Digital, Innovation & Technology Conference - Speakers

At the Digital, Innovation and Technology Conference, we’re proud to welcome a whole host of high street expert speakers, place-management and regeneration professionals, all dedicated to transforming our future high streets through the use of digital solutions, technology and innovation. From managing research projects to leading their own high street’s digital revolution, our speakers have heaps of experience, drive, and determination to share with our attendees.

When speakers for the next Digital, Innovation and Technology Conference are confirmed their details will be added below. For more information on the topics you can expect to hear about at this year’s event please see our agenda via outline agenda

Clare Bailey

Founder of Future High Street Summit Conferences

Clare Bailey, The Retail Champion, is a leading UK retail expert and sought-after retail speaker. She is a frequent media contributor, regularly featured on BBC, ITV, Channel 5, Sky and Bloomberg TV News, various radio broadcasts, in trade press and digital media, commenting on issues affecting retail and the high street.

Clare is most well-known for championing smaller, independent retailers and for her passion for the emerging social, experiential high street of the future.

She is author of 2 books published by Kogan Page, the first ‘The Retail Champion: 10 steps to Retail Success‘, was published in July 2012. The second, entitled ‘How to Sell to Retail – The secrets of getting your product to market‘, came out in February 2013. Read more about Clare Bailey, Retail Expert

Ojay McDonald

Chief Executive, Association of Town & City Management

Ojay McDonald is the Chief Executive of the Association of Town & City Management. He works with Government Ministers, parliamentarians, economic development professionals, business leaders and place-makers across the UK and Ireland to support town and city centres.

He works on a range of policy issues including tax reform, local government finance, the EU and UN Urban Agenda, devolution, the Northern Powerhouse, transport, housing, planning, retail, urban regeneration and industrial change.

Dr Jackie Mulligan


Dr Jackie Mulligan is founder of – a digital platform that brings shops and services for any town together in one shop window meaning customers can browse local businesses, book services or buy products with easy click and collect after closing from a single collection point in each town -usually a pub or a café meaning customers can support local, get their shopping with a cheeky G&T or a coffee – combining Jackie’s favourite hobbies!

ShopAppy is now in 24 towns and continues to spread as the idea of diverting online browsing and spending to local spending and footfall in town centres starts to grow.

Before ShopAppy, Jackie conducted and presented global research on future trends, economic impact, technology, social media, CSR, creativity and psychology in the Europe, the US and Canada.

Sophie Hainsworth

Co-Founder, LoyalFree

Sophie is Co-Founder of LoyalFree –  a multi award winning loyalty app which helps Business Improvement Districts to increase footfall, gather accurate data and satisfy the businesses in their area. Using live Instagram feeds, digital loyalty schemes, trails, events and more we deliver an all in one app solution for a place.

Currently working with 13 UK BIDs, we deliver a digital loyalty and tourism platform for towns and cities and focus on improving the overall digital presence of a place by encouraging the public to shop local. Find out more on our website or contact us on

Lez Cope-Newman

Chair, Love Loughborough BID

Born and bred in Loughborough I am passionate about my home town and strive for it to be a successful and thriving town. My goal is to play a part in the creation of Loughborough as a destination of choice for shoppers, residents and visitors and a vibrant location for business.

As Chair of Love Loughborough BID I am dedicated to committing my time and passion to create an experiential town centre which can offer a real alternative to on-line shopping and through partnership working with pioneers like Loyal Free we are able to compete on a digital platform.

The creation of the LoyalFree App has generated business for our businesses and loyalty from our shoppers. The integration of the town guide and the new town trails has given customers a one stop shop for information on Loughborough.

Nick Richardson

CEO, The Insights People

Nick has established himself as a UK go-to-expert on kids insights, writing for marketing and trade magazines which focus on the buying habits, preferences and changing lifestyles of children and young people.

He speaks at events in the UK, Europe and the US about what’s hot (and what’s not) in the world of kids, tweens and teenagers.

His expert knowledge stems from his role as CEO and founder of ‘kid tech’ research company The Insights People, which surveys 400 different kids per week from the biggest panel of kids in the UK, numbering 20,000.

Dr Brendan Keegan

Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing, Manchester Metropolitan University

Dr. Brendan Keegan: I have taught Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University as a Senior Lecturer since 2010. My teaching and research agenda concentrates on digital marketing strategy, in particular how social media ​marketing has altered practices since its inception. At the core of my research vision is how digital technology has altered human culture and business procedures.

My PhD research focussed on a number of key issues in marketing strategy creation and marketing management in the digital age. My research vision continues to expand both the theoretical and practical scope of how digital technologies underpin initiatives that ​involve management of places.

Diane Wehrle

Marketing and Insights Director, Springboard Research Ltd

Diane is regarded as one of the leading experts on the high street and retail intelligence and insights. She is frequently called upon to comment on the performance of retail destinations across the national print and broadcast media, regularly appearing on the BBC and Sky News, with her views featured in The Times, Telegraph and Guardian amongst other titles.

With 26 years of experience in the retail and property industries, Diane has significant experience in understanding trends and the impact of events on retail and location performance, and in network and location planning. Diane holds an MSc in Property Investment, she sat on the Advisory Council of the ATCM (Association of Town Centre Management) for a number of years and is now a Senior Fellow of the Institute of Place Management.

Sven Latham

Managing Director, Noggin Ltd

Sven is a researcher, analyst and data specialist working with Chichester BID to improve their use of data.

For the last five years, Sven’s annual reports at Chichester BID’s AGMs have been warmly welcomed by levy payers for explaining the local context of High Street changes. Sven continues to work with the BID to develop new tools and ways to benefit the BID area.

Alex Schlagman

Founding Partner,

Alex Schlagman is Founding Partner of is an industry-wide movement to transform and strengthen the high street.

The movement launched in August 2016 with the release of a manifesto that defined a better connected, digitally enabled, more successful future high street and how we achieve it together. is supported by a national High Street Advisory Board (including 200+ independent businesses and 50+ other experts), dozens of strategic partners across public and private sector and a fast-growing network of Local Champions across the UK.

Alex is a serial entrepreneur on a mission to connect online and offline commerce. Prior to, Alex founded a click&collect shopping marketplace, a digital agency for small businesses and a local retail platform for students.

Dan Coombs

Regional Sales Director, ElephantWiFi

With over 30 years of sales and marketing experience  Dan joined ElephantWiFi in 2016 as Regional Director. In this time, Dan has site surveyed over 200 towns and cities UK wide and has personally overseen more than 30 town wide ElephantWiFi installations enabling him to be recognised as a specialist within the Smart City Solution arena.

Polly Barnfield, OBE

Founder and CEO of Maybe* and the #WDYT Campaign.

Polly Barnfield OBE is the Founder and CEO of Maybe* and the #WDYT Campaign.

Maybe* is a platform that eliminates the gap between how consumers use technology and how businesses are able to connect with them.

Maybe* uses AI to enable any business to turn social media conversations into insights that inform actions and deliver results.

The #WDYT (What do you Think) campaign is helping towns accelerate the evolution of their High Streets across the UK by listening to the voice of consumers.