I had the pleasure of hosting the Tech Trailblazers session last week at the two-day Festival of Marketing in London's east end.

We had number of fantastic speakers and there was an interesting panel with four innovation experts giving their point of view on what innovation is and what it is not!

There were also a number of new startups who told their stories and brought to life what is possible with some very interesting technology.

The highlight at the end of the day (purely from a fun point of view) was the Tech Off.

festival of marketing walk in

What is the Tech Off?

The Tech Off was a blend of crazy wrestling themed antics combined with wicked five-minute presentations from three marketing contenders.

The aim was to explore how to innovate, in a ‘battle for the future’ of marketing.

Dan Kirby opened the stage, leading in two wrestlers (before you ask - they are actually real wrestlers – The Fabulous Bakewell Boys!) holding The Tech Off title belt.

Dan explained the rules to the audience and introduced the three contenders.

Let the battle commence!

First up was ex-Diesel marketing director Scott Morrison, now founder of The Boom, who said marketers need to push the boundaries and take more risks with highly-focused agile teams – that he called ‘boom units’.

Then you can spend meaningful time exploring innovation, rather than just doing what you’ve always done.

Scott Morrison from The Boom 

Second up was Colin Lewis, marketing director of airline British Midland International (BMI) who encouraged everyone to copy their competition.

He argued that Elvis, Steve Jobs, Bowie, and Picasso all stole from the world. His three rules were to copy, assimilate and finally innovate.

Colin Lewis at Festival of Marketing

Finally was David Bailey, creative director UX&D at the BBC, who explored some of the challenges in creating a ‘digital first’ BBC – of innovation at scale.

His confident presentation (without slides!) talked both about understanding the needs of the consumer and looking to unexpected places for ideas.

It used to be that the designers were the cool guys, but now it’s the coders. Being open to wider influence will help make better customer experiences.

David Bailey at The Festival of Marketing

It then went to a hugely complex voting mechanic, which was powered by the noise in the room. Okay, so it was whoever Dan felt like winning.

So drum roll please... and the winner was Colin Lewis!

Thank you

Thanks to everyone who attended last week, Econsultancy for organising such a fantastic event and Dan Kirby for looking utterly ridiculous!

Go here to find out more about the Tech Off and its future events.

Ben Salmon

Published 16 November, 2015 by Ben Salmon

Ben Salmon is Founder at Attributely and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

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