Very Interesting North

Planning to go Interesting North in Sheffield (13 Nov), “a one dayer of interesting, unexpected and original”. There’s no shortage of free networking opportunities in Manchester, but the content at IN is worth travelling for. And well worth the £20 fee.

As mentioned previously, I struggle to see how traditional conferences can charge much more than this for a menu of speaker + speaker + panel discussion + networking coffee break. IN works out at not much more than a quid a speaker, and I’m sure I’ll leave with a notebook full of ideas and contacts.

Expect to see more of this type of Mass Mingling With Purpose, as traditional conferences price themselves out of the market and job insecurity forces people to get out there and mix. I also like the Pecha Kucha format (20 images, 20 seconds each).

I interviewed Lorenzo Fluxà, the founder of Camper, the Spanish footwear brand, in 2002. His idea, part of a broader social engagement programme for the business, was to host an annual event, inviting 50 or so inspirational business/social leaders from around the world to spend a week at a Majorcan finca. In the mornings, the guests would break into groups to brainstorm solutions to social problems; in the afternoon, they would teach/talk groups of local schoolchildren. Meaningful networking, ideas generation and educational. A winner of every level.

It hasn’t happened. Maybe Manchester can nick the idea.

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