A few of us from the Createful team popped along to Silicon Beach 2016, a conference held in Bournemouth showcasing talks from some very thought-provoking people over two days. I (Michelle) went along to the first day and thought I’d reflect on some of the talks which resonated with me…

Projector screen with sketches of Silicon Beach speakers

Lauren Bowker

Founder of THEUNSEEN

Lauren’s work was fascinating, and nothing that would have even occurred to me before. She is ‘Material Alchemist’ at THEUNSEEN, which is a fashion house creating wearable items that can change colour due to environmental stimuli (e.g. air pollution or wind). The thought of colour changing feathers blew my mind.

Lauren Bowker (THEUNSEEN) presentation at Silicon Beach

Benita Matofska

Founder of The People Who Share

Benita talked about the sharing economy (renting, borrowing and swapping) and the changing attitudes about access to objects and services over ownership; asking whether ownership is becoming redundant. She mentioned that there is an emergence of services which enable people to pay for what they use over buying something once and rarely using it, and that if we matched surplus with need in the world, so many problems could be dissipated. Definitely food for thought.

The People Who Share‘ is a website which aims to help people access sharing resources; for example to distribute surplus food which would ordinarily go to waste, selling on second hand clothes and furniture, and car and house sharing services.

Benita Matofska (The People Who Share) presentation at Silicon Beach

Jess Ratty

Head of Public Relations at Crowdfunder

Jess seemed like an incredibly likeable character, and she talked about Crowdfunder; how it was founded in Newquay and has since been used by a wide spectrum of people to raise money for a variety of projects and ideas. It is a service which allows pretty much anyone with an idea to get funding from others who also agree with their vision.

She said that Crowdfunder’s aim was to change the world of finance and to create brands that are not trying to corrupt the world. “For the love of ideas” (not the love of money). She touched on how even big brands now seem to be shifting and changing, and are looking to put their money into people who are trying to make the world a better place.

Jess Ratty (Crowdfunder) presentation at Silicon Beach

Camilla Grey

Brand & Content Strategist

First off, Camilla’s presentation was adorable; she used images of Sylvanian Families in her slides to illustrate her points. Camilla questioned the standard linear ‘career ladder’ and said she had noticed how people seem to be deviating from it more and more; that people seem to increasingly flip-flop from one thing to the next over the course of their working lives. They feel they can ‘choose their own adventure’ instead of having one prescribed path and sticking to it.

She had observed that people these days care much more about how they work, who they work with and why they work, instead of just blindly doing it. They want to work towards a company purpose and feel they can make suggestions which will make the place better. If they don’t feel that either of those requirements has been satisfied, they won’t hesitate to move on elsewhere.

'Choose your own adventure' - Camilla Grey presentation

Linking individuals to companies, she said that they can also ‘choose their own adventure’; driven mainly by people’s attitudes within the company. She thinks that this will be a lot easier in startups as they are small and malleable, and established businesses need to be open to change or start something new, yet staying true to their core values.

This slide made me laugh; she hadn’t seen what Richard Huntington looked like, so this was her best guess:

Camilla Grey comparing Richard Huntington to a Sylvanian Family character

Mark Earls

Herdmeister of Herd Consultancy

Mark talked about the art of copying, and how it’s not necessarily a bad thing. That there is so much inspiration and work already done in the world, why wouldn’t you want to pick up some of it and then carry your own work on from there? The thought that you don’t always have to come up with a completely unique idea (and probably shouldn’t) as people will always add their own mark and personality onto the work they do, even if the initial idea came from elsewhere.

An example he gave was Elvis; the fact that he is such a prominent well-remembered character, but almost everything about him from his haircut to his hip-thrust was copied from somebody else. Another was a heart surgeon taking inspiration from a Formula One pitstop to help him with a changeover issue which had arisen during surgery.

Mark Earls presentation at Silicon Beach

He made a point that when people try to copy each other directly, they can never make it exact; they will almost always make an error, and it is within that error that interest lies.

At the end of his talk, Mark held an audience participation exercise involving a sort of ‘Chinese Whispers’ with body movement. He aimed to convey how people always add their own twist when they are trying to copy something directly, which was both hilarious and extremely interesting! I actually stole the idea for a little Createful team activity 😉

Audience participation during Mark Earls presentation

Heather Brown

Baker Extraordinaire

An event like this just wouldn’t be complete without a delicious Heather Brown cookie dough bite, enjoyed in-between talks with a Silicon Beach branded coffee. Delicious beyond words, as usual.

Silicon Beach cup and Heather Brown cookie dough bite

Did you go to Silicon Beach 2016? What did you think of the talks and which ones were your favourite? Tweet us to let us know or add a comment below!