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Report: Silicon Beach 2011

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By The Drum Team, Editorial

October 10, 2011 | 3 min read

Last week The Drum joined digital industry experts from across the South at the inaugural Silicon Beach conference at The Pavilion in Bournemouth. As conference sponsors, The Drum took some time out to enjoy the blazing autumn sunshine and get the down-low on the latest digital thinking along the way.

Organised by Bournemouth-based digital networking and support group Meetdraw, Silicon Beach’s all-star line-up promised to share new ideas that would sell brands through digital innovation and storytelling.

The two-day event, which stood out for its relaxed pace and quirky character, covered a broad scope of subjects, from gaming to cloud computing. Away from the presentations, delegates gazed out jealously from the Aruba bar balcony at tourists on Bournemouth beach during generous networking periods.

Day one focused on creating truly useful work through flexibility a willingness to innovate. Specifically, Ogilvy’s Nicole Yershon introduced us to the company’s training and innovation workshops, better known as “Lab Days”, while Microsoft’s Michael McClary introduced us to the “Microsoft Research” funding division.

Made By Many’s Tim Malbon introduced his “nimble” agency and gave us his take on modern project management and idea development techniques; Storythings director Matt Locke looked at cross-channel audience metrics and how they can be used to retain audience attention.

The Keynote speaker for the day was Skype’s digital design director Steve Pearce. Pearce gave an insight into how Skype had designed its online interfaces to create its invaluable online service. He also explained that the company hopes to make communication through television-based video calls a reality and hoped to be able to provide accessible communications to refugee camps in warzones.

Day two focused on gaming and social media, with 4T2’s Mike Hawkyard and Adobe’s Mike Jones each giving revealing presentations on the world of Flash gaming.

The conference was rounded off by Keynote speaker Jeff Dodds, brand and marketing director at Virgin. Dodds explained how Virgin engages its audiences through marketing campaigns and outlined the company’s ambitions for making internet connectivity more accessible.

Dodds stated that demonstration, not declaration is the best way to promote new products and services to customers – a point which summed up an overall theme for the conference: if you know something is a good idea and has a practical use, then don’t wait for approval; develop it and let audiences and clients see the value of your idea for themselves.

With delegates leaving inspired and informed, it would appear that Meetdraw has followed this very philosophy and we’ll hopefully see Silicon Beach make its return next year.

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