Bath Digital Fest

Digital impact at #BDF2018

A week of events that could help change the world

85 digital sessions took place across different locations in Bath between Tuesday 23 October and Saturday 27 October 2018, arranged by Bath Digital Festival, a Community Interest Company (CIC) with a focus on creating an inclusive festival with a big impact.

The focus on inclusivity was demonstrated by the extremely low cost festival wristbands, which meant the important themes and questions that were raised during the week could be explored and developed by a diverse range of individuals from Bath and beyond.

Festival launch

The festival went off with a bang (with the accompaniment of many glasses of bubbly and an excellent live band) during an exclusive launch party at Walcot House on Monday evening.

During the launch event, a selection of speakers took to the stage, including David Kelly, CEO at Storm, who was one of the founders of Bath Digital Festival in 2012.

David then invited Jim Morrison, CEO of Deep Blue Sky and Director of Bath Digital Festival, to introduce this year’s festival.

Jim explained that the festival was made up of 85 events across a week of celebration for digital with many chances to debate and a fantastic opportunity to learn and connect.

To finish, John Wilkinson, Director of Economy and Growth at Bath and North East Somerset Council emphasised the potential impact that businesses in the South West can have at such a critical period of time for the UK.

Digital creativity

Sessions were clustered together by themes on different days throughout the festival, including Digital for business; Digital for good; Digital intelligence and Digital future, but the first day of the festival was all about Digital creativity, and the team at Mind Doodle realised early on that we needed to get involved.

Many businesses recognise the importance of creativity. In fact, 60% of CEOs say creativity is the most important skill for leadership. However, only 25% of people believe they are living up to their creative potential.

By 2020, the 3 most important skills are predicted to be complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. With such importance placed on creativity, but with so many people unfulfilled and unable to live up to their potential, we knew we needed to do something, so we created Mind Doodle.

For the Digital creativity day at Bath Digital Festival, Mind Doodle’s CEO, Rich Hill, delivered a workshop for improving creativity and productivity simultaneously, with the help of team members Tess Coughlan-Allen and Daniel Reading.

The session title was Keeping creativity on track with agile, and it was delivered as a hands-on workshop that combined creative thinking with project management.

We chose to explore agile project management during the workshop because agile projects are 28% more successful than traditional projects. Working using agile methodology is a recipe for success, and Mind Doodle’s agile task manager helps teams to move seamlessly from idea generation into action.

The topic must have hit a sweet spot, because the workshop sold out of spaces extremely quickly. We were able to extend to a bigger group with the support of the fantastic team who organise Bath Digital Festival, particularly Becky Rock-Evans, who sourced an event venue with bigger capacity so that more attendees could join us.

The workshop was held at The Bird, Bath, a stunning venue with gorgeous interior design and even a ‘beach’ to enjoy outdoors; the perfect setting for engaging new ideas and learning to manage projects creatively, and a great place for a celebration after the workshop.

Keeping creativity on track with agile

The session began with Rich introducing himself, explaining his story and how Mind Doodle came to be. He also went through some key statistics about productivity, creativity, teamwork and agile, demonstrating the importance of these topics and the challenges that many face when trying to succeed in business.

Keeping creativity on track with agile - Mind Doodle stats gathered

Rich talked through agile methodology, teaching attendees how the process differs from other project management techniques, and why it works.

Sharing an example of another project he is working on, Rich explored how agile project management allows software projects to adapt and develop, leading to far better end products than could ever have been realised without using the technique.

Next up, we led an interactive icebreaker. Everyone in the room added ideas collaboratively to a Doodle from their own devices and the results updated in real time on a big screen at the front of the room.

Once everyone felt comfortable using Mind Doodle, we asked attendees to break out into small groups. Each group was tasked with solving a problem, launching a product or planning an event using Mind Doodle for idea generation, development, discussion and agile project management.

Groups worked together to apply Mind Doodle to plan real world business scenarios, for example, setting up clubs, planning charity fundraising and events, and working through projects for developing tools and apps for slicker online experiences.

At the end of the session, attendees commented on how quickly the structure of their plans came together and the benefit of real time collaboration, saying that they felt creative and efficient at the same time.

Designing a better world

The following day covered business themes, and as Mind Doodle is a useful digital tool for businesses and agencies, we were invited to get involved with another session at the Apex City of Bath Hotel.

On arrival at the venue, festival attendees could help themselves to coffee and breakfast, presented by one of the sponsors, Noisy Little Monkey, who put a charming stamp on the venue.

The session we were invited to collaborate on was a panel discussion called Designing a better world, which aimed to explore how technology and digital advancements are helping design a better, more sustainable world.

The panellists for the session were:

  • Craig Wightman, Chief Design Officer, Kinneir Dufort, with over 35 years’ experience in design, design consultancy and manufacturing industry.
  • Simon Miller, Co-Founder of 3keel, an expert in climate change, eco design, agricultural commodities and sustainable land use.
  • Matt Golding, Director at Rubber Republic, who is leading his team to investigate ways to use film and entertainment to improve the world.
  • Led by Merle Hall, CEO at Kinneir Dufort, with expertise in design strategy, branding and innovation.

Themes developed during the discussion. For example, the panelists commented on the demand from consumers and appetite for change, highlighting how the ‘power of saying no’ can impact global change, one person or business at a time.

The panelists also explored the challenges and opportunities for digital products to improve healthcare, the risk and power of emerging technologies such as AI, and the skills required to succeed in a fast-changing world.

The mind map of visual notes can be used as a digital resource here.

Designing a better world - Bath Digital Festival - Mind Doodle visual notes

Digital future

The week of sessions covered many relevant topics, including a range of events categorised by a Digital for good theme with global relevance.

To finish the festival, organisers curated a series of events on Saturday that were appropriate for families, as a way to introduce children to the world of digital and excite them about the possibilities that lay ahead for them in tech.

Let’s create something

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