Discussing the future of tech at the Can Do Innovation Summit

Last week, our Graduate Project Manager Diana K and Graduate R&D Assistant Thomas had the chance to attend the ‘Can Do Innovation Summit’, centred around disruptive technology and innovation, and how they can be utilised to drive productivity and tackle challenges through creative solutions.

Hosted by Glasgow City of Science and Innovation (GCOSI) at the Glasgow Science Centre, the event provided a great opportunity for Thomas and I to network and collaborate with like-minded people and become inspired by this exciting industry. With Screenmedia’s background in emerging technologies, we were keen to see how others perceive and implement these technologies, as well as what they are doing to prepare for the future.

The Future of Connectivity

As the summit was action-packed with keynotes, workshops and networking opportunities, Thomas and I prioritised the talks which were the most pertinent to the work we do at Screenmedia; the Future of Work, Connectivity, Finance, Manufacturing, and Play, and a Design Thinking workshop. In this keynote, we learned a lot about 5G and using existing technology in new ways. You can read more about it in my colleague Thomas' blog here.

The Future of Work

The Future of Work keynote was delivered by Jenn Gustetic, a digital researcher at the Harvard Kennedy School. Jenn spoke about the impact of digitisation and automation on SMEs, and how they can take advantage of the opportunities they present. She pointed out that technology is working with us and not against us - human-machine collaboration results in human-centred innovation, as creativity and problem solving are at the heart of disruptive technologies.

“New technologies ought to enhance human problem solving, not eliminate it. If possible, automation ought to aid humans in their tasks without distancing them from the machine, and without alienating them from their profession.”
- Our Robots, Ourselves

The Future of Play

The Future of Play keynote, delivered by Morgan Walker, Head of Innovation at LEGO, highlighted that we have become used to seeing value in a tangible product and negating the value in experiences. He also suggested that we ask ourselves these 3 key questions before creating a product:

  1. How well do I know my customer/user?
  2. Am I creating the emotions I want people to feel?
  3. Am I bringing my values over?

Hudson Martins, Head of FX at Axis Studios, then played an animation reel on an 80 feet tall, curved, IMAX screen. The visual spectacular set us up to hear about his belief that we are all artists and innovators and it’s down to us how we choose to offer it to the world. We have the ability to inspire and drive change in any industry. Thanks to the Future of Play talk, I have a new-found appreciation for the creative industry and am extremely excited for what’s to come in the future.

“No matter what, to be inventive, you have to be willing to fail.”
- Jude Sheeran, Head of Cloud Innovation, AWS

Getting our Design Thinking caps on

Alongside the keynotes, we took part in a Design Thinking workshop hosted by Elaine Baxter, Director of Boutique Innovation. The aim of the workshop was to help us think differently in a fun and fast-paced environment. We were split into groups and told to design a solution for a scenario – ours centred around bored children waiting at the airport. Our solution was an interactive treasure map game - airport edition! Attending this workshop gave Thomas and me the chance to meet new people, get our thinking caps on and put the theory we’ve learnt into practice. It also made us approach design in a different way, examining a problem at its root and subsequently creating a solution based around adding value to the user.

We thoroughly enjoyed the Summit and are glad that we had the opportunity to meet people working in tech across a variety of industries. It's also given us a few guidelines to take back with us and apply in future:

  1. Flexibility is key
  2. In this industry, it's not enough to simply provide 'cool' things, we have to encourage people to think and do differently
  3. Design is not just about designing a product, instead it is about designing an ongoing relationship
  4. Have fun, adapt, develop and create
  5. We're all in this together – collaborate, collaborate and collaborate!
“Never underestimate the ability of what your business can achieve, or what Scotland can achieve in this ever-changing world.”
- Ivan McKee, Trade, Investment and Innovation Minister, Scottish Government

Hearing from such creative leaders in the industry was a great experience, and we’re now back in the studio having left inspired and excited to apply what we’ve learnt into our work.

If you want to hear more about what we learned at the conference, or how we’re putting best practice to work in creating powerful, beautiful solutions, get in touch and we’d love to talk.

Diana

Graduate Project Manager

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