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BIMA Conference: The 8 lessons we learned on the day...

18 Oct 2019

Posted by Rachel Johnson

1. Lessons from The Future Our Past

Taking her lead from the theme of BIMA’s first conference, the CEO of Microsoft UK chose to examine the future through the lens of Microsoft’s past.

Lessons learned:

 - By 2012, Microsoft had lost its way: “We viewed the world through the success of our past and we failed to notice the world changing around us”

- Rejuvenation came by focusing on culture and capability as the key to unlocking opportunity

-  If you’re not in martech you’re limiting your growth potential

- ‘Tech intensity’ offers an opportunity to deliver better value by enabling agencies to insert themselves into the flow of a client’s digital transformation

Three essentials:

1. Skill up

2. Make diversity and inclusion real

3, Embrace partnership


2. Tech, Democracy & The Battle for Humanity

So what’s going on with tech, society and politics? Jamie Bartlett met journalist, writer, activist and film-maker Paul Mason to explore the uneasy relationship between tech and humanity.

Lessons learned:

- Tech gives us unparalleled capability. But it is driving some of the chaos

- Observability is a real problem for AI. When machines design machines, we lose transparency

- If we’re not prepared to regulate AI then we have problems. When rational people say ‘I’m not sure I know enough to take these decisions’ you get the cyborg on one side and the zombie on the other

- Machines have to accept that all humans have power over them

-  We need to pull politicians and regulators into the ethical discussion about the products we’re designing

3. Climate Crisis: Can Digital Save the World?

“We are at a moment in time. If we act now, we can make a difference. If we don’t, I’m fearful.” So said Dan Burgess, founder of The Spaceship Earth who, together with Chris Gorell Barnes, co-founder of Blue Marine Foundation; Gail Callie, co-founder of Project Everyone and Will Skeaping of Extinction Rebellion urged digital to make a difference.

Lessons learned:

- Since Blue Marine Foundation was founded 10 years ago, the NGO has protected an area of ocean twice the size of continental Europe

- We need to overcome our collective denial. Everything is going to change. If it doesn’t, the food runs out

- Our world operates on a completely different operating system to the natural world. We need to stop being destructive passengers and contribute to the earth in a positive way

- When Sustainable Development Goals launched in 2015 they reached 2.2 billion people in two days. How much could the collected digital abilities and networks at BIMA Conference achieve?

- “If we don’t act, we really are all f****d. Give a shit and do shit. You have digital tools. use them”

4. Up in the Air: The New Commute

Science fiction has always been an influence on Dr Anita Sengupta. “We can build the future we imagine,” announced the screen at the outset of her presentation. So now, she’s building a future imagined by The Jetsons…

Lessons learned:

- Conventional transportation means congestion

- Urban air mobility (UAM) reduces congestion, protects the environment, supports efficiency and improves the passenger experience

- According to McKinsey and Morgan Stanley, UAM will be a trillion dollar industry within the next two decades

- ASX’s VTOL tilt-wing and electric motor combine to create an aircraft that’s quieter than the typical car, and little larger than a single engine Cessna

- The innovation required by UAM is achieved by working in the tech entrepreneurial space, tapping into the startup mindset

5. Overcoming Tomorrow’s Business Challenges Through Organisational Agility

Head of Slack UK, Stuart Templeton explained why, if agility is an organisational imperative, co-ordination is key to achieving it.

Lessons learned:

- We are in the age of the knowledge worker. It’s creative. It requires problem solving. It requires empathy and cross-functional working

- We need to connect people cross-functionally to data and applications to an extent we haven’t seen before

- Agile organisations have a 70% chance of being in the top quartile of organizational health, the best indicator of long-term performance. Agility comes from coordinating:

1. Team identity

2. Real time communication

3. Vision & strategy

-  If we can create transparency across organisations we can create alignment, and that creates organisational velocity

6. The Way We Watch: AR, VR and the Content of the Future

What developments in AR and VR are set to have the biggest impact over the next few years? Richard Nockles, founder of Surround Vision and Creative Director of Sky VR, looked into the near future.

Lessons learned:

- VR/AR is still in its infancy, yet many of the elements required to progress are already with us, including compositing, zipwires, drones and volumetric capture (to create 360° holograms)

- Next gen immersive, now:

1. The National Theatre has already experimented with tetherless VR

2. Sky took a mobile capture studio to the Open to scan golfers and create 360° holograms

3.  Skin tone is impressive and getting better all the time (e.g. AR tool for Anthony Joshua)

4. VR can be used for good (e.g. using photogrammetry to walk through documentaries rather than passively watch them)

7. Alexa, give me five

Have you embraced Amazon’s Alexa or do you clam up when you see those glowing blue rings – suspicious of her omnipotence? Max Amordeluso urged BIMA Conference to look again.

Lessons learned:

-  Alexa provides valuable connection and a ‘community’ for the lonely

-  Kids’ Skills lets children safely and effectively benefit from Alexa

- Try describing a photo to Alexa and ask her to remember it

- Alexa really isn’t invading your privacy and recording all you say

-  Machine learning means Alexa will become increasingly useful

8. Lessons For the Future

If the Industrial Revolution was an augmentation of the human muscle and the information age has been an augmentation of the human mind, what comes next? Nell Watson explored the augmentation of the human heart and soul.

Lessons learned:

- About 50% of traffic on the internet is created by humans and 50% by bots, some benign, some not. So we need new rules for this new world

- Machine ethics, or value alignment teaches machines to interact with us in positive ways, giving them the same basic framework of social acceptability as everyone else

-  We lack good governance, and in particular the management and accounting of externalities, but we can combat this through data and the creation of environmental ‘personhoods’

- We’ve had the Industrial Revolution and the information age. What’s next is the augmentation of the human heart and soul, a reformation driven by machine economics (blockchain etc), machine intelligence and machine ethics

Download the full 8 lessons here

Register your interest for 2020


Rachel Johnson
Posted by Rachel Johnson

Rachel has recently joined BIMA having worked for more than 20 years in the world of Marketing. Rachel has many impressive client, charity and agency-side results to her credit and stories to tell. As both a team player and independent advisor, Rachel loves to see the bigger picture and is a strong strategic thinker. She has led ambitious projects for start-ups, worked alongside growing businesses and has been fortunate to work with some of the UK’s most respected and renowned agencies. A self-motivated original thinker, Rachel is also an extremely able marketer. She brings out the best in people at all levels. Her wealth of transferable skills includes project management – often with direct budgetary control - results-driven commercial awareness, proven networking strengths, digital marketing expertise and broad IT literacy. However, her achievements do not end there! In her spare time, she makes full-use of her Cumbrian home-town environment, walking, biking and running, and spending time as an enthusiastic side-line rugby and football mum for her two boys – Louie and Harley.

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