The New Physics of the Consumerverse

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If you weren’t able to get along to the inaugural DiG Festival in Newcastle, you certainly missed an amazing event. But not all is lost. The DiG Festival team are making a great number of presentationsavailable for viewing. They’ve just posted mine – and it seems they’ve nicely edited out some of the glitches I had with the slide controller. Would love your feedback – drop me a message in the comments below.

Nick Aronson – The Future of Payments @ DiG Festival

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The folks at the DiG Festival in Newcastle have started posting videos of the keynote presentations. Here, Nick Aronson from the Commonwealth Bank talks about the future of payments.


Stop Talking at Me, No one is Listening-Slides from the DiG Festival

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I have just returned (and recovered) from Newcastle’s DiG Festival. I had expected it to be an Australian SXSW and I was not disappointed.

Newcastle in NSW’s Hunter Region, turned on the weather and the charm, playing host to hundreds of festival participants, local businesses and a swarm of innovators keen to connect. The festival itself was a tightly run, but eclectic mix of topics, speakers, academic research and workshops. Sponsored by the Commonwealth Bank and with backing from the University of Newcastle, PwC and local startup accelerator, Slingshot, the festival brought together the research, business, startup and innovation communities in a unique format over two days.

There were various streams all happening at the same time – with talks in the main hall, workshops close by, networking out by the bar, and an open innovation team challenge upstairs. People were constantly weaving between the spaces – dropping into workshop sessions, popping out to network and share information, heading out for in-depth discussions over coffee or settling in for the meaty topics in the main hall. There was a real buzz and energy that was backed by some serious, high-powered speakers.

The Commonwealth Bank’s Nick Aronson got everyone fired up around the “future of payments” on day 1, and Jeff Julian rounded out the day with a jaw-dropping demonstration of his creative prowess. The day 2 keynote from Pandora’s Jane Huxley had everyone tapping their feet to the music and IBM’s Catherine Caruana-McManus dazzled at day’s end with a vision for a smarter, more sustainable cities. Topping and tailing the festival this way provided a strong focus to an inaugural event and demonstrated the way that businesses and communities are collaborating in innovative new ways.

But it wasn’t just the keynotes that showed the quality of the festival. Many of the attendees could also have presented on-stage – there were thought leaders, business and community leaders and startup entrepreneurs with dozens of ideas and projects well underway.

I presented “Stop Talking at Me. No one is Listening: The New Physics of the Consumerverse” – and had a great time in front of a great audience. I was followed by the powerhouse insight of retail guru, Nancy Georges. I believe all of the presentations were recorded and will be made available online in the near future. Be sure to check out the DiG Festival website for updates.

And in the meantime, pencil DiG Festival into your 2014 schedule. This was just the beginning, and it’s only going to get better from here.

DiG Festival – Finally a SXSW for Australia

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When the South by SouthWest (SXSW) Festival burst onto the scene in 1987, the music and media conference in Austin, Texas attracted just 700 participants. By 1992, when one of my favourite alt-country acts, Michelle Shocked keynoted (and caused all kinds of controversy), there were 3000 registrants. By 1994, film and multimedia was included in the burgeoning festival and the man in black, Johnny Cash, keynoted. Veruca Salt and Presidents of the United States of America rocked the local establishments.

By 2002 when innovation guru, Lawrence Lessig spoke on the importance of a robust public domain and explained the concept of the Creative Commons, the Interactive part of the festival had been running for five years. There were 6300 participants, over 1000 acts/presenters, and Courtney Love drew the biggest ever non-keynote audience.

In 2010, the Interactive festival attendance out-gunned the music festival – attracting over 14,000 participants. danah boyd keynoted along with Ev Williams from Twitter and the eponymous Umair Haque.

Over the last 25 years, SXSW has transformed contemporary culture’s relationship with art, music, film and interactive/digital media. The Festival has launched or reinvigorated the careers of many of the digital world’s biggest names – and SXSWi continues to be the preferred conference for launching new products and platforms – or for amplifying the presence of new technology with the most influential influencers in the digital domain. Just some of examples include:

  • Twitter – not launched, but amplified into our consciousness at SXSW 2007
  • Foursquare – the location based social network launched at SXSW in 2009 and successfully completed a funding round six months later
  • Tim Ferris – the now famous author who only works four hours a week (yeah sure) launched his book at SXSW in 2007. I bet he worked more than four hours that week.

