UK-APAC innovation on show in Hong Kong

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Open for business: British innovation to take centre stage in Hong Kong at the GREAT Festival of Innovation

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 March, 2018, 10:38am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 March, 2018, 10:38am

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Cutting-edge innovators, inspiring thought leaders and key decision makers will arrive in Hong Kong this week for the GREAT Festival of Innovation. Led by the UK Department of International Trade, the Festival will bring together leaders across industry and sector from the UK, Hong Kong and Asia at the Asia Society in Hong Kong to share their ideas on how innovation will shape the way we work, live, play and learn.

The world is entering a pivotal era, with a range of technologies poised to make revolutionary changes in our digital, biological and physical spheres. These changes have wide-ranging implications across all industries, disciplines, and economies. Robotics, AI, big data, IoT, blockchain, and other innovations promise to transform the world as we know it, impacting our lives in unprecedented ways. At the GREAT Festival of Innovation, an audience from across Asia and the UK will experience a series of thought-provoking talks, masterclasses, installations and performances over an engaging four-day programme exploring these topics and more, led by innovators and thought leaders in their fields.

Will robots take over our jobs? The Festival will explore how the world of work has been transformed by innovation and disruptive technology, with speakers such as Charles Bowman, Lord Mayor of London, celebrated entrepreneur Brent Hoberman, David Nelson, Head of Design at Foster + Partners, Robert Hannigan, former director of GCHQ, Sanjay Aurora, Managing Director, Asia Pacific at Darktrace, headlining a series of panel discussions that will cover topics including AI, cybersecurity, and the workplace of the future. A global leader in the successful implementation of AI into public service delivery – and a nation which has seen a new AI start-up created every week over the last three years – the UK sees AI as a huge driver in furthering the country’s productivity, and will be joining the WEF’s new council on AI to help shape global governance and applications of new technology.

The way we live in the future will also be a key theme of the Festival. With the UK and Hong Kong governments recently announcing significant investment into shaping world-class smart cities – a global market which Arup recently estimated could reach USD400 billion by 2020 – technology disruptors such as Heba Bevan of Utterberry and Shinya Kukita, Chief Engineer of NEC Corporation, will take to the stage to discuss the AI, big data and complex simulations which are changing the way people interact with their built environment. Day two will also look at the future of travel, with world-leading innovators such as PriestmanGoode’s Paul Preistman – designer of the Hyperloop – MTR chairman Frederick Ma, British Airways CEO Alex Cruz and Nissan’s Vice President of R&D in autonomous driving, Takashi Yoshizawa, headlining panel sessions that will provide fascinating insight into how we might be getting around in the not-too-distant future.

Cultural leaders will also lead discussion at the Festival, exploring how innovation, technology and creative thinking will alter the future of fashion, luxury, art and sport, and identifying the most powerful forces in play today shaping the future of brands. With the second-largest design sector in the world, and the largest in Europe, the UK is at the forefront of creative thinking around the world. At the Festival, British creative heavyweights such as Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, Guy Salter, chairman of London Craft Week and noted expert in the luxury sector, Tristram Hunt, director of the V&A Museum and Dylan Jones, editor-in-chief of British GQ, will be joined by international thought leaders including Tom Punch, chief commercial and creative officer at VICE Media, Eiji Uda, chief technology innovation officer for Tokyo 2020, and Hong Kong designer Andre Fu, to investigate the macroeconomic and technological forces that are driving change, how innovators are responding and what will give businesses the leading edge with the consumers of tomorrow.

As a showcase of British innovation, though, why Hong Kong? In addition to a vibrant, prosperous relationship, the UK and Hong Kong share a common history with common cultural ties, and both are determined to sustain economies that are modern, flexible and fit for the challenges of the 21st century. There is also fertile ground for mutually beneficial partnerships in business and trade. In addition to being a key financial centre in the region and a gateway to the Greater Bay area, Hong Kong, like the UK, is a global champion for free trade. The Festival will create opportunities for connecting minds, sharing ideas, and solidifying long-lasting partnerships that will create a prosperous future for the UK, Hong Kong and Asia region.

The GREAT Festival of Innovation will continue to help overseas companies bring high-quality investment to the UK’s dynamic economy, while also ensuring the success of UK companies through trade in Hong Kong and China. This will be an event like no other, showcasing these opportunities through leading innovators and personalities who are the driving force of change in our respective economies.

About GREAT Festival of Innovation 2018

The GREAT Festival of Innovation, to be held at Asia Society Hong Kong Centre from 21 to 24 March 2018, is the third of its kind after the success of the GREAT Festivals of Creativity in Istanbul (2014) and Shanghai (2015). Its vision is to share innovation and create life-long partnerships that will drive the future of free trade and prosperity between the UK, Hong Kong and the region.

The Festival will explore the latest in cutting-edge innovation and the future of how we work, live, play and learn through a series of talks, panels and interactive workshops over four days. Bringing together some of the world’s brightest minds, business leaders and policy makers, the Festival will provide a unique platform for powerful future partnerships.