What Were 500 Futurists Discussing At Kensington Roof Gardens Last Night?

Fans of futurism, and there are more than a few in London, will be gutted if they missed out on Converge, an event hosted by Nimbus Ninety, which took place at Kensington Roof Gardens last night.

The iconic venue looks every inch an upmarket night club with flamingos strutting their stuff in the ornate gardens outside – but this being winter, all the action was focused on the stage, where a crowd of big-hitters from insurance companies, banks, IT and tech start-ups sat down to listen to 4 speeches and a panel discussion aimed at getting to the bottom of the term “disruption”.

It’s probably the most overused expression in tech. Some people, like Monzo bank’s Valerio Magliulo, as he outlined last night, believe that disruption means banks being forced to share consumer data via API’s which empowers both the individual, and the start-up founder, who can show ordinary citizens how to outfox their financial nemesis – banks and their heavily disguised “financial products”, by using a disruptive solution like Monzo.

Others, like Simon at Hybrid IT Solutions firm Ensono, and the second speaker on the night, feel that “disruption” is over-hyped, that the power of IT has been exaggerated, but that a business should not be treating their IT as a separate entity anyway, but as part of the same team.

Or maybe, like IBM Watson evangelist Jeremy Waite believes, disruption only occurs when there are enough data points to be able to intelligently assess what is being disrupted, and how? Read Jeremy’s frightening LinkedIn post here, which shows that a system even as powerful as Watson cannot distinguish between a speech delivered by Barack Obama, and one delivered by Donald Trump. The post has more than one views million already – and counting!

It’s a cliché to say it, but a good time was had by all at the Roof Gardens, and when HHH packed up and went home, the venue was still half full. Good times, talking tech. Kudos to the panel who wrapped up the chat-part of the night – Matthew Griffin of 311 Institute, Ed Relf, founder of Laundrapp, and Peter Ward, CEO of WAYN, now owned by lastminute.com.

Just when you think London has run out of venues and ideas, it pulls you right back in!

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