Early Planning for the #BCTECHSummit

February 14, 2019

When I attend any sort of event, conference, or educational opportunity, I always want to leave with at least three “takeaways” – ideas, actions, or strategies I can incorporate into my professional life, benefit my organization with, or weave into my personal life.

Of course, I’m thrilled when I get more than three – as is often the case – but even at those events we’ve all attended but regretted after the fact, I’ve always been able to carve out a lesson.  For example,

  • ALWAYS read the session summary. A “networking session” can surprisingly be not a meet-and-greet session, but rather an in-depth discussion about optical networks with heated debate about IPv4 vs. IPv6. (Yes, that was back in the day.)
  • Egg salad sandwiches served at the lunch buffet are best avoided when they appear at the late afternoon coffee break.
  • Trying out five brands of VR headsets in the span of 60 minutes can result in motion sickness.

I’m sure this will not be the case with the #BCTECHSummit coming up March 11th-13th in Vancouver, BC. With inspirational speakers, hands-on master classes, and opportunities to meet diverse people from across the BC technology community, the summit is going to be jam-packed with takeaways. Here’s my early list of three sessions to attend:

Anousheh Ansari Keynote. Women in space. Solving humanity’s grand challenges. $10M competitions. Who wouldn’t attend this session? Anousheh Ansari is the CEO of the XPRIZE Foundation, the world’s leader in designing and operating incentive competitions to solve like challenges like “feeding the next billion” and “adult literacy.” Her organization sponsored the first Ansari XPRIZE, a $10 million competition that ignited a new era for commercial spaceflight. She’s also completed an 11-day space expedition, accomplishing her childhood dream of becoming the first female private space explorer, first astronaut of Iranian descent, first Muslim woman in space, and fourth private explorer to visit space. Front row seats for me.

Duncan Wardle Master-Class & Keynote. Duncan Wardle is the former VP of Innovation & Creativity at Walt Disney. Not only do I love all things Disney, Pixar in particular, and I can’t wait for Toy Story 4 to come out this summer (yes, I’m completely comfortable seeing animated flicks without my children in tow,) I love sessions that spark different ways of tackling issues. I often approach situations in my usual pragmatic and orderly way; sometimes I need that nudge or full-on shove to kick-start the discovery, change, and innovation process. I’m looking forward to adding some tools to my arsenal.

The Secret to Scaling from Industry Titans. Who doesn’t want to attend a session with the word “titans” in the title? A good portion of my career has been in startups. I’ve been fortunate in that we’ve had successful exits in the form of acquisition by large US companies. But I want to hear the stories of those who’ve built companies that have gone beyond startup mode into sustainable, growing businesses. With leaders from the BC Tech Association, MEC, NorthWest Capital Partners, and STEMCELL technologies, this panel session should provide some great insights.

I’m pretty confident that even if I only attended these three sessions (probably not a reality, as it looks like there’s quite a range of great speakers and activities planned), I’d be coming away with more than three “takeaway” lessons.


Alison Berg is the Director of Marketing and an EIR at Innovation Boulevard. She loves to chat with interesting people and learn how their businesses thrive. When she’s not doing “marketing stuff,” she’s starting businesses, watching Netflix, and hanging out with her 2 daughters.

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