After many months of planning, Tuesday 14th November saw over 300 delegates arrive at Bristol's Anson Rooms for our sixth Vision Conference. The anticipation and excitement was tangible as attendees queued for a quick espresso before diving into the opening keynote of the day from Co-President of BIMA, Tarek Nseir. Tarek's talk was "The Next Digital Revolution: The big shifts emerging in technology, and how we need to respond" “Over the next 10 years we can expect to see the same amount of technological progress as we have experienced in the last 200 years, and to rise to meet this challenge we must embrace fierce collaboration – true independence relies on interdependence.” This marked the beginning of inspirational talks that placed human creativity at the epicentre of technological advances and innovation today.
Tarek was quickly followed onto the stage by Global Director Digital Marketing at BBC Worldwide Anna Rafferty while Jim Sutherland of multi-award winning StudioSutherl& gave a talk to a packed audience of over a hundred people. Anna delivered a content marketing and social media masterclass with examples from Blue Planet II and many more. She talked about creating and curating content in line with algorithms and about how to please those algorithms. "Make things that are of the internet; not just on the internet" Educational and entertaining talk from @raffers"
Jim pleased the designers in his room with a talk about Joy in Creativity and reminded attendees of the George Bernard Shaw quote "We don't stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing".
After a coffee and cake break courtesy of Brian Wogan Coffee and Pony & Trap, Dave Hrycyszyn from Zone delivered a short history of AI and its somewhat humble beginnings to where we are now and the impact it might have on all our lives in the coming years, while Ali Hanan of Creative Equals talked about diversity, inclusion, equality and what they mean for business. "Fascinating and important talk on diversity and inclusivity in creative industries. Not many men in the room"
We then all re-grouped for the speaker that it seemed so many in Bristol were most looking forward to. Seven years on from his first appearance at Vision when he talked about his business 'Win Without Pitching', Blair Enns was back to talk about the five constraints of Blairtopia - an imaginary world where all creative businesses flourish because of the constraints placed on them. 1) No exit, 2) only ten clients, 3) one page proposals, 4) untether from time, 5) say what you think. Many in the room found this simple thinking inspirational, promising to put it into practice in their own businesses - something that we intend to follow up on over the coming months. Blair said "I really believe if you followed these constraints you would build a more successful and rewarding firm".
(Thanks to our talented SXSW apprentice Jasmine Thompson for the amazing illos!)
A talk genius in its simplicity from @blairenns on the 5 constraints that guide "Blairtopia"
Blair's talk gave everyone in the room plenty of food for thought. After a delicious lunch from The Pony & Trap, there were six sessions ranging from influencer marketing, selling your business, VR/AR and 360 storytelling, programmatic marketing and wellbeing in business giving delegates plenty to choose from. "Inspiring #business wisdom from Julian Harriman-Dickinson - go for a walk and take time out.. 'chop the wood and carry the water' i.e. Put in the hours to get good at something, most importantly 'do what you love' and ultimately go with your intuition."
Later in the afternoon a panel of distinguished APG Judges, chaired by James Caig of True Digital discussed transformational thinking. The panel who included Bogdana Butnar, Head of Strategy at Poke, Kevin Chesters, Chief Strategy Officer at Ogilvy London, and Clare Philips, Head of Brand Planning at ITV, took the audience through a case by case exploration into the novel techniques used by this year’s winning brands. These celebrated the element of surprise, keeping it simple, teaching people something new, collaboration and diversity.
And finally, the long awaited talk 'The Return to Ethics' by futurist Tracey Follows certainly did not disappoint. From Star Trek to the Handmaids Tale, Tracey challenged what it means to be human and how AI and advancing tech amplifies that conversation. Tracey provided a series of thought provoking questions and statements: “How does technology enable us to keep loving each other?”, “We will be facing a pay gap between women and machines” and “Why should Space travel just be an experience available to the rich?”. Tracey zoomed delegates through some of the most pertinent ethical dilemmas we will soon be demanded to confront: touching on the ethics of autonomous weapons, driverless cars, predictive policing, biomimicry, travel via VR and the transformative experience of Space VR.
It was a rousing ending to a thought provoking day and time for a beer, plates of Salt 'n' Malt and to continue the conversations in the bar. Thanks to all the prolific tweeting during the day, #visionbristol trended in Bristol at 0926 and at Number 8 in the UK by midday. Altogether there were 64,415 impressions, 180 likes and almost a hundred re-tweets resulting in 50 new followers by the end of the day.
Here are a few write ups we liked.
And you can check out all the Twitter conversations and some short videos with Anna, Tarek and Blair on @Bristol _Media
A huge thank you goes to all our sponsors, Jay and Steve at The Agency Works, Rebecca and Becky at Steer & Co, Catherine and Henry at Nomensa, Vicky and Lucy at University Centre Weston, Andy Freedman and all the former apprentices from Cirencester College, Fleur, Alistair and all the Bright Events team, and Sophie and Caroline at OggaDoon. A short film shot and produced by Remco Merbis will be online shortly.