Hosted at in Cardiff on March 22nd KTN's Transfer Conference offered a mix of talks, demos and informal networking featuring a wide range of leading digital practitioners showcasing innovation in digital, creative, IP creation, digital product development. A key aim of the event was to explore how digital agencies and start ups can can build innovative digital products and services. Thanks to Samantha Wheeler for this summary of the day's proceedings.
In London where till recently I have been working for the last 10 years, you can attend a networking event every night of the week if you wanted to - the majority are free and serve nibbles, bonus!
For me networking is so important, I enjoy it, but I also see the benefits and importance of it too. Building and bringing together communities - sharing, collaborating, being in a supportive environment. It opens so many doors - be open to those opening doors!
I attended a recent networking event held at Chapter Arts Centre on 22nd March hosted by the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN).
The purpose of the event was to:
“Connect Wales to other digital centres such as London”, commented Mark Johnson, a KTN Knowledge Transfer Manager. “Wales is a great place for innovating, we're a small but well connected part of the world and that gives us a great advantage in being able try out new approaches to digital that can be turned into models that scale.”
Harri Mansikkamäki, MD of Lead In, opened the event as part of the Creative Mornings sessions - if you haven’t heard about Creative Mornings you must check them out, lots of inspiring talks and communities active around the world to engage with.
Harri set the tone for the day by exploring what does ‘Change’ mean to you, to your business?
“Embrace change - see it as a positive, seek opportunity.”
Digitalisation is one big change affecting us all - what part do humans play? Julian Hirst, a member of the digital community BIMA, encouraged us to be a part of it - don’t ignore it. Involvement is required to embed change - we have to keep people engaged.
“Forget better, faster, cheaper - do it properly."
Something I think we can all relate to at times is that we live in a busy world - it is often hard to get your views across, it can be overwhelming. So understand why you matter and make an impact.
Continuing on with the theme that we are living in a rapidly changing digital focused world, Yates Buckley from UNIT9 shared his world of Virtual Reality (VR), the developments and benefits it is having on people and society.
“Allow your business to continually redefine itself.”
Dominic Campbell from FutureGov spoke with honesty and such caring. It came from his experiences of working with the Government and the working society - at this point in the day it was clear similar themes which were beginning to emerge.
Dominic commented that the focus should be on understanding the user (the people part) and the ‘tech’ (the digital enhancement) in conjunction. We need to own disruption, we need to be the change, he urged. It is the Government’s job to support working society - help people understand the benefits of digital.
“Having a Government that understands digital and startups is crucial so those making a positive disruption, like those present at #TransferConf, can be more effective and have a bigger impact.”
The giggles kicked in when Pete Trainor, Founding Partner & Director of Human Centred Design at NexusCX, took to the stage declaring, digital is weird.
"We are behaving in a digital world NOT digitalising behaviour...Tech should be an invisible experience - not get in the way of people's lives but enhance them."
Research shared by Pete, shows that people want to be challenged, they want to learn, want to feel connected to others and have a sense of belonging - so ensure to continually review your company's purpose and support human needs. A true entrepreneur, his parting wise words to us all were:
“Take a leap of faith - do your own thing, don’t be discouraged.”
Keeping with the theme of values and purpose, Carlos Saba, Co-Founder of Happy StartUp School from Brighton, who run retreats and hubs bursting with creativity, stated:
“Make happiness your business model.”
Bringing it back to South Wales, Tom Gallard, founder of Pwinty- the photo printing API , shared his experience and learnings from setting up and running his own company in Cardiff finishing with a conclusion spoken with true heart:
“Do it your own way - keep pushing yourself - be on the edge of your comfort zone.”
Some exciting news to end the event came from Jason Smith, Co-Founder and CEO of Blurrt, which was originally founded in Cardiff. Blurrt secured a breakthrough in funding, partnering Seedr and Finance Wales. Hopefully this will go on open doors for more Wales based business to access funding. Read more about the exciting news here.
A trend among startups, and one that Blurrt have been championing is focusing on company culture - having no specific rules which in turn empowers your team, put trust in them. Jason also talked about how Blurrt regularly open their doors to apprenticeships and work experience opportunities. This was music to my ears as I am a big advocate of alternative learning options over formal educational routes, we all have a part to play in bridging the gap for young people.
Julian Blake from Tech City Insider popped together some interviews with the speaker. Tech City Insider recently launched TechCities, shining the light on the leading cities making waves outside of London’s tech hub. Cardiff is named as one of the top 20 - and this event told the story of why Cardiff deserves to be on that list.
The day was about sharing experiences -
“Providing a platform to some of the really great digital businesses and startups from Wales and to really showcase some of the great things that are happening down here...” - Mark Johnson, KTN.
Other great digital businesses and startups that shared their journeys included:
Sam Goudie - doopoll, Miranda Bishop - Re:program, Simon Brindle -Nesta y Lab, PDR, YelloBrick, Bluegg.
Big thanks to Mark and the team at KTN for bringing everyone together.
The original version of this blog was published by Samantha Wheeler on LinkedIn.