I’m used to going to conferences in pubs and basements; where Power Point rules the day and you’re lucky if there is a toilet, yet alone lunch. Yesterday I lived the high life, going along to Nesta’s Innovation Edge conference at the Royal Festival Hall. Oh it was posh. There were free croissants and a choice of organic teas! Not one single speaker used PowerPoint!
The whole day was about innovation in technology as an aid to communities. Not online communities mind, actual real life ones. That confused me a little. People told us about banking projects in Africa, new types of doorhandles that stop kids from getting their hands stuck (an injury that apparently costs the NHS £200 million in hospital visits each year), and even people who grow mint. I’m not sure who they were helping.
Bob Geldof spoke for half an hour – he’s more intelligent than he looks. He was shockingly eloquent. I’d spent an entire day with him as his escort when I worked at MTV, he spent the entire time taking the piss out of my choice of outfit. I liked him better yesterday.
Gordon Brown popped along for ten minutes. He apparently gave the exact same speech that he’d given to Google the day before. How nice of him.
Michael Birch from Bebo talked too, as did Sir Tim Berners-Lee – that man is really rather dishy. Though no one else seems to agree with me on that.
Lots of the conference was just motivational piffle, little more than cheerleading, but I did come out of it with a few ideas. I want to be working on more CSR projects – so I’m going to spend the next few months looking at the CSR work that our clients do and where we can help with them. This might be from a simple visibility and marketing angle (setting up blogs, flickr accounts etc) or from a hardware/software angle (what do we have that we can offer projects or communities?).
I sent an email round work about fifteen mins ago telling people about the conference and got a reply from Dare Labs two mins later saying they’re already working on exactly this kind of thing and asking I if wanted to get involved! Hurrah!