Global business

Jean-Marc Frangos is Managing Director, Products and Services Research and Open Innovation at BT. He is responsible for innovation partnerships with venture capitalists, start-ups and industry peers in the United States, Asia, and Europe. Based in Silicon Valley, his team identifies disruptive technologies and innovative service opportunities, and establishes the technical and commercial links with BT’s research and operational divisions. His team also designed and runs BT Infinity Labs, a novel incubator concept based in Shoreditch, London, to foster collabora tion with the UK entrepreneur community.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed at technology exhibitions, with a lot to see and understand. But there’s no denying the tremendous value in finding a couple of disruptive innovations that could have a big impact on business.

As someone who regularly reviews and sources innovative technologies, I’ve collated my tips on making sure you take away something useful from Innovation 2017.

1. Be clear about your own business priorities

While all the technologies and demos on site will be admirable in their own right, it’s worth outlining your business priorities and challenges before coming to the event. It’ll help you identify the innovations which serve your business with a genuine purpose.

2. Have an innovation shopping list ready

Beyond immediate business priorities, I’m sure you will also be curious about specific technologies. Maybe you have dabbled with Virtual Reality (VR) or Augmented Reality (AR), or you’ve read an article on machine learning; perhaps you’ve talked to your security team about the benefits of Quantum Cryptography. Whatever it is, have your list ready so you can start off by focusing your explorations on the topics that are really of interest.

3. Leave some time for the unknown

It’s easy to get consumed by an exciting conversation or topic and find yourself unable to even visit other areas. But I’d really recommend you leave some free time in the afternoon to go for a wander – you may find something not on your shopping list, for example a demo simplifying or automating a currently tedious business process.

4. Keep a balance between presentations and conversations

There’s a lot to see at Innovation 2017. Not only is the stage shaping up to host some really exciting speakers covering a range of hot topics, but it’s a chance to speak face to face with industry experts and visit our renowned showcases. It’s important that you have time for valuable one on one conversations, so don’t stay in one place for too long.

5. Take pictures

Wherever appropriate, of course! Written or typed notes are great, but often pictures act as a great reminder of a complex idea, or can help you illustrate a demonstration to someone back in your organisation.

6. Planning on networking? Write keywords on the business cards of people you speak to

Of course Innovation 2017 is a fantastic opportunity to network with technologists, innovators, BT people and other attendees. That’s a lot of people to cross paths with, so you may end up receiving numerous business cards and it can be hard to reconnect names with faces and discussion topics. By writing keywords you’ll find it a lot easy to make use of the connections you make.

But don’t do this when you attend meetings in Japan, where business cards are considered an extension of the person and it might be interpreted as disrespectful!

You can find a list of our exhibition themes on our event website. Within the zones you'll find over 50 demos to see and interact with.

If you're interested in bringing a colleague along with you simply share the event website with them and ask them to register.