“Doing it Differently” Innovation Conference 2016

Returning for the second year the conference, held at the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre on the University of Lincoln’s Brayford Campus, provided firms with an opportunity to network, build business support and access unique tips on innovation and competitive strategies. Organiser Sue Cadd, Innovation Manager for the University of Lincoln, said: “We are working to expand the Lincolnshire economy and spread the word of how great the county is. The purpose of the event is to inspire businesses and celebrate their success. The aim was for delegates to go away and include some of the things in their own business or think differently.”

Neomi Bennett, creator of Neoslip, spoke about how her idea came from a university project, which continued to grow, and whilst she remained in her position as a district nurse, she also went on to develop her product. She said: “It’s all about confidence and self belief. If you spend too much time focusing on the negative comments from people, you might as well not bother. You have to be really strong minded. Now, when someone who uses the product calls us up it makes it worth it.”

Key speaker Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer at Microsoft, kept delegates engaged by explaining how businesses’ relationship with technology needs to change. He said: “We have our relationship with technology the wrong way round. We have reached this wonderful time where the technology has kind of taken control. I’ve been trying to remind people that we control the technology, we’re the ones pushing the buttons. Actually there are amazing things that can happen if we just get it in the right place.”

Benjamin Mee took a different approach. The author of the hit novel and Hollywood film We Bought A Zoo looked at how one of the biggest challenges to a company is people. He believes that there is a strong message from his book. “It is one of perseverance and determination. It comes back to not giving up. If you stay true to the values you set out with, and your motives are sincere, then you have a good chance of success. Many businesses are just academic money making exercises, but if you are passionate, then it gives you an extra edge, and greater reserves when the going gets tough.”