Digital, Innovation & Technology Conference - Keynote Presentations

Focusing on content that can make a real difference to our towns and communities, the Placemaking Strategy Conference brings together case studies, insights and thought-leadership to offer an engaging and inspiring learning experience for its attendees.

This is the only event of its type for people who have a passion for creating the high street of the future. Our programme has been designed to ensure maximum benefit for all attendees – from handy tips to insightful statistics, lessons learnt to meaningful case studies, you’ll enjoy a variety of content at the summit, including:

  • Hearing success stories from engaging expert speakers.
  • Opportunity for you to quiz the speakers about what they have shared, in order to delve a little deeper
  • Gaining insight and inspiration from how other areas have delivered projects that have had a positive impact.
  • Time away from your daily routine, allowing you to focus on the trends and opportunities that will really add value to your community.

Throughout the conference, our keynote will inform and inspire attendees on a range of hot topics – you can find out more about the overall plans for the day via our agenda page. Details of keynotes for the forthcoming event will be listed below as and when they are confirmed.

Ojay McDonald

From Step Change to Exponential Change: The Revolution Has Begun

This session will be about providing a sense of perspective to the change which high streets are exposed to. Firstly, in terms of a clear generational shift as the consumers of tomorrow inhabit very different behaviours, but more broadly with regards to wider society and economy.

Dr Jackie Mulligan

Changing Behaviours and Futures

The talk will focus on key behavioural changes that can shape a better future for local businesses, markets and our beloved high streets. Drawing on customer and retailer insights, social psychology relating to behavioural change and examples of positive outcomes being gained, the talk should help participants to better support their own stakeholders to better prepare for the now and the future. Participants will gain examples of how to approach businesses more effectively to effect change and how to better address the challenges and the opportunities the future high street brings.

Sophie Hainsworth

How to transfer footfall into spend in your place using a digital loyalty app

Using an 18 month case study of work with Love Loughborough we will be exploring what components make apps work well in places and how you can engage both the businesses, and public, with the scheme. We will also look at the role of integrating experiences into place apps with some exciting recent developments.

Lez Cope-Newman will co-present from Love Loughborough

Nick Richardson

Understanding the next generation of consumer to ensure High Streets remain relevant and sustainable

The Insights People are the organisation behind Kids Insights and Parents Insights which are widely recognised as the most comprehensive and dynamic market intelligence specialists on kids, parents and families. Their work is widely used to help brands, councils and BIDs shape their future strategies.

This session will focus on how using insights from data and information allows decisions around place management and help to understand the next generation of digitally enabled consumers.

To download the 2019 Future Forecast visit

Clare Bailey

An “Appy Future” for place management professionals?

Digital innovation and technologies aren’t only about customer engagement. Clare will introduce how using a toolkit like the Mobaro platform, place management professionals can digitise service delivery – from ensuring public facilities and realm are well maintained to the safe set up of a regular market. By using digital tools it is possible to monitoring contractor performance, to audit health and safety, and to deliver insights as to where process failures either incur unnecessary cost or impact on the “user experience” of the place. Essentially, Clare will show how the fundamentals of town centre operations can be made more consistent, safe, and efficient by utilising tools like Mobaro.

Diane Wehrle

The importance of place data, insights and analysis; how to use it, what to understand from it, and how it helps us understand what the future may hold.

With so much data being available to anyone involved in places and high streets, it is easy to collect unnecessary data and not use it, to use data incorrectly or to miss data that could make a significant difference and improve decision making. And even when the most relevant and meaningful data has been collected, using it effectively can be challenging.

This session will unlock the puzzle of data, show which data is most meaningful for places and how it can be best used to deliver meaningful and valuable outcomes.

Sven Latham

Tracking Property Changes on the Future High Street

Looking at recent efforts to document High Streets in West Sussex – their businesses and ownership – and how this is rapidly evolving.

As business owners and landlords find creative uses for their spaces, from popup shops, mixed use space and concessions, we’ll be looking at how we can keep track of the increasing diversity in our town centres, & the risks and opportunities arising from this.

Dan Coombs

Why WiFi?

Dan will demonstrate why towns and cities are installing public access WiFi, the benefits it brings to both the Place and Visitors, statistics on how many total unique users have logged on through ElephantWiFi since inception along with statistics on how often users connect.

Dr Brendan Keegan

The IPM’s Perspective of Digital Placemanagement

This session will provide an outline of the concept of how digital technology supports place management. By providing some of the theoretical underpinnings of place, the potential for digital to enhance experiences of places is established. To this end, a framework of digital placemanagement is presented, designed to shape future thinking in this important area. Lastly, some tips from the digital marketing industry are provided for future digital placemanagement initiatives.

Alex Schlagman

What does it take to succeed on the high street of the future?

Alex Schlagman, a Founding Partner of, will share insights into:

– The most important recommendations for high street success, as voted for by 100s of independent businesses and industry experts.
– Future-facing vulnerabilities and counter strategies for different types of high street businesses.
– What this means for local authorities, town centre managers, BIDs, community associations and place-makers across in the UK.

Polly Barnsfield, OBE

What do consumers think to the future of their high streets?

The “What do you think” (#WDYT) campaign helps towns and cities evolve faster by using AI to connect with and to better understand the local audience. The campaign is delivered through the Maybe* platform.

In this session we will reveal how any towns can benefit from chat analysis that compares consumers views on how Market Towns can improve VS what Cities need to do to improve.

We will share the results from 10 towns and cities and discuss with Emily Knight of Gloucester BID how this information will help them make decisions in the future.