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Innovate UK

The power of events in the digital age

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The digital revolution is here

There’s no doubt that we are in the midst of a digital revolution.  The ability to communicate digitally in real time, and share information through social media, has been transformational.  It’s a truly democratic revolution that’s engaged everyone in my family from the ‘digital native’ teenage daughter for whom Snapchat and Instagram are second nature, to my ‘silver surfer‘ Mum who Skypes her Granddaughter in Australia every weekend.

Live life like it’s 1993

But the ever-increasing use of technology doesn’t mean we have fundamentally changed as social creatures.  I saw a great billboard outside a café on my way to the office this morning that read “No Wi-Fi – Talk to each other!”

The fact is, even its greatest evangelists recognise that technology has limitations. It can’t supplant or suppress the basic need to congregate, look someone in the eye and shake hands on a deal.

Events have never been more essential

We still travel from all over to get together in large numbers.  Large conferences and exhibitions are as relevant as ever in the digital age, and are learning from the digital revolution to ensure that they are current, creative and collaborative like never before.

Bringing exceptional people together

Conferences and exhibitions work best by bringing people and ideas together to turn the promise of opportunity into a reality. Because we live in a physical world, events reach through the screen and bring exceptional people together in the same space.  The best events make it look easy and doing it well means a lot of hard work, but when you stand back and see the deals and collaborations being formed at a live event it’s worth it.

Take three events coming up shortly.  Innovate 2015, Future Decoded and Wired2015 are significant events, but what do they mean for people attending them?

More than just a curious bystander

Innovators such as Joyeeta Das, Founder & CEO of Gyana, who is attending Innovate 2015, leads a company that is doing incredibly cool things including measuring the moods of crowds and perceptualising data.  She says that at events “you are not just a curious bystander. I know something about the value of human interaction, we can tell from the data it produces stronger sentiment”.

Great minds come together

Live events are an amazing opportunity to learn first hand from some of the world’s greatest thought leaders.  The Future Decoded event boasts Baroness Martha Lane Fox, Co-Founder of, Lord Coe, President of the IAAF and Richard Reed, Co-Founder of Innocent Drinks amongst a stellar line up.   Where else could you hear speakers of this calibre?

Exploring ideas with other speakers

Carlo Ratti, a speaker at Wired2015, said he’s looking forward to “exploring, together with other speakers, some of the most exciting frontiers of our time. In particular, the frontiers between the physical, digital and – increasingly – the biological world.” Where else is it possible to do that than at an event that sets out to breed ideas?

Let’s get down to business

Technology is an enabler for business, but let’s not forget the humanity. Events and meetings are the crucible where the relationships are forged.  So let’s sit down together and talk.

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