EVENT ROUNDUP - Why human connection should be at the heart of all technology

EVENT ROUNDUP - Why human connection should be at the heart of all technology

During London Tech Week 2019, Black Neon Digital, Fashion Roundtable and Central Working partnered to hold an inspiring event exploring; Why human connection should be at the heart of all technology and business.

Technology enables businesses to find their audience, test out products or creative ideas before launch or with little financial investment. Technology has revolutionised retail and pushed brands to rethink their entire business model.

Supply chain transparency, product personalisation, meaningful customer experiences and brand authenticity are key for customers and brands alike. But ultimately what is driving the current focus in fashion around these themes is human connection.

Technology has enabled incredible freedom through access to people and products, however we have found ourselves increasingly seeking intimate experiences with each other and the brands that align with our own values.  We want to build and buy from brands that have integrity.

Our incredible panellists produce very different work across a range of sectors, yet they are all motivated by creating an outcome that is driven by people and ensuring they are at the heart of all technology and business drivers.

Panellists listed below. Their biographies can be found on our previous event article.
Reema Patel, Co-founder Women Leading in AI and Programme Manager Ada Lovelace Institute
Steve Lidbury, Executive Principal at EightInc.
Zakee Shariff, artist, designer, healer
Leanne Elliott Young, Co-founder CommuneEast
Tracey Suen, Founding Director 50m
Tamara Cincik, CEO & Founder Fashion Roundtable
Moderated by Jodi Muter-Hamilton, Founder & CEO Black Neon Digital

Steve Lidbury, EightInc. #LTWHumanConnection

Steve Lidbury, EightInc. #LTWHumanConnection

In order to remain relevant as a brand, you have to understand the customer‘s desire for experience. This is why brands have to act as enablers, as connectors, as caregivers and as a holistic experience.
— Steve Lidbury, EightInc #LTWHumanConnection
Leanne Elliott-Young, Co-founder CommuneEast and Tracey Suen, Founding Director 50m #LTWHumanConnection

Leanne Elliott-Young, Co-founder CommuneEast and Tracey Suen, Founding Director 50m #LTWHumanConnection

Our IRL and URL realities are in conflict as they exist within their duality. Their union has been delivered by this technological revolution we sit within. The two spheres of reality have joined into a chorus of conundrums, as we struggle and race to align new strategies through business and lifestyle in order to back the exponential growth through these new territories. We are now in a time of technological and human existence as one. We exist within dichotomies on the possible futures we may be within.
— Leanne Elliott Young, CommuneEast #LTWHumanConnection
Reema Patel, Women Leading in AI & Ada Lovelace Institute #LTWHumanConnection

Reema Patel, Women Leading in AI & Ada Lovelace Institute #LTWHumanConnection

Zakee Shariff #LTWHumanConnection

Zakee Shariff #LTWHumanConnection

Human connection is everything to me. To be seen, acknowledged and witnessed to me is how we stay grounded in our dreams and visions and how we can have the faith and confidence to take risks in life.
— Zakee Shariff #LTWHumanConnection
Tamara Cincik, Fashion Roundtable #LTWHumanConnection

Tamara Cincik, Fashion Roundtable #LTWHumanConnection

The word ‘policy’ sounds like something scary that wise adults over there sort. But when we look at the mess of Austerity, Windrush and Brexit, it is clear that the adults might not be as wise as we would like. In fact policy comes down to having your voice heard, so you can best ensure that the laws of your land support your needs, at every level.
— Tamara Cincik, Fashion Roundtable #LTWHumanConnection
Jodi Muter-Hamilton, Black Neon Digital #LTWHumanConnection

Jodi Muter-Hamilton, Black Neon Digital #LTWHumanConnection

Technology has enabled global interaction with people, suppliers, brands and communities that only a few years ago would not have been possible. We demand brands to be transparent, just stating the country of origin on a garment label is no longer good enough. We want to know about the people behind the brand, the founders and their intentions and also know the people making our clothes are being fairly treated. We also want more than an online relationship, we want to be immersed in emotion and face-to-face experiences. From understanding the bias that can occur within algorithms due to a lack of diversity and inclusivity within the field of artificial intelligence to learning how we can make the fashion industry’s voice heard by policymakers, it is apparent how important it is to bring people together and creating a real connection. If we connect on a deep emotional level we understand people and can build genuine heart-led businesses.
— Jodi Muter-Hamilton, Black Neon Digital #LTWHumanConnection

Ema Provic who is studying BA Human Geography with International study attended our #LTWHumanConnection event and here’s how she found it..

The event had an impressive and diverse panel of CEO’s, designers and programme managers but what really drew me to attend was my intrigue of what the organisers meant by ‘true connectivity’. I wanted to know how in our evermore interconnected, online world ‘true connectivity’ looked. I immediately booked my ticket and was excited at the prospect of hearing experts discuss how they thought ‘people, ethical practices and sustainability should be at the heart of technology and innovation.

 The panellists eloquently answered individual questions focusing mainly on how we can use technology in an ethical way to ensure that it works best for all people in society and how it can be applied to areas like the fashion industry to make it more efficient and as sustainable as possible. As an individual my main area of interest is sustainability and ethical production and consumption so I was particularly enthralled by the discussion on modern slavery and consumer consciousness. It was clear and refreshingly hopeful to hear that companies and businesses are genuinely focusing on changing the ways in which they produce products, the impacts they are having on the planet and that they are carefully using impressive technology and data to ensure that they are reducing their CO2 levels and following strict policy and legislation. It was enriching to hear the panel discuss topics such as sustainability from different frameworks and perspectives. We heard the political side of sustainability from Tamara Cincik the founder of Fashion Roundtable who works closely with politicians to discuss concerns around the future of the fashion industry but also directly from businesses and individuals such as Zakee Shariff, a designer who views sustainability and ethics as paramount to her craft. Furthermore, all the panellists also offered essential advice on how individuals and businesses could make changes in the way we live and/or work to truly become more sustainable and use technology to help us achieve these goals. I remember we were given an inspiring recommendation to use our voice to demand change from larger companies and from the government where we see room for improvement.

 Hearing such diverse but equally relevant perspectives for me felt like an essential part of the evening. It was in the diversity of knowledge and voices that the clearest picture of what the problems are and how we can solve them was formed. It was through the diversity in the room that I understood ‘why true connectivity should be at the heart of all technology’ and how this can be used to improve our lives and the fashion industry.

 The event was enriching, exciting and most of all essential. Everyone who attended definitely left with more knowledge than when they entered and I’m sure are eager to attend other events. If you haven’t, come along and become connected; you never know you may just learn something.

Thanks to all our amazing panellists, Ema Provic for your event review, Sarah McDowell for photos and Central Working, especially Anca for our wonderful venue!

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LONDON TECH WEEK x BLACK NEON DIGITAL X FASHION ROUNDTABLE X CENTRAL WORKING: Why human connection should be at the heart of technology

LONDON TECH WEEK x BLACK NEON DIGITAL X FASHION ROUNDTABLE X CENTRAL WORKING: Why human connection should be at the heart of technology