Speaker Interview: Gail Eastaugh

Head of Innovation for Cornwall Development Company Gail Eastaugh talks Venturefest South West 2019. Gail will be taking part in the Space panel, sponsored by AeroSpace Cornwall.

1. Why is Venturefest SW important to the region?
Promoting cutting edge innovation and technology is essential for the continued growth in the Space sector in Cornwall and the UK as a whole. Venturefest SW brings together innovators and investors in Advanced Engineering, Artificial Intelligence and Big Data to share ideas across the South West. As such it provides a forum for businesses in the region to tell each other, the rest of the UK and the world what they have to offer.

2. Why are you supporting Venturefest SW?
The space industry is extremely exciting, but it is not all about rockets and satellites. The data from satellites is really important to technology businesses, whether it be used in high tech farm machinery, mining surveys or leisure fitness apps. The UK Space Agency has a huge target to grow the sector to £40bn per annum by 2030 and we are here to make sure the South West plays an important role in this ambition.

3. What three pieces of advice would you give to a technology innovator?
• Change perspective – think of the exact opposite of what you’re developing, then go and spend time with the people developing that thing. You’d be surprised how this will help change your perspective and may inspire you to think differently about your technology.
• Experiment – take yourself back to being 12 at school and devise some experiments to test how far you can stretch your technology. What would happen if it was 10 times bigger, used by toddlers or there was only a year to go before the end of the world?
• Ask your customers, or your potential customers what the technology could / would do for them and listen to the emotional answers. A technology that saves money is all well and good, but one that saves the lives of your children, enables you to wake up feeling refreshed after a good night’s sleep or allows you to spend the time and money you’ve saved with friends and family may be more compelling.
4. What’s the most exciting piece of tech you have come across in the region?
There is so much happening in the space sector, high bandwidth switching solutions for satellites from Flann Microwave, remote sensing solutions for the mining sector, and the tech companies coming out of the Falmouth Launchpad business incubator programme. However the work that Goonhilly Earth Station are doing using their Deep Space Network for communications with the Moon, Mars and beyond has to be my favourite.

5. What tech do you think will have the biggest impact on the region in the future?
The launch of small satellites from Spaceport Cornwall by Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit in 2021 is already attracting large businesses to the South West who previously wouldn’t have considered working in the region. School students, the next generation of engineers and entrepreneurs, are inspired and excited to know that they will be able to work and be successful in such a high tech sector in the South West.