Over the years, the festival has not just transformed the lives of entrepreneurs, the prospects of startups and many of those who attend. It has also transformed Austin too.

For years I have been surprised that no Australian equivalent has appeared.

Enter DiG Festival in Newcastle

I can recall speaking some years ago with Craig Wilson, managing director of leading digital agency Sticky, about how a “local SXSW” would  transform the local digital and startup ecosystem. But not content to sit back and wait for such a conference to magically appear, Craig who is also founder of InsiderJobs.com.au and NLYZR.com along with Steph Hinds, founder of Growthwise Accountants and Eclipse Media, Events and PR – a well-respected Exhibition and Event Management organisation have banded together to create the DiG Festival.

Focusing on design, interactive and Green-tech, the “Australasian DiG Festival and Conference will feature a series of Keynote Presentations, Panels, Performances and Workshops lead by international, national and local industry leaders. There will be a strong emphasis on innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and ethical business”.

To be held 2-5 October – it’s a great chance to immerse yourself in the world of digital thought leadership, design, innovation and startup culture. There is a strong and inspiring line-up of speakers, workshops and events – and the glorious Newcastle beaches and thriving food and cafe scene is a short walk from most of the venues. You can even experience, first hand, the amazing creativity that is part of the Renew Newcastle project which has transformed vacant city shop spaces into vital cafe, craft and art spaces across Newcastle.

And just as SXSW has become a by-word for geek-cool, DiG Festival is aiming to tread the same path. Will you be able to tell your colleagues and friends that you were there for the FIRST DiG? Clearly the Commonwealth Bank see the opportunity, having come on as a sponsor. Registration is open – I hope to see you there!

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Are You Ready to Race to the Future?

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Palm Zire - Hotsync no more!Do you remember the Palm Pilot? Billed as a “PDA” – a personal digital assistant, it was a phone with an address book, could read your writing and translate it into text and it could even do basic emailing if you worked it hard enough. In many ways it was ahead of its time.

Since that time I have had all kinds of phones – from functional mobile phones to various BlackBerry devices and iPhones. And each device has been a marked improvement on its predecessor. These devices are not just add-ons to the way we live anymore – they are part and parcel of our lives. And when we leave them behind, lose them or find ourselves out of coverage, it’s as though we have lost a limb. A really useful, vital limb.

But the most amazing thing about these devices is not the technology. It’s the changes in behaviour that have seeped into our lives driven by the technology. Think about it:

When we discover a new place for a weekend away, we …

We don’t just absorb the ambience, take a moment to write a letter or postcard to send to family and friends and open a celebratory bottle of sparkling. We check-in or claim the space on Foursquare and Facebook. We take a photo of the view, capture the latitude and longitude on our GPS and share the image via Instagram. That then gets pushed to Twitter. We make an update via social networks, take another snap of that cold glass of sparkling wine and let our friends know that we wish they were with us. Then we wait for responses – Likes, tips from other friends who have checked-in nearby and suggestions for delicious nearby takeaway. Meanwhile the sun sets (more photos, skyburn this time, you know you love it), another glass is poured and we feel warm knowing that even when we’re on the edge of civilisation that we are still connected. Sometimes, shock horror, the wifi drops out causing a moment of anguish (hashtag #firstworldproblems). But a quick router reset puts the world to right.

The thing is, that we are not only always-connected, it is almost a precondition for pleasure. Our personal compass has become gamified, socialised and part of a connected, data-driven personal empire. It’s like slide night at Aunty Pat’s – just on a grand scale. The question is how far can you go? How close can we get to the edge of a digital network. And if we step beyond, is our authentic experience real if it is not reported?

We race ever faster towards the future, but are we prepared for it? Have we thought our participation through – from an environmental, economic and ethical point of view? Have we considered the energy required to power this lifestyle? And what education do we need and what should be delivered to the coming generations? And what role does entrepreneurship play?

