A View From The Summit

Sarah Finch
Staff Writer & Content Editor at D/SRUPTION

What can we expect from Disruption Summit Europe 2019? D/SRUPTION’s CEO gives us a sneak peek into Europe’s foremost business innovation and technology conference

Disruption Summit Europe, back in September for its third year and bigger than ever, will see 750 change leaders come together to discuss what it takes for organisations to thrive today – and in the future. With preparation for the event well underway, it’s time to find out what’s in store for attendees…

D/SRUPTION Founder and CEO Rob Prevett takes us behind the scenes and highlights his top picks from this year’s Summit.

Third time’s a charm

The third iteration of Disruption Summit Europe will see some significant changes from previous years. More speakers, more delegates, and an updated focus on the challenges businesses are facing right now will give attendees the tools they need to combat disruption. For Rob Prevett, this coincides with a particular emphasis on the act of digital transformation.

“This year the focus of the Summit is very much on how to be truly disruptive,” he says, “so how to implement digital transformation. It’s an undeniable fact that the businesses of today need to embrace change. The world around them is very dynamic and too many are too slow to react. So this year’s event is very much focused around the changes – the technology, the business models and the cultures – that need to change for businesses to be successful in the future.”

Change, growth, exchange

The overarching theme for this year’s Summit – and a guiding principle at the heart of D/SRUPTION – is the convergence of Technology, Innovation and Purpose. These concepts embody what all organisations need to be successful in the future: a willingness to adopt new technologies and business innovations, and the presence of an authentic purpose behind everything that they do.

Delegates will be able to explore this theme at Disruption Summit 2019 via the means of three distinct conference tracks: Change, Growth and Exchange. Specifically designed to support the needs of corporate, SME and public sector audiences, Prevett is confident that these tracks will provide something for everyone.

“When we look at the problems faced by the established organisations that we talk to, the biggest challenge they have is change,” he says. “It’s coming from everywhere. So our Change track really looks at the companies and individuals that are driving change within their industries: to find out how they’re overcoming those challenges, how they are adapting to new entrants to the market, to new technologies, and to new ways of doing things.”

“The second track is all about Growth,” Prevett continues, “and there we focus on the startups and scale-ups that are disrupting industry sectors. We’re really asking the question, what does it take to disrupt an established business?”

The Disruption50 Index

A central part of this year’s conference are the results of the inaugural Disruption50 Index, a programme to identify the most disruptive organisations in the UK. The Disruption50 finalists will be available to meet delegates, and many of them will speak in the Growth track throughout the day.

“We’ve got some fantastic startups and scale-ups within the 50 that have been indexed across a whole range of industry sectors, from insurance through to healthcare,” says Prevett.

“Given that one of the key themes of the Summit is Purpose – I’m really pleased to see the number of companies that have come up with solutions to make a positive difference to the world.”

Going public

The final track at the Summit – Exchange – will focus on the public sector. New for this year, the agenda for this track will transmit the learnings of some of the country’s largest institutions to help bridge the gap between public and private organisations.

“We are bringing in individuals from government departments, from local government, from the NHS, to share their learnings and demonstrate how private businesses can learn from what the public sector is doing,” says Prevett.

“In lots of ways, the public sector has very similar challenges to the private sector. This is particularly apparent in large scale transformation projects, where they’re dealing with huge amounts of data – and in many cases quite sensitive data – and they’re having to work around big legacy systems. It’s the same that can be said in the banking sector and in the health sector, for example.”

“There’s an awful lot to be learned from exchanging ideas between public and private organisations. We’re really excited about this track this year, as it brings in a whole new audience to the event.”

A unique opportunity

Securing your ticket to Disruption Summit Europe will put you in the midst of a unique mix of change leaders, from heads of innovation, technology, and strategy at large corporates, to disruptive startups and scale-ups, and those leading large scale change programmes in the public sector. This diverse range of attendees, according to Prevett, is the standout characteristic of the event – and something you won’t find anywhere else…

“I’ve always believed that there’s a huge amount to be gained by looking outside of your company, outside of your industry, and really learning from what others are doing,” he says.

“Technology is moving things so quickly now that it’s not good enough just to look around your boardroom, or even to look at your industry, for the answers. There’s so much to be learned from what others are doing. When you bring together this variety of industry sectors, of sizes of organisation, of different job roles – that cross section and diversity of ideas is where the magic happens.”

On your bike

Of all the fantastic speakers, panel sessions and exhibitors at Disruption Summit Europe this year, a few really stand out. One of these is CEO of Brompton Bicycles, Will Butler-Adams, who – fresh off the back of the DisruptionX study tour to Brompton in July – will talk about how to be truly collaborative in business.

“We’re really excited about this,” says Prevett. “Will has steered the company through quite difficult times to now become the UK’s largest exporter of bikes.”

“We recently ran the first event in our DisruptionX experience programme with Brompton where we took 20 business leaders from organisations across the UK to spend a day with Will and his team, really learning about how they’ve adapted to some of the challenges around mobility, disruption, and particularly collaboration.”

“We heard about how Brompton developed a collaborative innovation partnership with the Williams Formula 1 team to develop their folding electric bike. They couldn’t solve the problem of how you make an electric bike light, so they went to someone who makes very light things that go very fast… He’ll be sharing these insights at the Summit.”

Experience is everything

The Brompton study tour and the DisruptionX programme as a whole embody the concept of knowledge sharing which is so central to successful business in the 21st century. This carries through to this year’s Summit with more interactive sessions for delegates throughout the day.

As Prevett states, “by coming along this year you’ll have the opportunity to share experiences at one of our roundtable sessions, or develop your skills in one of our workshop sessions. From innovating at scale, to chatbots, to addressing the problem of single use plastics we’ve curated a wide range of content to appeal to our diverse audience.”

Other highlights on the day include Rannia Leontaridi, Director of Business Growth at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on innovating at scale; Cemal Ezel, Founder of Change Please – the socially conscious coffee brand; and Geoff White, who returns to the Summit with a new live cybersecurity show which promises to blow the audiences’ minds…

With all of this – and more – in store, Disruption Summit Europe 2019 is definitely not to be missed. So, what are you doing on 10th September? Europe’s foremost business innovation and technology conference will take place at 133 Houndsditch, London. We hope to see you there.

For more information on the event and to secure your place, visit disruption-summit.com

Sarah Finch
Staff Writer & Content Editor at D/SRUPTION