Having attended this equivalent Cardiff University event last year and been encouraged by a level of tangible innovation, I was keen to take a return trip to see how the 2014 version compared.
The event back on January 22nd seemed especially pertinent. Leading the news headlines in Wales over the previous week had been two separate, tragic incidents in the north and south of Wales, both concerning excessive waiting times for ambulances, both leading to fatalities. Additional stories this week have concerned the postponement of planned surgery across north Wales due to increased pressure, and a plan to centralise care for babies born in west Wales.
Today’s virtual, digital world usually creates a comfortable distance for users. This is a comfortable distance that suddenly disappears when you’re actually in a conference room with other people. If you fall into a conversation and grow bored, you can’t click or swipe for them to go away.
Cardiff University’s latest Innovation Network event presented Stephen Fear, a lifelong entrepreneur who set up his first company in 1969, aged 16. He bought a cleaning formula from an American company advertising in the Exchange & Mart, after claiming a council estate phone box as his personal office for transatlantic calls.
Stephen Fear calmly took to the lectern on an unsettled autumn evening which blustered and spat outside. His was a sturdy and unflashy presence: smart business suit, no tie, a gentle West Country lilt to his voice suggestive of the Bristol roots.
In a digital world where everything is social and connected, will individual, standalone websites forever remain essential business tools? Or might they come to be replaced by content marketing and social platforms?
What value is there in having a website in today’s frenzied social content super highway? It might seem oddly simplistic, but the question is relevant.
Yesterday evening Chris Moss of FAMOSS ideas consultancy became the latest to take the stage at Cardiff Business School’s Public Lecture Series. Moss spent 8 years as Marketing Director of Virgin Atlantic, developing the company from single aircraft to international brand. He founded the Orange brand as Marketing Director and as CEO of 118118, grew the business from 5 to 5000 employees, achieving a billion dollar valuation and an international roll-out.
Any sympathy extended for having a name that lends itself to terrible puns should be saved. It hasn’t held him back.
With little over a week until the findings of the Leveson Inquiry are released, on Wednesday evening Lord David Puttnam delivered Cardiff University’s Hadyn Ellis Distinguished Lecture: “The Lessons of Leveson – The future of media regulation in the internet age”.
The address to a Business School lecture began gently enough, with an explanation that the media debate is all about trust. But Lord Puttnam’s words quickly grew caustic, laden with a powerful drama befitting his film producer credits. Indeed these credits rather than media regulation seemed to be the subject of most chatter in the reception before the lecture, Chariots of Fire excitably mentioned several times.