There is no doubt that day one of Wakefield Business Week featured an exciting mix of opportunities for local businesses. With a launch event that focused on the theme ‘international trade’ and the manufacturing forum’s ‘find your business voice’ being just two examples of what was on offer. Alongside this, and adding a twist to traditional workshops and seminars was Cognitiv’s Pechakulcha style event.
There is no surprise that the district’s not-for-profit group, which was established to represent, promote and create opportunities for collaboration amongst the creative, digital and IT sector, chose to do things a little differently.
Now when we say differently, the brief to presenters was simply 20 slides and 20 seconds each – on something that you love. But, this was Cognitiv Means Business and also Business Week so the themes were definitely intended to inform and educate. Those chosen were Smart Cities, PR, Video and Twitter. It was clear that these subjects were no hardship for those presenting, and that they were subjects that they were very passionate about, particularly being part of their day-to-day business.
Paul Heigham from Bellingham IT focused on Smart Cities; Emma Lupton of Open Communications on PR; Danny Lacey of Stada Video on his entrepreneurial journey into video production and Dan Conboy of Statement on Twitter.
It was made known that this style of presenting was new to most of the group, however they embraced it whole heartedly and it helped that the setting was informal and relaxed.
Despite just 6 minutes and 40 seconds each, the presentations inspired questions and also debate, creating a true learning opportunity for those that attended. Put it this way – there wasn’t too much time left for networking, but no-one seemed to mind!
Tips and advice were offered throughout with food for thought for many.
Smart start for smart cities
From Paul we were able to get an insight into Smart Cities, which is not just about connectivity and a good internet access, but about collaboration and using technology for the benefit of community and business.
Interestingly, it resulted in a number of questions around Wakefield as a Smart City and what small steps could be taken to establish projects and initiatives that would make a real difference locally.
It was felt that small steps would get things started, would enable like-minded businesses and individuals to be inspired by the vision and reality of Smart Cities, whilst also enabling projects that made a day-to-day difference to get underway.
There is no doubt that this is not the last that we have heard of Smart Cities and Wakefield!
Getting excited about PR
A whistle stop insight into getting started when it comes to PR was delivered by Emma. The important role that PR plays in supporting reputation was emphasised, whilst hints and tips instilled a ‘can do’ approach to managing your own communications.
Taking learnings – PR and communication should be driven by business objectives and a clear understanding of the target audience.
Conversations around the changing face of PR and the media also created some lively debate.
Story telling story telling!
A personal journey was presented by Danny who offered an insight into where his passion for film making came from.
Offering a visual story filled with humour, Danny’s presentation was punctuated with examples of his entrepreneurial and creative spirit, alongside the lessons learnt that have helped to shape his business.
Demonstrating the important and expanding role of video in businesses of all sizes, Danny also demonstrated how video can support and enhance customer engagement.
Tips on tweets
An informative look at Twitter, Dan offered an insight into getting the most from this popular social media tool.
Starting with having a clear purpose, Dan highlighted how Twitter, when planned, can help form relationships and connections.
Reiterating the importance of conversation as opposed to just self-promotion, Dan demonstrated how Twitter can be used to support customer service and also to showcase experience and expertise.
It really was surprising to see how informative this fast-paced style of presenting could be.
Certainly one to consider within any business!
I wonder what Wakefield Business Week would look like if it was presented through 20 slides in just 20 seconds each!