Three Key Takeaways from Venturefest Scotland 2016

Andrew Bond, Marketing Trainee at Brightsolid, blogs about his three key takeaways from Venturefest Scotland 2016.

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“On the first of September, Glasgow Science Centre was lit up with a buzz of energy and excitement as innovators and entrepreneurs alike met to exchange ideas and business cards. The conference was full to the brim with workshops and talks on the core themes of digital technology, business growth, innovation, funding and pitching.

Despite our focus on new technologies, we’re yet to build a flux capacitor and master time travel so I was only able to attend a fraction of the workshops. This blog will share with you what I learned from them.

A little bit of innovation is not enough, you must innovate every part of your business

The first keynote of the day was by a familiar face, former brightsolid CEO and games guru Chris Van Der Kuyl. Chris boldly stated that innovation is at the fastest pace it has ever been and the slowest pace it will ever be from now on. Chris drew parallels with his idol Elon Musk at Tesla, saying that you need to apply innovation to all aspects of your business and “rip up the rule book” so to speak. It could be workplace innovation, it could be technical innovation or any other kind of innovation – Chris’s message was to make sure it gets done! He encouraged businesses to always look to the future and not get caught in the short term thinking trap of solely focusing on keeping the lights on.

Here at brightsolid, our emerging technologies department are always focused on bringing new innovative technologies into our toolbox, leaving our operations team the space to focus on delivering the very best customer service. Creativity and innovation happen in other departments too. At brightsolid, we have an ideas culture, where we encourage our employees to take different approaches, to suggest ideas and to “think outside the cube”.

Your business is not an island, call on your extended network for a varied perspective

My next session mixed things up a little. The session was hosted by the Saltire Foundation and was called “pitch your problem”. SMEs were invited on stage to speak briefly about the company and a business challenge that they were having a hard time overcoming. After this pitch, the speakers would all go to separate tables and members of the audience would go into a breakout session with the business problem that interested them the most.

For our breakout with The Podcast Host founder Colin Gray, the diversity of the group was evident. From young to old, from trainees to CEOs, this diverse group gave varied perspectives on why they listen to podcasts and how they think they can get more people interested in them. One delegate admitted that podcasts gave high quality in depth content which Radio couldn’t always offer. Another person noted they allowed users to listen to incredibly niche and specific content. The group unanimously agreed that podcasts could be easily integrated into daily routines, like listening to them while commuting or at the gym. These insights will undoubtedly help Colin in future business endeavours. As the Saltire Foundation Chief Executive Sandy Kennedy says, “never underestimate the power of your networks”.

Applying design thinking to your customers can help your organisation thrive

Lucy Fraser, head of innovation for Albyn Housing Association, told an interested audience how her organisation had been applying design principles to better serve their customers. Albyn are not alone in this, service design is certainly a growing trend. Service design, put simply, is using a designer’s mindset to solve problems. It focuses less on processes and leveraging profits and more on how a customer feels when they interact with a service. It’s not just businesses that have been using service design, in Dundee, Ninewells Hospital has been involved in service design- based collaborative projects to see how they can best serve their users.

Congratulations to the organisers and the speakers of Venturefest Scotland for putting on such a great event, we’ll see you at Venturefest 2017.

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