These “Six Es” form the theme of the Creative Innovation 2013 Asia Pacific conference. Held in Melbourne, 27-29 November, it features over 40 global leaders, innovators and thinkers. It’s your chance to join big and small business, entrepreneurs, educators, creative and government leaders,
emerging talent and leading thinkers from around the World, Asia and Australia.

Book any early bird tickets for Ci2013 before 15 September and save up to $615. And be sure to use the code E6 to secure a further 10% discount.

Palm Zire - Hotsync no more!Creative Commons License Ian Lamont via Compfight

Get Along to the ADMA Global Forum

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These days with the rapid changes in technology, new thinking in digital and social media and constant experimentation with both, every week seems to be a “big week”. But this week, the ADMA Global Forum is running – bringing marketers and technologists face to face.

There are some interesting masterclasses on branding, creativity, data/analytics and engagement strategy from some of the world’s leading marketers. There’s also a raft of local and international speakers bound to provide plenty of provocative juice to your 2014 marketing plans. Personally I am looking forward to the Ted Rubin keynote and Aden Forrest’s session on marketing automation.

There is also the “Innovation Zone” – a showcase of marketing and tech vendors, the Innovation Zone Party, breakfasts on big data and international leadership – and my favourite – Grill the Honcho – a chance for up-and-coming young marketers to get in front of CEOs, CMOs and GMs to ask the big career questions.

Let me know if you are going – it’d be great to catch up.

Vibewire’s #fastBREAK – Take Action

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On the last Friday of every month, Vibewire in partnership with the Powerhouse Museum, hosts fastBREAK. Now in its third year, fastBREAK has become an essential part of the Australian creative industries scene – providing a vital showcase for young innovators, artists, creatives and entrepreneurs. The event attracts an eclectic audience, with artists mixing with business people, ballerinas rubbing shoulders with bankers and social entrepreneurs sharing breakfast with venture capitalists and investors. And most importantly of all, it is an event that encourages cross-generational conversations – where people of all ages are inspired to network and engage, fuelled by powerful ideas, great coffee and a creative breakfast from the Black Star Pastry.


Join us for fastBREAK: Technicolour

The next event is scheduled for 26 July and will have the theme “technicolour”. It promises to be provocative and stimulating:

Since the invention of Technicolor in 1916, the world of cinema and television have been brought to life with vivid contrasts and saturated colours, infusing both life and character into the film reel and captivating the imaginations of both adults and children around the world.

By injecting their own character and perspective into real life scenarios, some have been able to bring more colour into the lives of others. Now, that same passion and imagination is being brought back to life through the efforts of this month’s fastBREAK speakers.

You can pick up your tickets here – it’s the best $10 you’ll spend in Sydney.

Adobe Symposium Sydney – Sets the Eagles Amongst the Clouds

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Over the last few years, Adobe has been quietly acquiring companies, building and extending their enterprise focused suite of products and – to some surprise – integrating and consolidating their marketing software into a powerful “marketing cloud”.

At today’s digital marketing symposium, Adobe showcased much of this hard work – with products that are focused around their four pillars:

  • Listen
  • Predict
  • Assemble
  • Deliver

They have done the hard work of consolidating the various platforms into a cohesive and comprehensive offering built around marketing roles and functions. But of course, recent acquisitions like marketing automation platform Neolane takes all this to a new level. I fully expect to see a new pillar – “automate” – being added to the pillars in the next 12-18 months.

I will look to take a deeper dive into each of the aspects of the marketing cloud, but this Storify captures the events of the conference – from presentations to case studies and demos. I even tried out Vine as a way of capturing some of the demos.

But one thing is clear in amongst all the hype of the day and the power of the presentations – Adobe’s marketing cloud takes enterprise software to a new UI level. And the promise of the integrated offerings will have traditional marketers wanting to go digital and digital marketers needing to know more about traditional approaches.

The Participatory Revolution

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As part of the Vivid Ideas Festival, innovator, Michelle Williams (founder of Ideaction) curated a knock out event designed to transform the thinking of business, creative and innovation professionals. The resulting one day conference brought together an eclectic mix of speakers, audience members and yes, active participants. If you were like me and could not make it in person, this Storify stream is the next best thing. And Michelle promises a video stream some time in the future.

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SuccessConnect – Where Talent and Social Collide at the SuccessFactors Conference

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