FinovateEurope 2011 – an Innovative Experience!
So – Finovate Europe is over, things are calming down slightly and I've finally had some time to reflect on the event, its format and content. Finovate is not the 'usual' type of conference and as this is the first time it has been run in Europe people keep asking me what it was like – the obvious word that comes to mind is ‘intense’!
Firstly the format, 35 demos in 4 sessions + 2 full attendee networking sessions in a single day ... and the entire event finished 6 minutes AHEAD of schedule. The pace meant there was never a dull moment, not that there were any boring presentations – you have to be on the ball given 7 minutes to demo real products; this is no PowerPoint hell. Chris Skinner did an excellent job of marshalling and introducing the presenters, as well as having the occasional light hearted poke at technology malfunctions.
I wasn’t really sure what technologies were going to be presented, but oh boy the range was diverse - ranging from social networked systems like eTorro’s social trade tracking and Fidor’s crowd source loan funds (I have some mates that do that already!!), through systems to ease payments in up-coming economies, such as Tag-It and Boku. Not to forget a BI and security related technologies such as Cardlytics and SecureKey etc. Also, advances in how we might receive our future credit card bills, plus the inevitable PFMs.
Of course our own presentation went well! The run up was a little stressful given the many number of things that could go wrong but James took it in his stride and gave an eloquent and purposeful pitch that obviously got our points across – judging by the number of visitors to the networking stand who really understood the proposition. Although James claimed he wasn’t stressed the smile looked more believable after a beer.
I genuinely thought it was great, the energy and enthusiasm demonstrated by all the participants to enable new market sectors and relieve existing business problems through innovation and fresh thinking is enlightening.... and, surely it’s right to encourage innovation by demonstrating innovation? This kind of smorgasbord of demo organisations was obviously a highly motivating environment, which is a huge pat on the back to the event organisers. So much time and effort goes into these from organisers and participants alike and yet, in my experience, it’s rare to find the kind of buzz that was created in London last week.
So – if you get the chance – keep Finovate on your radar as an event to be involved with. Expect a high level of professionalism and supportive involvement from the organisers – who are absolutely focused on making the event and all elements of it, the best they can be. Clearly, innovation isn’t just for those who are presenting... but when it’s evident in the event format itself it brings something just a bit different to the occasion.