Seven Stories set to drive innovation

30 October 2019


Next month’s flagship innovation conference, VentureFest North East will bring over 800 businesses together to hear from a wealth of leading innovators who will inspire delegates through a series of talks and workshops, as well as encouraging them to form new connections and work collaboratively.

Now in its sixth year, the popular event that takes place in central Newcastle has teamed up with Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books to deliver a unique workshop for delegates that will show them how to apply the basic plots of storytelling to drive forward innovation within their organisation.

The National Centre, which is named after the seven plotlines on which every story is based, has devised a practical, interactive workshop called ‘Seven Stories of Innovation’ which will help businesses of all sizes assess what their challenges to innovation are and encourage them to take steps to overcome them.

John Beattie, Business Development Manager, Seven Stories said: “We are really looking forward to bringing innovative story-telling to the delegates at VentureFest North East.

“It might sound a little strange to link the plot lines of many great stories to the skills needed to run a business but there are number of synergies.  There are seven plots that all stories are based on – comedy, tragedy, rebirth, voyage and return, rags to riches, overcoming the monster and the quest.

“When organisations start to grow and innovate, they can try to be all things to all people which can often result in comedy, with the risk of turning into a tragedy as they quickly overstretch themselves. Taking stock, and critically assessing strengths and weaknesses can provide an opportunity for the rebirth of an organisation’s innovation strategy. We use examples from famous stories such as Alice in Wonderland, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Jane Eyre and The Secret Garden to really bring the content to life and get people engaged.

“Once businesses go through the reflection stage which is where they work out what went wrong and how they can improve, which is often a painful experience, they will come out the other side and find themselves on a quest. This is the point where they can truly embed innovation into their business model. We are confident that this workshop will empower businesses of all sizes to let innovation in and make it an ingrained part of their culture.”

Estelle Blanks, Executive Director at the Innovation SuperNetwork that plan and deliver VentureFest North East, said: “It is important that we are always creating new experiences for our delegates at VentureFest North East. By ‘walking the walk’ and innovating we can bring fresh, ground-breaking content to businesses. We feel that this collaboration with Seven Stories will present the audience with something truly unique, that will make them think about how they can run their business in a different way by looking at it through the lens of a storyteller.

“We are confident that this will be a really interactive workshop and are grateful to the team at Seven Stories for putting together something that is quirky, fun but most importantly will show delegates how they can make innovation an integral part of their business.”

The workshop will be delivered by John Beattie and Natasha Baniahmad, Creative Associate for Seven Stories.

The VentureFest programme has been developed to be interactive and to enhance many of the elements previous delegates have rated amongst their favourites. This includes a focus on making the most of the events networking potential, the Innovation Showcase plus introducing a series of live Innovation Challenges that take place over the course of the day. The event pulls together several thematic strands including innovation leadership and innovative story telling. These strands not only provide dedicated content for those working in these fields, but cross-sector learning that any delegate can apply to their own organisations.

The event takes place on Thursday 28th November 2019 at St James’ Park, Newcastle. The event is FREE to attend and is one way in which the Innovation SuperNetwork provides North East businesses with a platform to innovate, collaborate and grow. Registrations are now open at

VentureFest North East is part of the wider Innovation SuperNetwork programme, developed with around 60 partner organisations to support innovation in the North East. The SuperNetwork is supported by the North East LEP, Northumbrian Water Group, Engie, Reece Innovation, North East BIC and Innovate UK, with part-funding from the European Regional Development Fund. 

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