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Disruptive Digital in the North

Our 3rd Digital North event was our best yet. We focused on disruption in the digital space and invited speakers from innovative brands to openly discuss what disruption means for them and their business. Aside from the pizza, drinks and continuous laughter, we did get some incredible insight worth sharing. We’ve picked out some of the highlights below.


Daniel Nolan of theEword summarises disruption in the marketing space using the infamous image of Miley Cyrus on a “wrecking ball” – if that doesn’t sum up his hilarious and creative approach to explaining disruption in marketing then we don’t know what does! He took it one step further and told us what disruption has done to content and marketing in the journalistic sense.

Coming from what he calls a “journalism factory”, he gets real with the fact that “journalism has been disrupted by influencers”. Where journalists once received products for review directly from brands to go off and write about, influencers on YouTube and social are taking this over and becoming the personable, trustworthy faces of these promotions. While this is bad news for traditional journalism, it provides opportunity for journalists to take on a more modern approach to digital content and become influencers themselves.


AR/VR technology isn’t just disrupting the gaming world but healthcare, engineering and nearly every other industry too. Mel & David of Pulsar Health  got straight to the point and tell us that “disruption with technology can enhance a customer’s life”. Now, while this could mean the customer’s overall experience and connection with that brand, they mean it in the literal sense. According to Dave, there are two universities in the US currently using augmented reality for surgery and training doctors. This enables them to get information while they are in the midst of a major operation, without needing to leave the room which avoids complications.


Focusing on innovation rather than disruption as a whole,Keith Brathwaite of Zuhlke inspired us all with this motivational statement: 

The next time someone tells you that you cannot plan to innovate, remember that you can but you have to fail a lot along the way. All successful innovators of the past planned to innovate and they failed a lot until they didn’t. And that is okay!


At least that’s what Simon Wharton from PushOn had to say about disruption. Why? Simple; “if you think about how we connect with digital properties – where we are, the devices we’re using, and the time of day. So, is the homepage the place that we will land? No. Most people think a Google search will likely bring you to the homepage but, in reality, it will be more about the skeleton of that site.” He gave us this example: “if you have a witchcraft site, the person searching for monkey knuckles is more likely to land on the page specifically for monkey knuckles in search results. If someone wants to buy monkey knuckles then you should make sure they land on a page for that product – make sure the hierarchy of your site is correct. Therefore, the homepage is dead”. As for where the monkey knuckles example came from, you’ll have to ask him.


“Cyber crime is a big problem for businesses”. Anthony Wainman from Symantec is no cyber criminal, but knows them VERY well in his business: “cyber criminals have become a prevalent threat. We have different types of criminals, ranging from scammers, hackers, phishers, guys carrying out attacks for political or religious reasons, malicious insiders, etc. However, the guys you really have to be worried about are the sophisticated guys. These guys are working for well-funded organisations, get six-figure salaries and are very technical; they’re after your information to sell on.”

“Last year alone there were over 500 million cases of personal data stolen. The problem companies have is data security – information is EVERYWHERE. Today, there is a new piece of malware produced every 13 seconds, so it’s becoming more difficult for a business to protect themselves. The threat landscape is continuously evolving, cyber criminals are coming up with new tactics to get into your business and it’s no longer a question of if you’ll be attacked but when”. But let’s not panic – we have guys like Anthony around to limit the damage.

Toni Phoenix, Director at Digital Gurus North and Founder of Digital North, hosted this specific event due to the increased interest around the topic of disruption, which was discovered from feedback from previous events. “We have now reached 500 members on Meetup.com and expect this to grow and evolve into the most exciting digital group in the North”.

Fancy getting involved in our next event as an attendee, speaker or sponsor? Register your interest here.

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