The recent warning from the UK\u2019s Royal College of Engineering, which said that the number of maths, science and engineering graduates must increase by 50 per cent to avoid the country plunging further down the innovation league tables, is the latest in a host of alarms that have been raised over our ability to produce the talent needed to fuel our post?manufacturing economy.\nThe STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, maths) have been in steady decline.\nA Lords Select Committee report published this summer showed how the number of engineering graduates fell by three\u00a0per\u00a0cent between 2003 and 2010, and the number of computer scientist graduates dropped by 27\u00a0per\u00a0cent.\nMeanwhile more vocationally-focused and trendier courses have been rising: in the same period, the number of sports science graduates, for example, has doubled.\nThe idea flouted last week of an X\u00a0Factor for the tech world, fronted by Simon Cowell and Will.i.am, is a scary prospect.\n\u201cComparative genomic hybrid microarrays are so in right now and those shoes are doooope\u2026\u201d.\nBut, it does go to show that a certain type of tech is getting cool. Just think of the Apple revolution, Justin Timberlake relaunching MySpace and some social site that Marky Z runs\u2026\nThe problem with trendy technology is that the best mathematicians, the leading biologists and world-class physicians are not what you\u2019d call cool.\nYou won\u2019t catch them sipping cocktails and they probably aren\u2019t on Twitter.\nYou are more likely to find them buying a ready-made tikka masala at Tesco on a Friday night before heading back to the lab, than handing out business cards at networking drinks before taking a trip up Kilimanjaro.\nI took the route of enterprise software to bring technology that is fundamentally different, innovative and new to the marketplace.\nWe were a small, nerdy team, convinced that our product could change the technology world, but we knew nothing about business.\nAt the time, it was a big drawback. The financial world was intimating, we didn\u2019t know the lingo, and there was a mountain of risks and practical assessments that told us that it wouldn\u2019t work.\nToday, I can see that that naivety was critical to our success.\n\nOf course, I had to go on a crash course about debt ratios and net present values, but my basis and driving vision came from maths and sciences not economics or business studies.\nIt is sad to see that the shackles of financial modelling and economic theories often end up strangling fledging innovation rather than complementing it.\nIt is even more depressing to see that the education I was lucky enough to receive in maths and sciences is nowhere near a given for the majority of children in this country.\nThe Institute of Physics recently reported that 49 per cent of all state schools in England do not even send one girl on to do physics at A-level.\nThese figures should shock us into urgent action. While measures are being taken, the importance of the sciences, and physics is particularly important for the technology world, is not high enough up in the public consciousness.\nScience and maths represent a core toolkit that kids with something to prove need in order to go out, get ahead and compete.\nScience challenged me and opened my mind to what was possible. It showed me not how things should be, but why things are as they are and how they have the potential to change.\nThere has been recent commentary on how technical CIOs really need to be.\nGartner reports that 25 per cent of CIOs now come from a non-technical background; CIOs, we are told, are moving from technicians to tacticians that are key in shaping company strategy.\nThe debate seems misguided. The reason that 75 per cent of CIOs are technical is because you understand your field of information technology in detail and as such can take strategic decisions for your business accordingly.\nIt\u2019s not an either, or.\nCore competencies such as science and maths, just like English and the arts, represent the academic foundation of our society, not a nice-to-have; in human hands, their potential applications are endless.\nThe UK technology scene desperately needs to have such core technical subjects restored to visible, attractive and accessible position in the media as well as on the curriculum.\nThe current shakiness of the economy and our concern about the future could be just the catalyst that is needed for tomorrow\u2019s bright young things with something to prove, and that would be pretty cool.