Curtains Closed, Minds Open.

Well, it has been an incredible year of conference going. In the beginning we took a look at Get Started, a conference aimed to promote entrepreneurship in all of us as DCU students. After we attended Get Social, a conference aimed at enlightening us of all the joys of social media. Finally, it was time to put the cherry on the icing with Get Digital.

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Icing on the cake…

Dr. John Walker, Jinga Life.

Get Digital was all about the innovations that influencers are making today which have an effect on how our world is developing. First up was the incredible Dr. Johnny Walker. Dr. Walker is the CEO of Jinga Life and is a clinically active Interventional Radiologist & Nuclear Physician. He is a pioneer of the health industry, totally focused on disrupting it for the better.

Johnny remarked on how the health industry is continually evolving rather than a complete revolution recurring. Although the talk was about healthcare and innovations we also saw an insight to the mind of Johnny as an entrepreneur. He went on to discuss ‘The Founders Dilemma”. This dilemma is that Johnny (like many entrepreneurs) experience the difficulty of scaling once big and that for people like Dr. Walker the startup stage is the exciting bit.

One piece of advice Johnny gave is to keep doing the fun stuff. If you don’t do the fun stuff you will lose inspiration for what you are doing which in turn will negatively impact your business. We also see Johnny’s demand for more disruption in the health industry, he believes there is room for more.

Interestingly Johnny thinks that there is too much focus centred around the role of the GP and that new methods are needed that are centred around the patients. He envisages a future full of sensors, IT and big data. We are also expecting trends in VR and robots. Digital technologies can empower patients and carers by giving them more control over their own health (Connected Health: How digital technology is transforming health and social care, 2015).

Much like all the other speakers in the DICE series of conferences Dr. Walker gave us a complete and incredible insight into what the future looks like in his industry but not only this, he also portrayed the characteristics of an entrepreneurial individual. This is extremely useful for someone trying to master their trade in the field like myself.

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The future of health is in good hands.

David Erixon, Ulster Bank.

Next up was David Erixon, Head of Digital and Customer Innovation at Ulster Bank. As per David’s job title we were in for an incredible talk all about how banking is changing and changing quick.

With the age of digital we are witnessing a complete and utter landslide of disruption effecting every field under the sun. Much like Dr. Walker’s talk earlier we are seeing this disruptive landslide slowly creeping in as evolution year by year. Within Erixon’s talk we saw how he placed the emphasis that this big bad scary word ‘disruption’ is more of a buzzword than anything. What we are really experiencing in banking like everything else is evolution.

The main takeaway from Erixon’s talk was when he said “Anything that can be done connected will be done digitally – we need new principles”. This thought really struck home with me in terms of what we are going to witness over coming years. Not just in banking but across the field. Erixon’s view is that we need these new principles to govern the change that is beginning to take place.

In banking for example, digital currency WILL takeover. This is the future of money and we need new principles to govern it. From this thought I believe it is also applicable to the field of entrepreneurship. With change must come new principles. It shows a flexibility and acceptance which we have not seen previously.

Finally Erixon goes on to discuss how the bank is changing to become less centred around the bank but more centred around the individual. Blockchain is coming and trust is changing (Tech Trends 2016: Innovating in the digital era, 2016). Where have we heard that one before? I’ll give you a hint, read up. This talk was enlightening because it gave me an incredibly valuable insight into the future of personal banking but also reaffirmed what Dr. Johnny Walker had discussed in his keynote.

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Bitcoin is coming…

Alistair Croll, Lean Analytics.

Last but not least we has Alistair Croll, Author and Public Speaker at Lean Analytics. Alistair’s keynote capped off a really memorable evening as it truly echoed what all who had come before him proclaimed.

He brought together a number of different topics and made sense of them and showed how innovation can change the very world we live in. This was hinted at in the title of his slide deck…”Horses, tea, steam, and perfume”. Throughout his talk, Croll gave us a history lesson. He took us through the incredible journey of a number of things giving us real life perspective on the future.

The main talking point of Croll’s talk was this idea of discontinuities. Alistair quoted an old philosopher in saying that a discontinuity is when “Things are no longer perceived, described, expressed, characterised, classified, and known in the same way”. In the beginning of Croll’s talk I didn’t quite understand this. I didn’t truly grasp what it meant.

However, Croll continued on. He believes technology is boring (on its own). Croll incredibly opened my eyes to give me a completely new dimension as to how I think of innovation and technology. As his keynote continued this term discontinuity begun to make sense. It’s not the technology or innovation itself that is the exciting bit but it is the actual knock on effect that new innovation creates and this is seen throughout history. The discontinuity.

Alistair went onto give incredible examples of how this discontinuity or UNINTENDED effect has pretty much governed what we know about innovation in real life (can be found in video above). All in all Alistair’s talk gave me new perspective on technology. The main takeaway I got from Alistair’s time on the Helix stage was to try not to focus on the technology itself but rather focus on the discontinuity it creates or the UNINTENDED EFFECT.  Because it is that discontinuity which will affect our lives, not the technology itself.

As a whole, Get Digital was a really fantastic conference. It gave us insight into medtech, fintech and just tech in general. However, on a deeper level it gave us an insight into what drives innovation and what factors really have an effect on it. It gave us insight into the world we live in today and the world in which we will leave in the future.

The world is ever changing and year by year millions of digital innovations are occurring and we are in trouble unless we are ready for this innovation(The Global Information Technology Report 2016, 2016). Personally after listening to the speakers over the last 9 months I believe we are gearing up for this innovation and becoming ever closer to being ready. It’s an evolution not a revolution.

Get Started, Get Social and Get Digital were all incredible conferences and I would like to extend my sincerest thank you to the team that make it possible within the DCUBS, Ryan Academy, IC4 and DCU Alpha. I am now a more complete individual and more entrepreneurial then ever before.

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It’s up to us now to make the future. 

Bibliography

Connected Health: How digital technology is transforming health and social care. (2015). 1st ed. [ebook] Deloitte. Available at: https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/uk/Documents/life-sciences-health-care/deloitte-uk-connected-health.pdf [Accessed 30 Apr. 2017].

Tech Trends 2016: Innovating in the digital era. (2016). 1st ed. [ebook] Deloitte. Available at: https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/Technology/gx-tech-trends-2016-innovating-digital-era.pdf [Accessed 30 Apr. 2017].

The Global Information Technology Report 2016. (2016). 1st ed. [ebook] World Economic Forum. Available at: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/GITR2016/WEF_GITR_Full_Report.pdf [Accessed 30 Apr. 2017].

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