skill collective and that actual ‘teamwork’ is essential to success. But turning that insight into a reality can be trickier than you think, which is why Zone’s Senior Product Designer, Julia Bouverat, shares her strategic approach to building a happy and high-performing design team.

Key to Bouverat’s thinking is tools and techniques that set the team’s values and objectives, while building trust through getting to know each other’s backgrounds, hobbies, skills, strengths, and ambitions. So, let’s all put the ‘team’ into teamwork.




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