Digital tech & media business networking Let us know your thoughts about our plans for future networking events. Chris DymondNews and Opportunities2nd August 2021collaborationmedianetworkingTech Business One of Sheffield Digital’s objectives for the autumn is to establish better and more valuable ways for our members to engage with each other. This already happens on a community-wide basis on the Sheffield Digital Slack, and at regular events like GeekBrekky on a Friday morning. Pre-Covid it also happened at live events like the quarterly Digital Showcase events where local firms and teams would present their recent projects followed by hospitality and networking. What we would like to do going forward, though, is to provide a space for more deliberate, business-oriented networking specifically for our membership. We don’t want to focus on sales opportunities or being sold to, but instead on engagement, collaboration and knowledge exchange with other digital business leaders in the city. We want to foster conversations about how our digital tech and media firms can work together for their benefit and the benefit of the city. Here’s a description of what we’re currently planning. We’d very much like your feedback and what you would like to get from such an event. The event will be open to our company and individual members. We will also invite our partners and sponsors. It will be made clear to all that this is not an opportunity to pitch for work or sell services. Prior to the event, we will send out a short briefing to all members and partners which explains the no selling rule, the code of conduct, who is invited and a short summary of current initiatives that people may want to discuss or find out more about. We will also ask for topics that people would like to table, for instance particular business challenges or decisions they face, or opportunities they see and things they would like to see happen. We want to create a mutually supportive environment and the majority of the event will not be held under Chatham House rules as it is public and recorded. We understand that trust develops over time and do not expect people to share more than they are comfortable with. The event itself will be essentially divided into 3 sections: Introductions Topic Openers OpenNetworking Introductions We will introduce the event with a short situation report (SitRep) on the local Tech & Media sector. Attendees will then be asked to introduce themselves and their firm and briefly state what they are hoping to get from the meeting. Topic Openers We will then discuss each of the topics suggested in response to the pre-event briefing and any other topics raised in the introductions. We will spend no more than 10 minutes per topic. At the end of ten minutes we will note who is engaged in this topic. We will also pick a “topic owner” for each topic, this ownership only lasts for the duration of the session. Open Networking Following the topic openers, participants will be able to create and join breakout rooms in order to discuss particular topics (follow the topic owner) or speak to specific people. There is no set finish time to this and participants can leave whenever they wish, or stay for as long as they want and are engaged in fruitful conversation. We have not yet decided what conferencing platform we will use, although the leading candidates are Zoom and Airmeet. We will record the first two sections of the event, so that we can share it publicly and with people who were unable to attend. The Open Networking section will not be recorded, monitored or shared in any way, and should be held under Chatham House rules. The whole event will be conducted under our Code of Conduct, and all participants will be asked to confirm they have read it and will abide by it before the meeting starts. After the event we’ll publish lists of attendees, topics and short summaries of each of the topic discussions. The main value will be in the new connections made and the relationships that will spring from them! As mentioned, we envisage this being online initially, to make it as convenient, efficient and inclusive as possible. We would also present opportunities for people to meet in person, and perhaps eventually we will also host in-person networking events alongside the virtual ones. We’ll undoubtedly need to experiment with the format, but need to know whether we’re heading in the right direction before we organise the first event, so please let us know whether you think it’s a good idea, what you’d want to get from it, what kinds of thing would get you involved in, etc. Please email Chris with your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org, and/or join the discussion in the #-membership Slack channel.