Daniel Dagher, Founder and Client partner, Bray St. discusses why from his perspective the Financial Times Global Boardroom 2020 was a resounding success.

If like me you spent the last week glued to your screen in awe at the FT’s digital conference, with speakers from every corner of the globe including names like Justin Trudeau, Ed Bastain (Delta Airlines), and Gillian Tans (Booking.com); then you’ll know what I mean when I say I was hooked.

The conference, which took place 11-13 November was my first experience of attending a completely remote, digital event. I planned to jump into a few sessions and keynote events like I usually would at a physical conference, but instead, I found myself in back to back sessions soaking up every insight.

“The format provides equal opportunity to a larger global audience. The prohibitive factors for entrepreneurs and start-up’s such as cost and location are removed and in turn opens the door for growth” 

Five Things I Learnt From the Financial Times Global Boardroom 2020

Here are my top 5 key take aways:

  1. Increased engagement and a higher calibre of speakers delivered an optimum learning environment. The digital conference format provided a greater way for the audience to engage with the speakers, including valuable Q&A sections with guaranteed time allotted to each facilitator. The fear that comes with asking questions in public was gone, which meant more detailed questions were asked, as audience members were able to prepare relevant questions from the comfort of their own homes. This matched with the breadth of topics and the notable calibre of speakers that were able to attend due to the digital setting resulted in a highly engaging event that was captivating and informative.
  2. Digital is no longer just a buzz word but is a business norm. Investment in digital technologies across all industries was highlighted as being at an all-time high in 2020, from digital ecosystem creation, software integration through to renewable energy investment. Businesses that were fearful of working remotely have now opened their minds to the idea, embracing technology which can drive growth while still ensuring high performance and security. As I run a cloud-based agency working with technology brands all over the world, you can imagine my excitement when even the most traditional organisations and industries are embracing the digital format and succeeding.
  3. The tourism industry is capitalising on the opportunity. Post-pandemic travel will be greener and more sustainable. Having started my career in the tourism industry, working with the government on travel policy and comms, hearing that the global travel industry shares a general consensus that rushing a return to work at the detriment to the environment is not an option. A recovery that may take years rather than quarters will deliver an increasingly efficient and sustainable future for the industry. Not just in its environmental impact, but costs associated with delivery.
  4. A sustainable future is a shared goal. Building back better for a sustainable future is truly a shared belief for business. Speakers from a wide range of industry sectors and every corner of the globe spoke about the technological improvements to their business models, for example Hybrid working models, increased digital integration and investment into alternate fuels such Green Hydrogen.
  5. The power is with the audience. The power truly fell into the audience’s hand, the traditional conference setting has moved into an on-demand model that allowed us, the audience, to take control of our viewing and learning. As mentioned earlier, I stretched the conference out to two weeks’ worth of viewing and was therefore able to enjoy at least 90% of the event agenda.  Gone are the days of running room to room trying to fit all your top events into one weekend.

Continuous learning,a commitment to sustainability and equal opportunity is at the core of what makes Bray St. unique, they are our values. The Bray St. team logged on and engaged with sessions that peaked their own personal and professional interests which prompted discussion about the future of our work. As the knowledge learnt applies to our clients and our own business.

Two weeks after the conference I am still logging in and catching up on bookmarked sessions and speaking to my network (if they want to hear about it or not).

 

Will the digital conference setting replace the traditional model?

In a learning environment setting, I doubt it will replace it, but I do hope it becomes a regular supplementary option. As now the playing field is levelled, large organisations can share insights as they always would but now smaller start-ups and SME organisations get to share in the insights too.

The digital conference format allows the insights and experience of the world’s best to be shared amongst all. Providing equal opportunity and accessibility to a larger global audience.

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