Digital Lancaster – 9th February

Digital Lancaster is a part of Digital Lancashire, a not-for-profit community interest company dedicated to accelerating the digital economy in Lancashire.

The launch event is a discussion group with a specially selected panel of digital business leaders and interested parties.

There will be an opening talk by Stewart Townsend, Managing Director of Digital Lancashire, followed by a talk from Susan Parsonage, the Chief Executive of Lancaster City Council.

Then all attendees will be asked to break into smaller groups to discuss the identified main challenges facing digital businesses in Lancaster and how they can be remedied. The groups will then report back to the group where the issues will be discussed with the panel and all the attendees.

Confirmed for the panel is:

  • Cat Smith MP – MP for Lancaster & Fleetwood
  • David Durnford – CEO of Lancaster based digital agency Fat Media
  • Michael Ashworth – MD & Founder of Lancaster based digital agency Nublue
  • Luke Massie – Founder of Lancaster based Vibe Tickets
  • Andrew Leeming – Senior Project Officer at Lancashire County Council and Boost Business Lancashire

The panel and discussion will be chaired by Michael Gibson, Chairman of Digital Lancashire and former MD at Fat Media.

As we’re limited in space, we’d like to open invitations to the following people who live in Lancaster or the surrounding area:

  • Business Owners of digital companies
  • Digital Professionals in non-digital companies
  • Digital Freelancers
  • Non-Digital business owners with an interest in digital

More details HERE

Events Manager

Job Overview

The Digital Lancashire team are looking for a competent Event Manager to organise, oversee and co-ordinate events that will make a positive impact to a our current members and raise our organisations profile to our target audience to build membership numbers further. 

The chosen candidate will be required on a 6 month freelance contract initially, to ensure our Digital Lancashire events are successful and cost-effective, paying attention to any budget and time constraints.

We would like to see enthusiastic candidates with fresh ideas for our Digital events – we would like to provide something different than the usual format you see in our industry for digital marketing breakfast meetings and round table events. 

Key Responsibilities

  • Plan event from start to finish according to our requirements, target audience and objectives
  • Come up with suggestions to enhance the event’s success
  • Prepare budgets 
  • Source and negotiate with suppliers (speakers, venue, catering teams etc.)
  • Coordinate all operations
  • Act as an experienced event consultant and specialist
  • Organise appropriate sponsorship for our events
  • Lead promotional activities for the event
  • Work with our designer to develop any promotional materials e.g. email marketing, eventbrite, social media graphics 
  • Supervise and provide on the day support 
  • Ensure event is completed smoothly and step up to resolve any problems that might occur
  • Analyze the event’s success and prepare reports for the management team
  • Responsible for approximately 6 events over the course of the initial contract
  • The job will be split with 80% of the time working on pre-event planning and 20% providing on the day support

Requirements

  • Proven experience as event manager
  • Skilled in project management
  • Knowledge of KPIs and marketing techniques for event management
  • Outstanding communication and negotiation ability
  • Excellent organisational skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Customer-service orientation
  • A team player with leadership skills
  • BSc/BA in PR, marketing or hospitality management

Experience

  • Minimum 4 years’ experience in a similar role at management level
  • Ability to provide case studies and testimonials of your previous work

Please get in touch for more information and how to apply.

Digital Transformation

The Death of Digital

The death of ‘digital’ is imminent, not a headline you would expect to see, however I am by no means suggesting we are regressing, but that in order to conduct business within a digital age, we should no longer be ‘doing digital’ as a siloed activity. We should just be conducting business effectively in a digital age, leveraging the technologies available to us. In order to do this, most businesses will at some stage, undergo a period of ‘digital transformation’.

Digital transformation is part of a larger technological process, and is the change associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society. However, that is the broadest description of the term, and you are more likely to hear ‘digital transformation’ with regards to business models and processes.

The digital transformation process is simply taking a current business activity or process, and striving to improve it based on technological resources that are available. Although it is not technical, it can however be difficult to see what processes need transforming, and what it is that should replace them.

Although the processes required to change will be unique to every business, we have put together a few points for consideration that may help the transition run smoothly.

 

Get input from all areas of the business.

Although a digital transformation may be spearheaded by the company’s ‘digital expert’ it should always get input from all areas of the business.

 

Senior backing.

In order for new tech savvy processes to be successful, the senior business people must back them. Not only back them, but employ them themselves. Most people within an organisation will look to the top for guidance, so the senior members must also be on board, or cultures will never change.

 

Put customers needs first.

This is possibly the most important point, as no matter what changes you champion within your business, if the customer or client doesn’t want it, it won’t work. This week saw a news story focus on Elon Musk,  Tesla’s CEO, who responded to a customer’s feedback on twitter immediately, and implemented a major change* within his business in just six days. That is an incredible response rate, and will have no doubt been an incredible boost for Tesla PR.

 

*For those interested, the change Tesla made was in relation to people using the charging points as parking spaces, therefore blocking other users from being able to charge their cars. Musk implemented a charge to cars utilising the space with a full battery after a small grace period.

 

Get the right system in place.

This can be extremely difficult. It is imperative that a change is made for the better, and the new systems in place do in fact improve the service, and don’t just use digital for the sake of using new technologies. The best platforms, software and data strategy will not be the same for everybody they will be unique to your business.

