10 Must-See Presentations at the DiG Festival

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Last year’s DiG Festival was one of the best conferences of the year. The DiG founders had worked hard to secure sponsors, speakers and workshop hosts – but in its first year there was a sense of uncertainty. In reality, the vibe, energy and focus proved well worth the 90 minute drive to Newcastle to attend. Not only were the speakers world class – the topics were compelling, the workshops oversubscribed and the venue was brilliant for networking, chatting, and exploring topics one-on-one.

If you have not yet secured your ticket, there is still time to do so. But if you have registered, you’ll know there is plenty to see and engage with – not just on digital topics, but a feast of health related topics too. But these 10 presentations are ones you’ll not want to miss. Look for me in the audience!

  1. Zac Zavos, Conversant Media – How to build and shape audiences to increase online traffic
  2. Ian Farmer, Zuni – Digital advertising trends
  3. Rob Innes, Xero – Platform innovation for the connected small business owner
  4. Panel: The Future of Retail
  5. Con Georgiou, One Million Acts of Innovation – How culture eats strategy for breakfast
  6. Trent Bagnall, Slingshot – How corporate Australia can utilise the tools of the start-up community for disruptive innovation
  7. Workshop: Jordan Kind, Vend – Transforming your retail business with technology
  8. Workshop: Nancy Georges – Customer Service in the Age of “ME”
  9. Workshop: General Assembly – Launch your own website in 90 minutes
  10. Workshop: Kim Chatterjee & May Chan, Optimal Experience / PwC – How to Create a Winning Pitch

See the full program
One and Two Day tickets now available.

Must-See Sessions at Social Media Week, Sydney

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Social Media Week, Sydney is just around the corner. It is the first time that the event has been run in Australia but the organising team, Simon Micarone, David Wesson and Will Ockenden have high hopes for it becoming a regular feature on the Australian conference landscape.

Running all week, from 22 September through to 26 September, there are a great range of sessions, keynotes and master classes to participate in. But if you are like me, you may need to ration yourself in an effort to learn but also continue delivering for clients. With this in mind, I have selected some of the must-see sessions and master classes that will impact not just the way that you think, but the way you carry on the business of social media.

Monday, 22 September:

Tuesday, 23 September:

 

Wednesday, 24 September:

Thursday, 25 September:

Friday, 26 September:

  • Keynote – Under the Digital Bridge (Venessa Paech). This will be awesome – especially for those of us who deal with trolls, ranters, ravers and other monsters in our audiences.
  • Living in the Culture of Participation (Panel). Want to know what it takes to make effective change? This panel will blow your mind. You have been warned.
  • Stay for the day. Ok – you may as well block out the whole day. There are some awesome sessions that you’ll want to immerse yourself in. And anyway, it’s Friday.

Challenges Facing the Digital Economy #SMWsyd

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As part of the planning and advisory work that I am doing with Social Media Week, Sydney, we took a few moments out recently to share our thinking on the challenges that are facing Australia’s digital economy. This video captures the hot topics according to Tiphereth Gloria, Joanne Jacobs, Katie Chatfield, Ross Dawson, Jeff Bullas and myself.

It’s shaping up to be an excellent conference. Hope you can make it.

The Twitter Mirror Reveals All at Vibewire fastBREAK

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This Sunday, 25 May, as part of Vivid Sydney, Vibewire and the Powerhouse Museum will be hosting the biggest and boldest fastBREAK event ever. From 10:30am, you will be treated to a barrage of ideas and topics from 10 great speakers. There will be a band as well as breakfast. And for those who are fascinated by technology and social media, there will be an additional special guest – the Twitter Mirror.

Capturing all the behind the scenes action, the official Twitter Mirror allows the fastBREAK speakers to take a quick selfie or short format video Vine before and after taking the stage. These intimate shots will be pumped out through the fastBREAK hashtag and @vibewire Twitter account.

It’s yet another way to bring a different view of innovation – all thanks to the folks at Twitter Australia.

Remember to book your tickets before they are sold out.

Young people put their mark on the future at Vivid Sydney

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On the last Friday of every month, Vibewire in conjunction with The Powerhouse Museum, host fastBREAK, a rapid fire event showcasing young innovators. Starting at 8am, five speakers are given five minutes to tell the story of their innovation – and why it chose them (or why they chose it). But this month the format has changed. It’s bigger and bolder. And it’s on this Sunday as part of Vivid Sydney.

With the theme SAVE THE WORLD, this fastBREAK will feature 5-minute talks by:

  • Senator Scott Ludlam, outspoken Greens Senator for WA
  • Tom Tilley, triple j’s Hack’s man about town
  • Jess Scully, the creative powerhouse behind Sydney’s Vivid Ideas festival
  • Urthboy, music innovator, entrepreneur and performer
  • Dan Ilic, comedian and driving force behind A Rational Fear
  • Ella Weisbrot, social justice and climate change campaigner with AYCC
  • Alex Greenwich, the independent Member of Parliament for Sydney

vw-fastbreal Jess Scully, festival director of Vivid Ideas and returning fastBREAK headliner said, “Creative people can – and will – save the world. We’ve got the skills, the passion, the radical point of view. When you empower young, creative people to use those skills they’re pretty much unstoppable – because they bring the vital elements of energy and optimism to the mix.”

Since launching in 2010, fastBREAK’s five minute format has showcased over a hundred creative changemakers and provided the inspiration for many more.

At fastBREAK – Save the World – in addition to the speakers, there are also two workshops and a band. And the world famous (ok, locally famous) breakfast courtesy of Black Star Pastry, and visual installations and storytelling courtesy of Sydney Digital Publishing (SDP).

When: Sunday 25 May, 10.30am – 12.30pm

Where: Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris Street, Ultimo, 2007

Tickets: vibewire.org/events/save-the-world

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!

HoleCreative Commons License outwithmycamera via Compfight

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