Online Influence Cardiff (#oi15): panel recap

On Thursday, 7th May Cardiff played host to the Online Influence Conference 2015.  Whilst the rest of the UK was busy deciding whether it was a #Milifandom, a #Cameronette or neither, the attendees in Cardiff were treated to a day of thought-provoking speaker sessions, invaluable networking opportunities and the chance to learn more from the companies at the forefront of social, mobile and innovation.
In case you were not able to attend, or needed to leave before the end, here is a quick summary of the topics discussed when the 5 (later to become 6!) experts came together for the event’s closing panel. Using our own platform, we looked at the social media coverage for the panel:
topic wheel cardiff event
Future of Tech?
The panel first discussed the future evolution of social media techniques which will integrate into the makeup of the modern business.  Andrew Grill from IBM emphasised the point that businesses need to become more social.  By using technology to facilitate a more connected organism whereby data is shared continually by colleagues.  This sharing of data and knowledge will increase employee productivity; not through working longer hours, but by working smarter.
Mike Bevans of Yahoo added that for Millennials using tech to freely share information comes as second nature.  The challenge is to persuade those at the C-suite level to adopt change or risk certain decline.  Crimson’s Luke Moore was confident that these barriers will be overcome as long as the board can see its positive influence on the financial figures.  This is, after all, the language they speak.  The technology around social has advanced from the ‘vanity metrics’ and is now capable of measuring the weighty metrics that go towards impacting ROI.
Social Business vs Social Government?
With lots of employees from the public sector in the audience, the discussion moved on to how using social in a business differed from using it in government.  The panel saw the public sector now as being in the same place that brands were in 5 years ago; swamped with data and unsure how to best harness it.
Jeremy Waite from Salesforce reminded that 90% of all interactions in healthcare are face-to-face and that every 1% reduction in face-to-face contact could save the taxpayer up to £200m.
The panel encouraged all public sector workers to embrace social innovation as there are immense gains to be had.  Social is about breaking down those traditional barriers and being able to really listen to the people and what they want from their government.  It’s predicted that, in the not so distant future, government policy making and feedback will in part be done via social.
Imagine if #GE2015 had been run via social?  Would it have been more engaging?  Would more have voted?  Equally, what are the new risks that emerge by allowing an election vote to be carried out through social media?
The presence of women in business?
A special moment then occurred when Miranda Bishop, quite rightly, asked why there were no women on the panel given that female workers account for a large proportion of the industry.  Andrew Grill responded by giving up his seat on the panel and inviting Miranda to take his place.
Miranda, from the panel, then went on to say that women need to see more female members at C-suite level acting as role models and inspiring the future generations of women entering tech industries.  Investment in female-led companies should too be promoted.  She also emphasised that in the current business world, the successful female is the “alpha-female”, a term she hates.  To be a successful business woman you shouldn’t have to exhibit male characteristics.
Advice for your 23 year old self?

To wrap up and going forward, what advice would the panel give to the audience and their 23 year old self?  An absolutely crucial skill is to be digitally literate and Jeremy went on to say that there is massive labour shortage for those who can code.  For any 13 year old he would advise them to learn how to code as it’s a skill that will stand them in very good stead.
Finally, Mike Evans compared the major difference between Europe and America being that here, the fear of failure for an individual is far greater.  Mike, himself American, noted that in Silicon Valley you’ll be hard pushed to find anyone that hasn’t failed at least once.  The key is to learn from failure and not fear it.
More events like #oi15, extending out to other regions of the UK and Europe, will only help those in their respective industries to catch up and lead the world into the “new” social age.
For more detail on the day we recommend catching up on #oi15 – it was trending most of the day during Election day, so definitely some great content on there!

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