The International Festival for Business (IFB2016) brought together thousands of business people from around the world, over three weeks of events, networking and deal-making.

At Liquid, we were lucky enough to have the festival practically on our doorstep, so the team made their way across for some truly inspirational sessions and talks by world-class speakers. 
Focusing on the creative, digital, and manufacturing sectors, the talks and events gave insight into some of the new trends, technologies and issues that will be shaping the world of business in the coming years. Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP (the world’s largest advertising company), was one of this years’ world-class keynote speakers, leading a discussion on the future of business. 
He considered the impact of disruptor companies, the importance of sustainability, the changing workforce and topically, the impact of Brexit. A fundamental take-away from the session, was this direct quote from Sorrell: “If you are in business for the long term, doing good, is good business.”
The team also attended Accelerate 2016, a flagship, daylong event at the IFB 2016. The day provided attendees with the opportunity look at their business from a fresh perspective and understand what drives success for them. Centering around power, passion and performance, a range of influential business figures shared their personal stories and thoughts on the changing business landscape. 
Wayne Hemingway gave an impassioned talk on what motivated him to start Red or Dead and more recently, Hemingway Design. He spoke zealously about passion and how it motivates a person to succeed above their competitors.  A panel discussion featuring a range of industry experts, built on this statement and also discussed the importance of innovation to move any business forward. Uber was spoken about at length during the course of the day. Many panel members attributed Uber’s success to its ‘service’ approach - as there is no physical transaction and money is not exchanged, people don’t psychologically feel like they’ve made a purchase. Additionally, it’s human nature to want real time information - people would rather know they have to wait 10 minutes for a taxi, then wait 5 minutes not knowing when it will turn up. It’s the same with the Dyson hoover; it’s such a popular product, because using it is satisfying for the consumer. Being able to see the dirt removed is what drives people to purchase the product. These innovations are relatively small in their sector, but cause such a huge disruption because they play to our inquisitive human nature. 
The panel also discussed the need to act on any innovative idea with speed and quickly ‘kill’ any ideas that don’t work. If an idea seems great, but you can’t practically implement it; don’t dwell on it. Kill it quickly and move on. Wasting time and resource on innovations that don’t take off immediately will only cost you valuable money in the long run. 
The concept of innovation was rounded off, by entrepreneur Jonny Earle (, owner of the world’s first t-shirt bakery. Jonny took an everyday product (t-shirts), selling them in a completely unique way, to make an experience for his customers. 
Jonny Cupcakes has now amassed a huge following for his clothing line, which uses cupcakes as the prominent design motif. Styling his stores like traditional bakeries, selling t-shirts from fridges, and filling the stores with the scent of vanilla frosting, ensures his customer’s feel like they are involved in something new and exciting. It’s a strategy which helped the company to place at number 237 on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing private companies in the U.S in 2009 – no easy achievement. 
The International Festival for Business gave the region, the UK and the wider business community a reason to look at business differently. Over three weeks the event played host to 26,000 delegates from over 100 countries, offering them not only solid business advice and insight, but the chance to link up with other professionals and grow their business. It’s no real surprise that the 2018 IFB has been just been confirmed. We’re looking forward to it already!