The EY and Business West Innovation South West: Digital Conference took place on Thursday, 14 June 2018 and brought together leaders from business and academia to explore practical ways that digital and technological advancements can be utilised to gain competitive advantage and avoid risk.
Held at We The Curious – one of the UK’s biggest interactive science centres, based in Bristol – topics and themes explored during the event included: digital and technological solutions to business challenges/ambitions; generating competitive advantage; helping to drive growth; change and cost efficiencies; customer relations; intelligence and innovation.
Bristol is home to one of the region’s largest digital technology clusters and the city is increasingly recognised as a hotbed of innovation. This year, Bristol overtook London as the UK’s leading ‘smart city’ in its use of digital technology to improve crucial services from transport infrastructure to healthcare, according to the UK Smart Cities Index. The Start-up Cities Index ranked Bristol as the number one city in England to start a business and TechNation’s latest report acknowledges Bristol as the most competitive and productive tech cluster in the UK.
Innovation South West: Digital Conference featured keynote speeches from Ash Ali, architect of Just Eat’s record breaking £1.5bn tech IPO and EY’s Chief Information Officer Harry Gaskell, amongst others. Attendees also had the opportunity to break out into smaller groups and rotate around six ‘solution circles’, each led by a subject matter expert who delivered advice for the here and now.
Andrew Perkins, Managing Partner at EY in Bristol, commented:
“Bristol is one of the fastest growing cities in the UK, with a growth forecast Gross Value Added (GVA) of 2.3% until 2020 – outpacing London’s growth (2.2%) and the UK average (1.8%). The city is also one of the UK’s top cities for attracting inward investment and is a fertile ground for innovative, forward thinking companies who are minded towards growing their business through harnessing technology. We've teamed up with Business West to deliver this conference that aims to be a one stop shop for business and regional players to learn practical ways of doing just that.”
James Durie, Chief Executive of Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative at Business West, said:
“We are delighted to join forces with EY to provide this excellent opportunity for senior business leaders, entrepreneurs and heads of community, to connect and gain valuable insight into emerging technologies. Moreover, to understand what all organisations across Bristol and the South West should be doing now to fully realise the benefits. At a time of change with a digital shift underway and huge opportunities available through this process, including through the new UK Industrial Strategy, this event could not be better timed."
Other speakers included: Emma Price, Risk Director at EY; Professor Dimitra Simeonidou, High Value Networks Leader at University of Bristol and CTO of Bristol is Open; Dr Joanne Hinds, Bath School of Management; and Paul O'Collins, Head of Innovation, Business West.