Ideas Take Over the Streets of Southport

Innovation 

The Exchange Ideas Festival 2018 brought a fresh breeze of thoughts to the lively neighborhood of Southport as young students and professionals – either by chance or intention, gathered on Nerang Street from the opening speech that set the event in motion.

This year’s theme lined up three key areas of discussion with a slogan of verbs that dominate our everyday conversations – both in the digital domain, and in the more palpable face-to-face interactions: Innovate, Collaborate, and Connect. The celebration of new ideas and methods of thinking, along with the collective appreciation of services and projects designed for the benefit of the Gold Coast community were the social elements behind the free workshops and presentations on offer to 18 - 25 year olds.

“Approach everything with a child’s mind” and “make regular learning a lifelong goal” were the inspiring words pronounced by organisational change management analyst, Lorraine James, soon after stepping onto the stage to give the curious crowd a mindful prelude to what was about to be experienced. It was good advice, considering that four distinct event venues were about to host workshops ranging from Robotics to Colour Therapy and Fantastical Flora Illustration.

After Lorraine’s introductory speech, which touched on important features of the workshop she was about to conduct – “The Brain at Work”, the stage was taken up by one of the MMAD (Musicians Making A Difference) artists, who promptly started to drop rhyme after rhyme, delivering a local taste of sharp and energetic rap. Clearly, the event’s organisers left nothing to chance, and ideas started to flow seamlessly, taking everyone’s head for a spin. From that moment on, young minds started to explore the corners of their brains as an exchange of ideas flowed freely across the four venues in the precinct.

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Left Versus Right

In one of those rooms one young mind posed the question about the left versus the right side of our brains and the subsequent characteristics that are popularly attributed to left and right-brained people: “Are we one or the other? Or this is sort of like a continuum?”

The answer popped on the wall before everyone in the room, enlightened by a projector.

            “FAKE NEWS” it read.

And Lorraine James proceeded to explain what neuroscience has discovered about how our brains truly operate, and why the Left-Brain Right-Brain theory has been scientifically discredited, although it is true that some specific brain functions occur in one or the other. However, and more importantly, the two sides constantly collaborate to execute a variety of tasks and our abilities enhance when both of them work together.

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Millennials Driving Consumer Change

In another venue three millennials shared their practical knowledge with the audience to deliver insights into “How Millennials Are Driving Consumer Change”.

Angela Clark (Marketing Manager for Bond University’s Faculty of Society and Design), Bronte Cresswell (CEO and founder of She the Social) and Lucinda Bassam (PR Coordinator for Princess Polly) combined for what could be defined as a dream team of experts in all things millennial, elegantly proving why they were chosen to tackle the topic.

These three bright minds explored a host of ideas from higher education marketing, personal branding, and influencer marketing, with some illuminating statistics:

  • 81% of consumers’ purchasing decisions are influenced by their friends’ social media posts
  • Consumers are 71% more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals
  • Millennials are 1.6 times more likely to use digital channels to learn about new products
  • 84% of millennials say user-generated content from strangers has at least some influence on what they buy
  • 78% of consumers say companies’ social media posts impact their purchases
  • Customers are 6 times more likely to purchase a product if the page includes pictures from social media
  • Conversions increase 133% when mobile shoppers see positive reviews before buying

As the numbers made clear we are increasingly moving into the digital realm and technology is having a significant impact on our lives. Old forms of exchanging information are becoming obsolete by the way we innovate, collaborate, and connect. Technology and social media are the catalysts of this change, and those who embrace it are the agents driving the future.

*Frankie Barcellos is a Brazilian student currently studying for his Masters in Communications at Bond University.

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