The ability to adapt in the face of change is what TechSmart is all about

30 November 2018 by Lauren Smith

We were proud to be Platinum Sponsors of TechSmart on 27th November 2018, with around 350 delegates in attendance – it was certainly a must-attend event for anyone within the membership space who wants to learn and keep abreast of what the technology marketplace has to offer their organisation.


In between chatting with existing/potential clients and partners at our exhibition stand, we managed to attend some great sessions and hear from some of the outstanding speakers who attended to share their expert knowledge.

The first keynote speaker of the day was Daniel Susskind, Author & Fellow in Economics at Balliol College, University of Oxford (who by the way, was an extraordinary speaker in my opinion!) who brought to life the impact of technology particularly AI, on work and society.

Key insights included:

  • The AI fallacy which is 'the mistaken assumption that the only way to develop systems that perform tasks at the level of experts or higher is to replicate the thinking processes of human specialists'
  • AlphaGo was then given as a good example of why this assumption is mistaken. AlphaGo is an AI programme developed by Google DeepMind, which shocked the world when it beat the world champion Lee Sedol at Go, an extremely complex game which many believed couldn’t be cracked by a machine
  • Top tip – don’t wait for retirement, pretend it’s not happening and believe that it won’t affect you. In the end, every profession will be affected in some way, shape or form by technological advances so it’s up to all of us to take charge and future-proof our careers where possible (wise words!)

    Next up was our Managing Director, Ahmed Eltohamy, who spoke through how to future-proof your member relationships with AI and smart systems, amongst further sessions ran by other suppliers in our industry.

We then then heard from some fellow tech experts including TestReach who are leading the way with online assessment software and the well-known FinTech, GoCardless. All of the speakers had just five minutes to get the audience’s attention through these ‘Lightning Talks’ – challenge accepted! I felt like I was on the panel of Dragon’s Den and the super-fast sessions left little time for questions from the audience. However, as you would expect, each of the speakers plugged their stands and welcomed conversations after, which I’m sure many delegates took them up on.

Our team were also part of a roundtable session which was an extension of Ahmed’s Ted Talk earlier in the day. Examples to integrate AI into non-profit day-to-day work and the opportunities it can bring to gain deeper insights into members were discussed. This progressed to talking about the importance of the underlying technology used. For example, the importance of choosing an established CRM platform that offers the flexibility and capability for the clever things that AI can do (i.e. Microsoft Dynamics 365, over bespoke!) and developing a great partnership with your vendor who you jointly develop a technology roadmap with in order to make the most of your investment.

The day ended with Anne Godfrey, Chief Executive of The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health giving her closing remarks. She brought the fantastic and much welcomed news that Hart Square hit their 5,000-connection target with a whopping 6440 total connections being made, which was made possible by using Blendology’s super simple tap and connect technology. This also means that Hart Square will donate £5,000 to the RISE charity – Rural India School Enterprise. Glenda Parker, CEO of Hart Square chose this charity because it honours the origins of Hart Square, supports education, and gives back to local UK schools. The charity inspires and motivates children in UK schools to build and create social enterprise business models to generate revenue and that revenue supports their schools in rural India.

Finally, it would be rude not to mention the venue and food! It was a great choice of venue down at the County Hall, which indeed ‘encouraged networking in a non-pressured environment, with plenty of areas to meet and comfy sofas to have informal conversations’, as Hart Square promised. The food was tasty, catered to all, and we were kept fuelled with tea, coffee and snacks in between all of the excitement.

We’re already looking forward to next year’s TechSmart and Chase Live which will deliver much of the same, but it will be held at The Brewery next year on 4th July.

If you missed TechSmart or our roundtable session at the event and would like to find out how we can help you accelerate your digital transformation to help you reach your member retention, acquisition and engagement goals – get in touch by emailing us or by giving us a call on 0845 544 2043.