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Digital Leaders’ Local Conference – BBC MediaCity - November 2015

MD of Whiston Solutions Paul Whiston speaking at the DL Local Conference

Digital Leaders’ Local Conference – BBC MediaCity - November 2015

In the world of ever-evolving digital markets, it is important to meet the expectations and demands of tomorrow. The Digital Leaders’ (DL) Local Conference is an event designed to bring together digital leaders from various regions to ignite innovative thinking.

Last November, in our role as a Digital Leader South East regional partner, we attended a day of planning and networking at the Digital Leaders’ Local Conference in association with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). We exchanged best practices and learnt about experiences from other digital leaders across the UK. It gave us a great opportunity to create alliances with different regions and work together as partners of the DL’s national programme.

We were hosted in Manchester at the BBC new state of the art premises in MediaCity, Salford Quays, which has quickly grown into the waterfront destination hub for creative digital teams from around the country. The conference was engaging, interactive, and inspiring. We worked on several team activities and learnt about emerging development ideas which would set the theme for the coming year.

The session brought together the regional leaders and steering groups from the 12 local regions within the UK. Our core team encompasses South East England. The programme was specially designed to allow senior decision makers belonging to various sectors to become involved with the strategies of digital transformation. This would allow them in future to deliver confident, sensible policy and develop innovative services.

With a crowded marketplace, the conference provided us some unique value points and was represented by cross sector decision makers, including Government, private, academia and third sector. The meeting did not exclude any key segment of the potential audience. Instead, it widened the expert base by allowing all the various siloes to participate. As the Digital Leaders platform is not aligned to a specific commercial perspective, business model, or set of technologies it can therefore provide harmonious stability across the sectors.

We received a demonstration from the BBC latest education initiative – BBC Micro:bit. It is a pocket sized codeable computer which will be issued free of cost to all year seven students (11/12  year olds) within the country. The aim of this policy is to inspire the youth to become creative with digital enhancement and develop their core STEM skills.

The conference audience represented true geographical diversity; we were able to engage in conversations with decision makers and strategic partners from across the country. This event was free to attend, but required an invitation to allow for a true cross section.

During the programme, Rachel Neaman, Chairperson of Digital Leaders, gave an overview of the national agenda and listed DL’s recent achievements, which included the launch of a national charity, Go-ON UK. The charity was created to help the local community improve their basic digital skills, provide confidence and open new opportunities using digital technology.

Claire Stocks, Head of Interactive for BBC Children’s, was the guest speaker. She spoke passionately on the BBCs plans for including children in their digital drive and enabling them to be a part of a progressive nation. So far the BBC has delivered over 40 digital interactive channels just for children.  The traditional TV watching practices of set programme times are now being replaced with an on-demand interactive culture.

The Digital Leaders Local Conference is all about encouraging best practices and the policies that work. It also incorporates grass-root level learning and digital engagement to help the future generations.

Digital Leaders conferences brings out the best leaders in and around UK as it is not related to a specific technology, but believes in sharing experience, expertise, and know how. The programme cuts through political, commercial, and geographical boundaries and unites technology and real world challenges to achieve results.


Our views

The conference buzzed with optimism; both the speakers and audience members radiated a positive energy. The programme had a motivational spirit and we felt we were able to freely share ideas, experiences and debate various subjects amongst our policy making peers. The knowledge we gathered has strengthened our objectives in promoting a collaborative digital world.


Video link which summarises the Conference: