Cornwall business people out in force for collaboration conference
By Tom_Bailey | Monday, January 23, 2012, 17:11
Around 200 business leaders and owners from across Cornwall gathered in Newquay at a packed conference last week aimed at boosting the county's economy through collaboration.
Roland Harwood and Nick Jankel, keynote speakers at the Collaborate Cornwall conference
"While Cornwall has done very well over the last 15 years, times are much more challenging now," said chief executive of Cornwall County Council Kevin Lavery, addressing the conference.
"Our economy is dominated by small businesses that do well but by working together across all sectors a great deal more can be achieved."
The conference, organised by YTKO on behalf of the Convergence-funded Partner to Succeed programme, was held at Newquay's Lighthouse Cinema.
Delegates attended workshops on collaboration for sales growth, resource efficiency and capacity management, reflecting the content of collaboration clubs that are run by the organisation year-round in an effort to help businesses get the most out of working together.
Keynote speaker Nick Jankel, founder of WECREATE, told delegates that working with other businesses signals a willingness to make true progress. "If you have the ambition you have to collaborate – or to put it another way, if you don't think you need to collaborate then you don't have enough ambition," he said. "We're trained to compete but we're born to collaborate."
Responding to the notion that collaboration can be risky, Jankel said that holding onto old ideas is "far more dangerous than embracing new ones".
Fellow speaker Roland Harwood, co-founder of open innovation agency 100% Open, said that businesses in the county are in prime position to make the most of collaboration. "One of the strengths of the Cornish economy is that it's a small business economy," he said.
"We're talking today about the 21st Century being all about networks and collaboration. Cornwall is very well placed, because of its business make-up, to embrace that wholeheartedly."
Delegates were shown case studies of how many businesses have already benefitted from working together to achieve better productivity, access to new markets and development of new products, among other benefits.
One such example was the partnership between underground mine surveying company 3DMSi and computer generated imagery specialist TigerX. The two combined to make the 3D modelling of survey data a visually enhanced and more user-friendly product.
Carleen Kelemen, director of the Convergence Partnership Office for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, closed the event with a speech praising both the county's business people and the success of the conference itself. "Every so often in the Convergence programmes a project emerges of such importance to the emerging new economy that its impact literally dazzles you," she said following the event.
"And so it was with YTKO's Partner To Succeed conference – bright and ambitious businesses collaborating to create new products and services with breathtaking possibilities on a global scale. The 3D tour of mines and their structures developed by 3DMSi and TigerX should be shown across cinemas in Cornwall to inspire young people in exploring engineering and digital skills."