Leadership In Technology Summit, Cambridge UK – Review by Nessan Cleary

Recently I went to the InPrint Leaders in Technology summit in Cambridge, organised by FM Brooks, the people behind the InPrint show. They have a new show, Pure Digital, which also deals with the industrial print sector but seen from the creatives viewpoint. So this conference bridged both of these sectors and took in quite a wide range of subjects from personalised print through to the difficulties of moving into industrial print as well as more esoteric ideas from marketing through to staff management.

Marcus Timson, one of the co-founders of FM Brooks, set the theme for the event by asking how do we get inkjet into traditional industries? He went on to say: “When we are open to learning we can solve problems. We have to ask how open we are to change and how to focus on being productive. But if you only focus on productivity do you have the ability to change?”

The various presentations reflected three main interconnected themes.

Prioritising innovation in order to grow a business, the changing retail environment and finally the transition to inkjet

Simon Biltcliffe, managing director of Webmart print management, kicked off with a session on Innovation : “If you want to be innovative, you go into any meeting or discussion with an open mind and not knowing what the conclusion is. If you have an agenda then you will be trying to get to the conclusion and will close off a lot of creative thought.” He also discussed his approach to management, mainly paying staff above average salaries and trusting them to get on with the job and make decisions.

Mark Gilligan, managing director of Blacktrace, talked about some of the difficulties of running a technology company. Essentially, Blacktrace is a company that aims to turn scientific discoveries into products. This includes chemical manufacturing equipment, 3D printers, microfluids and nanomaterials. He said: “I believe in black sheep ideas because ideas that people say will never be done and be the black sheep will eventually be seen as the best way to do things.”

The changing retail environment

Several speakers talked about the trends that were affecting the retail sector. Will Smith, commercial director for the Happen Innovation Agency, which works to help companies spot opportunities and deal with changes, talked about the need to be innovative, adding: “Our work is focussed on why things go wrong so we can do it better next time.” He gave some examples, such as Jacobs Coffee, which had focussed on where its coffee came from but found that people weren’t so interested in this so the company changed the packaging to tell people what kind of coffee it was and what the flavour would be.

Steve Lister, Head of innovation and sustainability for Konica Minolta Marketing Services talked about the rise of immersive retail. He says: “Marketers are all looking for what’s going to be the next big thing but it’s challenging to find that.”

If you would like to the full article and find out more about the Leadership In Technology summit then go to : http://www.nessancleary.co.uk/leaders-in-print/ and http://www.industrialprintblog.com/leaders-in-technology-summit

To find out more about our guest blogger, go to : http://www.nessancleary.co.uk/about-me/

The Leaders in Technology summit is an annual event, which will return to Cambridge next June. It will be extended to cover a full day and will include more industry specific content with more networking and discussion time. This year’s InPrint show takes place in Munich, Germany, in November. The first Pure Digital show will be held next April in Amsterdam, Holland.