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Festival of Innovation builds on its successes

Malvern Editorial 13th Nov, 2013 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

HUNDREDS of people visited Malvern Theatres for the second ever Festival of Innovation.

Over the three days from Thursday to Saturday (November 7 to 9), there were around 70 exhibition stands on display ranging from Malvern based firms including Morgan Motor Company, QinetiQ and Malvern Cycles to global and national organisations such as Renault and British Telecom.

There were also seminars and workshops to help businesses at all levels grow their trade from a Dragons’ Den style ‘pitch your idea’ session to IT Risk Management presented by the Lotus F1 Team.

And to round the event off a family show was held on the Saturday entitled Innovative Stuff! The Materials Revolution.

Organiser Adrian Burden said: “We had more going on this year, a bigger exhibition with more stalls as well as parallel sessions and workshops. And I think more people have attended.

“The biggest challenge has been footfall. I don’t think people know exactly what to expect from us, whereas if you go to an arts exhibition you know what it is.

“Its for that reason it was important to make our event free.”

Mr Burden, who himself has a PhD in materials and runs Malvern technology company Key IQ, said he started the Festival of Innovation last year to showcase the town’s rich scientific history. But he added the aim was to keep on growing the event to a much higher level.

“Malvern has a heritage for innovation and I wanted to give it a platform for it to continue, their are lots of interesting companies in the area.

“For firms which want to showcase a new product or app they can here.

“But there is a little bit of everything and it is as much about networking and sharing knowledge.

“The aim is to have it recognised as an annual event on a large scale over several days. If you look at what the Hay Festival is for literature that’s what we want to achieve for innovation, but not just technology innovation, it could be business innovation or social innovation.

“The theme is to encourage people to be creative.”

Mr Burden said he and fellow organisers were still experimenting and trying to find the right balance for the festival to make it more appealing to visitors. One possibility would be to host prizes for the best exhibitors over the three days, and of all the big firms on display Mr Burden said one of his favourite stands had been an invention to collect dog mess from Ledbury based company The Dooup.

“Its just a great example of a local company going from a concept to a novel innovative product you can buy now.”

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