Thinking Digital - team take outs

  We had the privilege of providing PR support to Thinking Digital this year.

Two of the team attended. Here's PR Consultant David Brookbank's take on day two of the conference. 

One of the best things about attending conferences is the ability to switch your brain off from your day-to-day routine and just learn. 

I, like many other people, am guilty of not giving myself enough thinking time but for one day I put my brain in the capable hands of Herb Kim and his team of speakers at the final day of the Thinking Digital 2015 conference.

As a PR and marketer I went expecting lots of inspirational thoughts and ideas about how I can use digital technologies to better serve my clients. 

That was one aspect of the conference but there was an altogether more important message, and that was how digital can better serve humanity.

From robotic surgery to disaster relief, developments in the digital sector are transforming lives.  

Dr. Catherine Mohr, Vice President of Medical Research at Intuitive Surgical in the US, talked in detail about how products like the da Vinci surgical robot – which she played in key role in creating – has transformed the surgical experience for millions of patients across the world. Its delicate instruments are able to do the job of a surgeon’s hand causing only small entry points on the body.

Patrick Meier, a Humanitarian Technologist, used digital technologies and crowdsourcing to revolutionise crisis early warning and humanitarian response. When his wife was in Haiti during the devastating 2010 earthquake and Patrick was unable to reach her, he took to social media and established media sources to develop an interactive map that provided a real-time picture of the devastation on the ground.

Tara Shears, a particle physicist at Liverpool University and Liverpool’s representative at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland, explained how advancements in digital technology is telling us more about our world than ever before. I think I’d be doing her a disservice by trying to explain it here so you’ll have to take my word for it – it was fascinating.

It was refreshing to stop thinking about digital technologies as just another marketing tool and really appreciate the bigger picture.

Ian Wharton, Group Creative Director at AKQA, gave one of the most marketing-orientated presentations at today’s conference. He put a lot of emphasis on supporting creative ambition and putting a stop to the barriers that prevent us from achieving great things. His message was that ridiculous beats rational, which is a fantastic thought to finish on.

The things I will take away from my Thinking Digital experience are that all ideas are valid and we should pursue them with passion and intensity. 

Never stop asking questions; our education is never over, and champion the team around you - it’s not all about you.