IncrediblEurope Day 2

Selma We started at 8 with a half hour of what I was informed was the Morning Waltz – which seemed to me like Pilates to Strauss waltzes. Interesting to be sitting on a chair doing flow exercises in a building where Johan Strauss taught Vienna to waltz.. The first session of the morning was about food. The bit which really got my attention was a section on the accoustics of fresh food by the CEO of Honey and Bunny – a husband and wife team of food designers. In conversation I discovered that Vienna has its own vegetable orchestra! My own interest was that if the sound of food being prepared or eaten has such strong resonances then why isn't it being used more as part of soundscapes and music. Watch this space – time to experiment I think!

The main morning session featured a range of design entrepreneurs. I very much enjoyed Julai Cassim of the Royal College of Art who has developed a whole method of co-creating products with the disabled not merely because it is a better way to design products FOR the disabled but because the disabled have a unique sensibility about how products should be used which makes them a great asset to a design process.  I was also intrigued by Friedrich Wille who started life as a chartered accountant and then reinvented himself as the CEO and creative director of a chain of jewellery stores. Frey Wille. I got a chance to take a look at these stores in Vienna airport on the way home.

The next session on industry and creativity seemed to get bogged down in familiar themes of businesses not being creative enough and creatives not being commercial enough. This much we knew – the challenge was to find ways to get somewhere new.

After lunch two facilitators from Bindslev in Denmark ran a facilitation session to see what people had got out of the IncrediblEurope event – new business, inspiration, reputation or links. The Links group proved hard to dislodge because they were so busy networking..  what followed was an exercise for the whole event to select goals for IncrediblEurope to follow in the coming years. Getting feedback from 100 or more people in 15 minutes is a tall order but somehow we managed it. And with that the event concluded.

I spent the rest of the day with Selma Prodanovic the founder of IncrediblEurope, Jillian de Beer, and Mirko Ilic. In the early evening we visited the Start event as the young entrepreneurs gathered their teams and started a weekend of preparing pitch presentations. Its hard to summarise quite what its like to attend an event like this which moves at a whirlwind pace. At one level it is thoroughly local and I appreciated getting a central European perspective on marketing and innovation from the ground up. At another level it was remarkable to meet so many creative people from all around the world, the small scale of IncrediblEurope makes all the speakers and delegates very accessible. The really interesting thing for me was to get a chance to network with creatives away from my own home territory of communications and market research. It really stretched me. The event is testament to the imagination of Selma Prodanovic, Ab Kuijer and Miriam David.

I'll be following with other posts related to some of the people I met.

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