 

There are however plenty of businesses and services to help with digital transformation, if you would like help and support finding these services, then please do get in touch. Our aim is to support businesses in Lancashire with whatever challenges they may face.

 

We would love to hear from our members about their experiences with digital transformation, please get in touch with your stories, questions and comments.

Just one month to go until Prolific North Live! Pre-register for free until 10 Feb!

Join hundreds of brands, agencies and broadcasters at the biggest ever media, marketing and creative industries event to take place outside London.

Following on from the huge success of the inaugural Prolific North Live in February 2016, the expo has increased in size, moved venues and goes from a one day to a two-day event.

The who’s who of digital innovation, cutting edge marketing, branding and experiential agencies, content and engagement specialists, advertising and PR firms, leading broadcasters, TV and film production companies, printers and media suppliers will be in attendance – and as well as an essential networking opportunity – register to see what the competition are up to!

As well as hundreds of exhibitors offering invaluable insight into their businesses, Prolific North Live will also feature talks from leading brands, tech innovation demonstrations, creative workshops, collaboration areas, conference sessions and seminars designed to motivate and inspire. Take a look at our speakers here – it’s a line up not to be missed.

In addition to invaluable insights into marketing and creative industries, Prolific North Live is not to be missed for small business owners across the region. The event will be the premier networking opportunity for companies looking to meet with new suppliers and freelancers. To find out more about what’s on across the two days, visit Prolific North NOW

Free to attend, it will provide an unrivalled opportunity for businesses to meet and network with prospective suppliers, key decision makers and potential clients whilst learning about the latest industry innovations.

Prolific North Live will takes place at EventCity on Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 February 2017.

Interested in attending? Register for free NOW until 10 February 2017. All registrations after this will be charged an administration fee to attend the event.

For more information about Prolific North Live, email the PNL team at pnl@prolificnorth.co.uk or join the conversation on Twitter and follow @prolificlive

The Northern Tech 100 League Table

The first ever league table is being compiled to feature the top 100 tech companies in the North of England. The table will rank the 100 fastest growing tech companies, with rankings based on revenue growth over the past three years.

The table is being assembled by Tech North and their partners, technology investment bank GP Bullhound. For those who are not familiar with Tech North, they are part of Tech City UK, a Government initiative set up in 2014 to increase home grown tech talent and create a tech scene that rivals our overseas competitors.

To be eligible to enter, you must be a technology company with a minimum of £500,000 revenue in 2014, as well as being based in the North of the UK (Scotland included).

As there has never before been a regionalised table such as this, the final output is eagerly anticipated, and will no doubt afford the companies listed with a great deal of recognition. There is also a possibility that the table will be utilised by companies outside the sector when looking for prospective project partners.

The deadline for entries is 24 February 2017. The league table will be published on 30 March 2017 and winners will be celebrated at the Northern Tech Awards 2017 in Newcastle on the same day.

 
To enter visit Northern Tech Awards 

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

In December 2016 we saw the long anticipated, first ever UK drone delivery in the UK. The delivery was made in Cambridge on Wednesday by an Amazon drone. The future is here. However, this story is not unique. In the past few weeks, we have seen other news stories that show just how technology is changing simple interactions as part of our daily life. British Aerospace have started trials in autonomous aircraft technology, Amazon have launched their checkout free grocery stores in New York, self-driving cars are coming to UK roads and a teaching surgeon (Dr Shafi Ahmed) has livestreamed an operation using Snapchat spectacles.

Although some of the appropriateness of the technology uses is still being discussed, it is hard to deny that technology is becoming a continual game changer in all industries from consumer based travel and retail to advanced medical training.

Earlier this year, the founder of The World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab, released a book on the subject of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. He believes that we currently stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another.

He states that: In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before.”

Like the revolutions that preceded it, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world.

The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production. The Second used electric power to create mass production. The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production. Now a Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. It is characterised by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.

Digital fabrication technologies, meanwhile, are interacting with the biological world on a daily basis. Engineers, designers, and architects are pioneering and making advances in the relationships between technology, the products we consume, and even the buildings we inhabit.

There are many organisations in Lancashire, that are already taking part in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and perhaps more so than the more talked about city centre agencies, as the really exciting technology is coming from a manufacturing background. This is where the innovative technology is happening, from fabrics with sensors in to provide healthcare data to automated flights, it is all taking place in our county.
Is your business contributing to this new revolution? Please get in touch, we would like to hear more.

Ethics and Governance in Artificial Intelligence (AI)

 

LinkedIn and eBay founders Reid Hoffman and Pierre Omidyar donate $10m each to the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund.

As technological advances are made, artificial intelligence is becoming a more prominent attribute of technology, it is interesting to see that two major tech giants are investing funds into the governance of such emerging technology.

The $20 million will go to the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund, which will distribute money to researchers working on the tough ethical problems raised by AI.

LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman says; “There’s an urgency to ensure that AI benefits society and minimises harm,” said Hoffman. “AI decision-making can influence many aspects of our world – education, transportation, health care, criminal justice and the economy – yet data and code behind those decisions can be largely invisible.”

The fund is one of many new bodies aimed at shaping the future of AI in a positive, or at least, thoughtful direction.

We would like to hear what you think? Do you work with AI?

Get in touch