Future Tech Forum
DCMS Inaugural Future Tech Forum, 29-30 November 2021, London Science Museum
The UK government hosted the inaugural Future Tech Forum on 29-30 November 2021 at London’s Science Museum. The event, taking place at the close of the UK’s leadership of the G7, brought together government representatives from over 20 countries, the world’s foremost innovators, industry leaders, policymakers and academia, to consider how technology will impact society, and how it can be harnessed to tackle global challenges.
Building on a declaration in April to create a more productive and resilient global economy with digital technology at its heart, the event was a key moment in building international agreement and setting the agenda on future collaboration; it also saw a series of landmark agreements to deepen digital trade, agreed between the UK and Singapore.
Over the course of the two days, the hybrid event hosted 200 attendees in person and a substantial virtual presence, and saw keynote speeches, round tables, breakout sessions, a drinks reception at the end of the first day and a key breakfast at the start of day two.
Identity developed a hybrid approach that would deepen the opportunities for two-way virtual participation. We also ensured the hybrid approach was highly flexible, able to adapt to changing circumstances. We managed the digital build and live production of the virtual platform (Webex Legislate) and built a comprehensive digital infrastructure for online attendee registration and an event website with event agenda, discussion papers, hotel and session booking system.
The live forum required an extremely high level of preparation and technical support as everything was delivered live with no pre-recorded content with attendees virtually attending and engaging globally.
Shortly before the event, the rise of the Omicron variant and resultant change in travel guidelines, meant we had to react quickly to make sure the technical infrastructure would allow for an increased virtual presence among both spectators and participants, as – given the short timeframe and fluid environment – there was no way of knowing who would be able to make it onsite.
The experience of in-person attendees was given detailed consideration. With a very short window for the physical build, Identity worked proactively with the client and venue, and undertook the build overnight, to make sure the production overlay would be ready in time. Attendees enjoyed the opening ministerial keynote speech in the Illuminate Level 5 room, followed by breakouts in Wonderlab and Illuminate Level 4 – all installed and managed by Identity. We then turned the meeting rooms around overnight to a hollow square format with push to talk microphones to allow for the ministerial meetings on day two.
To ensure all aspects of the physical and virtual event would run smoothly, we provided an expert team ready to deal with all event and attendee needs as soon as they arose. In total, Identity provided full technical production across the event, including a hybrid solution, branding and wayfinding across the site, assisting with accreditation and badging, COVID management planning and people movement.
Budget was a crucial factor in this delivery. Identity worked very closely with the client team to ensure the event met the production requirements needed for a hybrid event whilst also creatively delivering a beautiful event in keeping with its setting in the new Science Museum meeting spaces. Identity also worked hard to retain the London skyline view for the attendees, ensuring a memorable experience for those taking part, and meeting a key client desire.
“The Future Tech Forum was a complex event in a complex venue, involving a mixture of in-person and virtual attendance from very high-profile delegates. Throughout the planning and delivery of the forum, Identity were collaborative, flexible to our needs and solution-focussed, and ultimately helped us to deliver a very successful event.” – DCMS Head of Delivery, Future Tech Forum