Silicon Beach 2013: The future is nigh!


The Kolab team came away from Silicon Beach 2013 last week in Bournemouth, feeling educated and creative. Not only were we delighted to design the event brochure, we also had the opportunity to enjoy the wealth of inspirational and educational talks at the two-day event. 

First up; Laura, with her thoughts on day one

Thursday morning started with a talk from Lord Knight of Weymouth who spoke about how the education system should start moving into the digital era. There are so many ways to engage with content now such as YouTube and online courses to name a few, so why not use them in the classroom? These platforms allow pupils to engage with knowledge rather than sitting and listening and getting bored.

Dave Birss was the next speaker that drew our attention. He demonstrated that it’s better to have a team of people with broad knowledge rather than specialists. New ideas do not simply get plucked out of thin air, they are created by making the connections in the knowledge you have already. So people with broader knowledge are able to come up with a more creative, new idea, whereas a specialist would stay within their field. The talk of change was definitely the focus at the conference and as the great Mahatma Gandhi once said, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’.

What is change, then? Most of the speakers seemed to agree that change is about ‘an idea, a recombination of existing elements’. Smithery’s witty explanation of how to make change happen also caught us. Before the 21st century, we used to make things people wanted but now, we have to make people want things. 

Next are Shane’s thoughts on day one

Mark Stevens, futurologist, totally blew my mind. He discussed how the world has changed and where it is likely to go. It’s amazing how fast technology is progressing, and it’s accelerating too. ‘I'm looking forward to the time when the solar panels on my roof are the only source of energy I need. No more utility companies!’ says Shane, ‘Or with 3D printing continuing in the direction of manufacturing organs, perhaps I’ll get a bionic arm, new liver or maybe even live forever’ - there really is no limit! 

Next up, Tonci

It was very interesting to hear that colourful language from some of the speakers can be tolerated by a professional audience. I assume the main condition for this tolerance was the fact that the swearing was interwoven with very interesting and entertaining information. I have learned from Diana Janicki and Ali Hanan that brands need help in being loved, from Kevin Moss which possibilities lie in the use of augmented reality, and the difference between dialectic and dialogic communication from John Willshire and why the future is dialogic when everyone can say their opinion, turn around and walk away without the urge to convince everybody else of their point of view.

All in all a very entertaining way to learn about digital strategy and communication concepts in the beautiful surroundings of Bournemouth - very inspiring indeed!

Sarah visited on day two 

What a fantastic event for Bournemouth. Interestingly of all the people attending, over 50% came from London to listen to the speakers and the others were fellow local creatives. We have heard lots of positive feedback from Silicon Beachers about the quality of the event (and brochure, sorry, couldn’t help it) and the value of the talks for everyone, not just creatives. The talk by Andy Law from Fearlessly Frank about the Internet as an invention and implosive force was interesting and thought provoking. Dave Birss' harmonic and blues guitar playing were equally as entertaining. 

It was great to attend and see Matt Desmier in action (wearing his pea green soup suit - only Matt can carry that one off!) having worked alongside him and Giles to produce the branding and brochure. I particularly liked the epic Silicon Beach shaped cake! Looking forward to next year.

And a little bit more from me

All the speakers delivered a variety of creative inspiration to the highest standard. Jon Burkhart was another speaker that stood out for me, his energetic presentation about #newsjacking and real-time advertising was something aligned to my own interests in social marketing. It was just a shame he had to skip through so many slides to keep his presentation on time. I am even more gutted that I narrowly missed out on first place for the trending competition during the second day, although third isn’t bad and I did catch Dave’s book, when he threw it towards Sarah ;)

Birss put it simply, a creative is someone who: ‘spots things and opportunities that nobody else does’ therefore creating change. At Kolab, we believe that we can make ‘change’ happen by being curious, by experimenting, by paying attention to what is surrounding us and by collaborating together, we can offer new, fresh and exciting ideas.


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