Innovision celebrates innovation at Great Festival

Over 1,500 people joined the Great Festival of Innovation in Hong Kong to hear from 160 world leading experts and enjoy over 25 showcases of innovative new businesses, ideas and technology.

Conceptualised and developed by event and experience agency, Innovision – working to a brief from the Department for International Trade – the Great Festival brought to life the Government’s long standing GREAT campaign. Objectives were to drive a provocative debate on the future of different industries and forge closer trading links between the UK and Asia.

Across four days in March 2018, the Great Festival of Innovation celebrated collaboration and support between British and Asian businesses, governments, cultural and educational institutions. Taking place at the Asia Society, a former British Army explosives magazine, the venue was transformed to allow multiple speaker sessions, arts performances and live events to take place all at the same time, including across specially built additional stages and venues.

Launched by our Secretary of State for International Trade, The Rt Hon Liam Fox MP, with speakers from across Asia, including founder and chairman of the Sanpower Group Yuan Yafei; exclusive screenings of record breaking British TV exports BBC’s Top Gear and Blue Planet; an exploration into new robot technologies showing how scaled-down machinery could transform food production by doing away with the need for big farm machinery; and even an art installation from Bompas and Parr allowing delegates to experience the London sky line paired with a gin and tonic infused fog.

Claudia Douglass, managing director, Innovision, explains: “Debating the business, technological and cultural disruptions and changes that are needed to embrace the future successfully is a fascinating, yet vast, subject area. Our challenge was to look for meaningful opportunities that evolve further the UK’s reputation as a leader in innovation, against a backdrop of cultural excellence – from food to music to art. The ultimate aim of the Great Festival is to create a legacy for thriving collaborations between the UK and Asia. It’s been a privilege to see the Festival serve as an incubator for excellence that has generated new ideas and formed new partnerships.”

Future concepts explored at the Festival include companion robots to monitor the vital signs of the elderly; vertical villages with arable farming taking place several storeys into the sky and plants fed using nitrogen converted from car exhaust emissions; new drone delivery systems to reduce congestion on roads; product design taking place via gaming-style virtual reality technology; and how embroidered metals can be used as circuitry in washable fabrics to pioneer medical care.

Featuring keynotes speeches, panel debates, masterclasses and a cultural programme bringing together both iconic and up-and-coming talent, the Great Festival supported the UK Government’s mission to boost trade. The invitation-only Festival was attended by CEOs, entrepreneurs, founders, academics, policy makers, Government officials and UK Ministers of over 800 organisations looking for new opportunities and investment. Organisations represented include HSBC, British Airways, PwC, Bloomberg, Fortnum and Mason, BT, De Montfort University, the Young Vic theatre, Blippar, Nissan, Ordnance Survey, Darktrace, MTR Corporation, PriestmanGoode and more.

The Festival also featured a day dedicated to learning with content from seven partner universities. Highlighting the partnership between universities and industry in the quest to research new ideas, develop new technology and push boundaries, the ‘learn’ day of the Festival was attended by UK and Asian students.

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