Leeds Digital Festival

Posted on October 4, 2010

From 8th-12th November 2010 Leeds will be celebrating a cutting-edge marriage of creativity and technology in the city’s first digital festival. The event has been put together by Leeds Media, part of the Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chambers of Commerce.

The Digital festival will bring to Leeds a week’s worth of digital events aiming to celebrate the strong digital industry and talent in the Leeds and Yorkshire region.

Being local to Leeds, I am proud to say Leeds has done very well in recent years and I am happy to involved in this industry in my local city.

This years digital festival events are aimed at being a celebration, we can certainly be proud that Leeds is a centre for digital excellence, although I would argue that Leeds lost is crown as ‘Digital Hub of the North’ to Manchester many months ago. All is not lost however, I believe Leeds can re-stake its claim for the prize of being the leading region in the North in the digital and creative sector but…

Leeds Needs a ShakeUp?

I’m not afraid to admit that there are too many agencies providing the very same level of service to clients. The full service model maybe a good way to ensure you can cater to all types of clients and have many services to generate potential revenue, though I would argue the fact is you cannot be experts at everything.

Clients aren’t look for choice, they are looking for specialists who can focus on doing one particular area remarkably well. I challenge Yorkshire agencies to be remarkable , why settle for anything less.

I also urge agencies to become more accountable, measurement in digital media is far easier than traditional media. There are no excuses or barriers for lack of measurement and tracking, even in developing channels such as social media.

There also needs to be some form of regulation in the digital industry, there are far too many companies out there jumping on the bandwagon of the Internet giving out bad advice which is having a negative impact on the reputable agencies who truly understand how to help clients understand the digital medium.

Leeds has also become somewhat predictable, it is the same old agencies winning the same old awards, where is the new talent coming through. Are young digital startups being encouraged in this tough, competitive and oversubscribe market? What is the government doing to encourage the digital and creative industry to flourish in Leeds and the wider North. Not enough, I believe strongly they should be doing a lot more especially for start ups and up coming companies.

Universities, also need to play their part by offering more specialist courses which are suitable and give hands on training for the digital sector. There is certainly a lack of digital media courses that are giving the right skills required to students to undertake a job in the digital sector.

Stand Out Events

Big Media Debate – 7th October. *Note prior to the Leeds Digital festival taking place, the Big Media debate is taking place on the 7th of October at the Broadgate off the Headrow in Leeds. The discussion is ‘Will integration save us?, there are a number of keynote speakers such as Dominic Geary from Media Vest lined up who will be giving their thoughts on integration and multi-channel marketing in the media industry.  If you are interested about multi-channel marketing, I recently blogged about  ‘Why it’s Worth your While to Join Up Online and Offline Marketing

10th November: TEDxLeeds 2010 – The Mint Leeds, 4pm-late As part of 2010 themes for TED, TEDxLeeds2010 will be an exploration of “What Leeds Needs Now”. This will be a great forum to discuss the city and its future development. Fellow Leeds blogger, Dom Hodgson recently explored some of the ideas that will probably be explored during this TED event. In his post on the Eastgate Quarters Leeds Shopping centre plans Dom explores what Leeds needs now, it is a great read and brings up some valid points, hopefully Dom will be there to discuss the debate futher.

10th November: Social Networking Zero- 5.00pm-late Social Networking Zero, are holding a special networking event during the Leeds Digital Festival. Social Networking Zero (snzero) provides digital professionals, creatives & marketeers with an offline platform to talk informally and socially about their industry and the topics they are interested in. It is good to talk with like minded people, snzero is always a great laugh. The networking event was setup by Matt Pallatt, Technical Director at twentysix digital, Leeds. If you fancy a spot of informal networking over drinks, this is the event for you. There are more events happening on the other days. See other events

What does Leeds need?

Leeds has plenty of local events going on, people have argued there isn’t that much going on but if you take the time to look you’ll notice many digital events and networking evenings are in full swing that regularly take place in the city. I recently attended the Leeds Mashable event.To list but a few more events there are, Social Networking ZeroIgnite Leeds and Geekup.

Leeds could really do with an Apple Store, that would certainly help the creative and digital talent in Leeds. There are always interesting workshops and seminars on at local Apple stores and Leeds could greatly benefit from having a flagship store.