Events of the Future

How we perceive events has dramatically changed over the past twelve months, now is the time to consider how to build on the positive elements of this transformation. Organisations and delegates that previously dismissed virtual events, now embrace them and are open to a new way of thinking. Collaborating with out-of-region companies was previously seen as time consuming and expensive, but technology has busted this myth and made links far stronger. In this session we look at the opportunity, the areas for development and how innovation can drive events of the future.


Graeme Miller

Innovation Manager at the Innovation SuperNetwork

With a degree in Business Systems and IT, Graeme started his career in the commercial world of recruitment before moving into business support. With experience working across all five regional universities, the public and private sectors and a role with the North East Satellite Application Centre, he has significant strength of knowledge across the regional innovation landscapes.

Professor Lars Holmquist

Professor of Innovation at Northumbria University, Department of Design

He is an internationally leading researcher in human computer interaction, interaction design and ubiquitous computing. He has published over 100 articles in fields such as HCI, design methods, mobile applications and ubicomp, which have been cited more than 3500 times. His work has been presented at major scientific conferences including CHI, SIGGRAPH, UIST, UbiComp, Mobile HCI, InfoVis and ECSCW. His first book, Grounded Innovation: Strategies for Creating Digital Products, was published by Morgan Kaufman in 2012, and provides a practical guide to the design-driven innovation process, with many examples drawn from his own research and elsewhere. He was most recently a Guest Researcher at Tokyo University, where he is worked on his second book. Before this, he was a Principal Scientist at Yahoo Labs in Sunnyvale, CA, where he did research in areas such as location-based services, interactive television and augmented reality.

Jeni Smith

Founder and Networking Strategist at Networking KnoWho

Jeni is passionate about connecting people. When people come together powerful things happen: relationships are built, knowledge is shared and sparks of innovation are fired.

With fourteen years’ experience in the networking industry, Jeni now teaches networking skills and creates networking strategies to help people come together and build effective, long-term relationships. During her career she has won a number of awards in enterprise including being named within the ‘Future 100 Young Entrepreneurs’ in the UK in 2010, and ‘Growth Accelerator Programme’ winner 2012. Results from academic research done with Durham University spurred her on to launch Networking KnoWho, a new networking consultancy, to help individuals and businesses become more confident, efficient and strategic networkers.

Paul Szomoru

Director of Business Events at NewcastleGateshead Initiative

Director of Business Events at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Paul Szomoru leads the NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau and is responsible for bringing strategically important business events, conferences, and meetings to the region.  He sits on the Core Cities destination management group and has held non-exec board positions with the Meetings Industry Association (MIA) and the Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP).

The NewcastleGateshead Convention Bureau was established in 2000, and works in partnership with hotels, venues, and support service providers, as well as universities and inward investment teams, to attract business events that align with the sector strengths and economic ambitions of the region. Business events play a vital role in attracting influential, national, and international audiences and raises our regions profile as a place to do business. They also generate £150m a year of revenue for the businesses of NewcastleGateshead and support thousands of jobs.