BIMA Breakfast Manchester – The Importance of Innovation – Thoughts from the floor

At J B Cole, the events we run ourselves and in partnership with bodies such as BIMA are a huge part of our business. We’re a social and creative bunch, and we love nothing more than throwing around ideas and getting right to the core of important issues that matter for the tech industry.

And we hope all our attendees get as much out of the sessions as we do. With that in mind, here’s the first in our Thoughts from the Floor series, giving an insight into our events and what attendees can really get out of it.

Over to you Matt.

Josh Bolland, CEO of J B Cole, welcomes attendees to the BIMA Breakfast Briefing

I’m Matt Adams, founder of Online Growth Guru, a Digital Marketing Agency in Manchester.

In this post I’m giving you first-hand insight into my experience at the BIMA Breakfast Briefing, which was held at HOME, Manchester on June 7th.

This session promised a great panel and the topic – ‘The importance of innovation’ – also guaranteed exciting insights. And it didn’t fail to deliver.

Arriving at BIMA on the lonesome

It’s nervy, going to a networking event on your own. Questions are in the mind like:

  • Who will be there?

  • Will I get to chance to speak to anyone?

  • How am I going to explain what I do?

Even if these hesitations are in your mind, I still believe that going to an event on your own is by far the best way to meet like-minded people and grow your business network. Simply because it forces you to speak to people you don’t already know.

When I arrived at BIMA (on my own), there were a few people heading up to the events room, so I headed up, got my coffee and said to the first 2 people I bumped into – “how’s it going?”

Immediately, they welcomed me in to the conversation.

These 2 people had just met too, so that’s 3 of us, all looking to expand our network. We talked between ourselves for a good 15 minutes prior to the introductions from Josh.

We really got to know each other – who we are, what we do and why we’re here.

What a great start to the day.

Josh Bolland overseeing the panel at the BIMA Breakfast

Introducing the Host & Panel

The intro from Josh was short, snappy and entertaining. It started with the definition of innovation:

“Innovation is can be defined simply as a new idea, device or method”

There was even mention of Industry 4.0. And I loved the video analogy about the dots in our lives representing innovation. If you’ve not seen it – here it is.

It was then time for a short explanation into J B Cole as a business, followed by an introduction to the day’s panel. To whom insightful questions about innovation would be delivered.

The panel were:

Jazz Hanley from Tech Nation, a network that empowers ambitious tech entrepreneurs to grow faster through knowledge and programmes. 

Claire Robinson has been working over the last decade to embed start-up thinking and working practices into large corporates like AXA UK and Lloyds Banking Group

David Edmundson-Bird is Principal Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he runs a number of digital communications programmes. He is also the Associate Director for Digital Innovation. 

Naomi Timperley is an Honorary Industry Fellow at the University of Salford Business School. Naomi is Co-Founder of Tech North Advocates and Chair of investment platform Capital Pilot.

The panel at the BIMA Breakfast

Highlights of the Q&A Session

Questions were raised to the panel of experts for the upcoming hour. And it provided some great discussion for the audience to follow or get involved in. Here’s a couple of examples.

  1. How should businesses make time for innovation in the work place. And how should innovation departments be set up?

And the answer that stood out the most, to me, was from Claire Robinson

“Innovation should not be in a lab. It and business as usual (BAU) should not be separated. If you separate the two, you end up with the innovation team creating new concepts that are almost impossible to win acceptance from the ‘BAU’ teams – that means change is destined to fail.”

  1. What’s your favourite innovation of recent times?

This was a question that brought out some weird and wonderful insights in to innovations from the panel. Some panel members gave examples of innovation that they had been involved in. Others raised discussions about the multi-national conglomerates like Deliveroo and Uber.

Following questions from Josh, the audience were given their chance to ask a few questions of the panel about innovation.

The audience got involved…

This raised discussion of regulation and legislation around innovative ideas. Sounds boring if you’re not into law but it touched on some very important points. Such as how far the government should go in clamping down on innovative changes proposed by companies.

Networking and the close

The briefing ended with some light-hearted networking. Again, meeting new people and finding out more about others business goals and challenges. If you’re looking to meet new people, get involved in interesting discussions, and look at your business from a new perspective, then I can highly recommend attending the next BIMA Briefing. I’ll be there.