We took our democratic disruption east last month for the WPP Stream Asia 2016 unconference. Kata Beach, in balmy Phuket, saw guests from across the APAC world of media, digital and tech, meet to debate and shape the digital future. With our own brand of controlled chaos we facilitated 3 days of deconstructed, relaxed networking and debate. Here’s a snapshot of what happened:
Stream is the media world’s foremost unconference. We frame an empty agenda for delegates to add their own discussion topics. This fascinating and provocative agenda evolves as the event progresses and connections between participants form. New discussion are added and ad-hoc areas appear. This year, the pools, sun loungers, palm-shaded lawns, all played host to thought-provoking, game changing debate. Topics included ‘Star Trek economics vs consumerism’ Dom Hickey, Wunderman; ‘Future Of Conversational UI‘ Darrell Nelson, AKQA; ‘Fire your Account Servicing team! Why and why not?‘ Kok Hoe Wong, Mirum; ‘Wearables will disrupt disease management.’ Manoj Coelho, Johnson & Johnson; and ‘Digital Marketing is Dead‘ Kevin Huang, Pixels/Gravity4 Asia.
Gadgets Gadgets Gadgets!
The Stream Tech Lab is an onsite area showcasing new inventions for delegates to play with. This year’s toys included the Instaroid that prints mini polaroid style stickers from your smartphone and uploads them to an online gallery; ‘Mission Impossible’ style sunglasses with built-in MP3 player and headphones; a sliding smart watch and a Fitbit Zip to hang onto your clothes to track your steps. Our Gadgethon event allowed guests take to the stage to showcase their inventions, including Gary Shainberg from TSO with his giant drones and CoClean, the wearable and desktop anti-pollution device from William Xu; Stream’s very own social media-powered currency, the Streambit and the Microbit – a mini programmable circuit board with LEDs that kids can program.
Sir Martin Sorrell Hangout
Beaming in via the power of Google Hangouts, Sir Martin Sorrell joined the main stage for a Q&A session with delegates; discussing the need for horizontality integrated and holistic approach to marketing and advertising.
Health & Wellness
Taking a little time out to focus on wellbeing recharges guests for optimum interaction. This is an integral part of our unconferences. Early risers were treated to open air yoga sessions, beachside running, swimming in the Andaman sea and, for the bold, trapeze sessions! Fresh fruit and coconut water revived them ready to start the day.
The Ignite presentation format is a great way to share ideas quickly. Guests take to the stage with a maximum of 15 slides, shown for just 15 seconds each, so they had to be quick on their feet. We heard: how ‘Stars Wars made me a better parent‘; why you should ‘Upload you iBubbles‘; and that ‘Bullshit is like God. Omnipresent‘. Intriguing!
Midnight Cooking Madness & Extravaganza
There’s an amazing range of skills out there in the Stream community and we like to tap into this. This year’s Extravaganza variety show featured Scott Spirit as Justin Bieber (priceless), Elsa & Anna from Frozen in duet (Kirshnan Menon and Alexandra Benneville, you brought tears to our eyes!); dancers, stand-up comedians – and of course the brilliant Stream band. The budding chefs amongst us, worked tirelessly throughout Friday in the cool basement kitchens, creating dishes from their countries and families to serve us at midnight. The delicious winning dish of ‘Turbo Tacos’, came from Lurata Lyon, with Anurag Gupta‘s amazing ‘Chops on Fire’ coming a very close second. Unconferences prove that the talent needed by big business is there on the doorstep – an unconference event will allow clients to simply open the doors and let it in.
As a prelude to the end of Stream show and party, Streamers were challenged to build rafts to race across the pool… using recycled hotel material. Cardboard boxes, brooms, water bottles – not only did they all float but the race was a nail-biter!
Whilst fun and games inspire networking and debate, a counterpoint to this comes in the shape of ‘The Pitch’. We ask delegates to volunteer to spend time during the event pooling their expertise to tackle a world problem. This year’s challenge was “How can we use technology to reach at-risk young people in a society where substance use is taboo and hidden?”. Entries were judged by Scott Spirit, Cheryl Chung, Yossi Vardi, Ranjana Singh. Congratulations to the winners Jeremy Sy, Patrick Darcy and Mika Singh were in the team.
Here’s a taste of what Streamers said:
“I have spoken at TED and events all over the world. This by far was the best event globally today.”
Richard Webb, StartMesh
“I cannot thank you enough for the profound experience at Stream… the environment you’ve created with the unconference is beyond inspiring, lasting and motivating.”
Jules Ferree, Scooter Braun Projects
“Stream has been the best conference I have ever attended hands down. The networking and relevance of discussion was second to none.
James Borg, Australian Unity
“Wild, Smart, Crazy, Innovative, Disruptive'”
Jenny Chan von Meyenburg, Lego
“Great unconference with extraordinary participation.'”
Eileen Koh, Red Hat
“Lots of conferences talk about making their attendees the stars; Stream Asia is the best I’ve seen at it.”
Lawrence Coburn, Double Dutch
“Thanks for organizing this Stream – can imagine a lot of work but you are all amazing to make this happen!”
Anna Choi, Siemens
“The Team rocks. Amazing experience.”
Robert Lang, SocialBakers
be-good are experts in the unconference format; creating deconstructed live events that bring people together to contribute and do more than listen. be-good have produced the WPP Stream unconferences since their inception 2007.