The Innovation and Growth Awards 2008

Our neighbors in Cambridge, Library House have taken over the running of the Price Waterhouse Coopers sponsored and lengthily named Innovation and Growth Awards this year. Speaking to John Owen (CEO Library House) he explained to me that they were keeping the format similar this year as the previous year before making changes based upon feedback and experiences.

Held at the Hilton Metropole, the food was good and the venue OK. The major disgrace was -as with so many UK conferences- there was no ubiquitous free Wifi. Talking to an unnamed source it was apparently because The Hilton Hotel wanted £10,000 ($20,000!) to provide wifi access to all conference attendees. That is truly insane in this day and age.

Moving on from that, I didn’t get to attend much of the conference as I had too many other meetings; there was a company Showcase that I caught some of – which included Mark’s Flirtomatic which is going well by all accounts. Outside of that I was invited by the very good legal chaps at Winston & Strawn to the Awards dinner (and they even treated us to an ipod Shuffle!) . After utilising a Hilton toilet to change in to my penguin outfit, the awards were certainly focused on growth -i.e. there were no startups in evidence (not in my idea of the word anyway).

drinktank.jpgHowever, I was on a table with some startups – Huddle and my friends at Trusted Places. I had to get a train at stupid-oclock in the morning to get to Brussels for Plugg, so I had to leave the fun early. Not too bad as I’ll be seeing the gang soon enough at their Drinktank later this month which I’m very much looking forward to! Sounds like the type of thing I would organise! [stoppress: that gives me an idea!]

The highlight of the evening was not the over-enthusiastic Lucy Alexander of Sky News who was MC, but rather the 72 years old Trevor Baylis (the inventor of the wind-up clock radio) who echoed my own frustration at Britains appalling treating of its inventors and general disregard or apparent allergy to fantastic innovation … You know, nothing significant – things like the jet engine for example, which the UK government ignored for the first 10 years of development.

Some pics of the event below, including Trevor in action. Maybe see you at Drinktank!

080318 Innovation and Growth Conference

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