Designing the conference

Local businesses and innovation experts are being invited to help shape content for this year’s VentureFest North East, using EventMovement. The free online platform, developed by digital civics researchers at Newcastle University, allows communities to propose, design and plan events, and is now being used to put delegates in control of a new People’s Choice part of the VentureFest North East programme.

Each autumn the regional innovation conference gathers together hundreds of entrepreneurs, innovators and investors to explore current issues and new ideas relating to innovation with a range of leading experts.

Based on feedback from previous events, the overarching theme for the session will be emerging technologies. Opinions are now being sought on specific topics and questions businesses would like to address.

Estelle Blanks, Deputy Director at the Innovation SuperNetwork which delivers VentureFest, said: “Emerging technologies affect us all and it’s a theme of great interest to local businesses. But we want to know exactly what piques their interest.

“For example, would they like to focus on artificial intelligence, virtual reality, printable electronics, med-tech, 5G or the Internet of Things? These are just a few ideas – we are completely open to suggestions and we will respond by designing specific event content.”

The move has been welcomed by regional business organisations including the Federation of Small Businesses. Regional Development Manager Simon Hanson said: “VentureFest North East has always been designed by businesses for businesses. We work closely with the team to shape the entire VentureFest programme according to the needs of our members.

“The fact that the organisers are now going one step further by asking businesses to directly design an element of the event demonstrates how keen they are to reflect the interests of the business community.”

Businesses can suggest topics, vote for those already pitched by others and discuss ideas by visiting until 31 July 2017. This web platform will allow the event organisers to gather ideas, assess their popularity and use this information to design the People’s Choice session.

VentureFest North East 2017 will be held on 14 November at St James’ Park and is free to attend. The conference is all about bringing together people from different business sectors to learn from each other and use innovation to improve the competitiveness and profitability. Registrations are now open at

For more information about EventMovement, please contact Dan Lambton-Howard.

For more information about VentureFest North East please contact Innovation SuperNetwork Communications Manager Laura White on email: or telephone 07739 126152.

Take control of your education

EventMovement is an online platform that allows people to design and commission educational events. The Robinson Library at Newcastle University is holding a competition for students to use EventMovement to design events they would like to see, with a £250 for the best idea.

After proposing an idea on the platform, students can encourage others to support their ideas. Following this the proposal goes into the Get Involved and Plan It phases, where supporters collaboratively discuss and design the event in more detail.

Each of the ideas for educational events in the competition will be judged by the Library, Open Lab researchers and Chris Duddy, Education Officer at the Students’ Union. The student behind the winning idea will win £250, with runners up prizes of £150 and £100.

The educational events could be anything from small study sessions to workshops and lectures. Each idea will be refined through EventMovement’s collaborative process, giving students control of the events.

The winners of the competition will be announced in January. Full details about the competition can be found on the EventMovement website.

For more information please contact Dan Lambton-Howard.

Making movements into educational events

EventMovement is an online platform that allows communities to come together to propose, design and plan events. It is a free and open community commissioning tool for events.

Anyone can propose an idea for an event on EventMovement in just a few short clicks. Then, each event idea goes through three phases. The Support phase, the Get Involved phase, and the Plan It phase.

In the Support phase, users promote their idea to their friends, colleagues and through social media in order to gain support for their idea. Supporters can start discussing the idea on the event’s campaign page and are kept up to date with how the plans are progressing.

In the Get Involved phase, the community of supporters who have built up around the event idea start asking and answering questions about the event. They do this by raising and responding to talking points. Anyone can raise a talking point, and they can be about any aspect of the event. Supporters respond to these talking points with answers and can vote on each other’s responses. In this way the most important talking points and design decisions bubble to the top.

The last phase is the Plan It phase. Here supporters can summarise all the activity and design discussions that have taken place so far into a single document. They do this by selecting talking points, and choosing the most popular answers to include in a plan. This plan is both a detailed description of a community co-designed event and evidenced support for that event to happen in the real world.

We ran a short test of EventMovement at Newcastle University Library over three weeks in the summer. 43 students proposed a total of 28 events, with topics including everything from workshops on academic writing and copyright law up to a library cat café and baking classes! Not all the events were widely supported, but many ended up with excited communities of interest that designed and planned events to happen in the real world. With help from the University Library, three of those events are planned for the next few weeks.

In the future we hope to deploy EventMovement on larger scales and with a number of different organisations and businesses. We’re really excited to see how EventMovement might change the ways in which events are commissioned in the real world!

For more information please contact Dan Lambton-Howard.