Looking back on the Data Innovation Showcase


On the 27th and 28th of September, the National Innovation Centre for Data hosted its first ever conference - the Data Innovation Showcase. The two-day event was centred around two streams - Data Mastery and the Art of Innovation.

The Data Mastery sessions consisted of technical workshops hosted by our team on the following topics:  

  • Computer Vision 

  • Python 

  • Statistics and Machine Learning 

  • Reinforcement Learning 

  • Large Language Models

  • Descriptive Data Products

  • The difference between No-Code, Low-Code and Coding solutions

  • AI in Edge Computing

The Art of Innovation stream also featured insights from the National Innovation Centre for Data, but we were joined by a variety of guest speakers from a diverse range of organisations including: 

  • Scott Logic 

  •  Newcastle University 

  • Sunderland City Council 

  • Learning Curve Group 

  • Gateshead College

  • Jumping Rivers

  • Sunderland Software City and Digital Catapult

  • CPI

  • Innovation SuperNetwork 

The aim of these sessions was to explore how data-driven innovation can be deployed for business success, through separating the hype for the tools with real impact, presenting examples of how other businesses have mastered innovation and taking a look at the support available for organisations. 

The highlight for many of our attendees, however, was the plenary sessions, which included two fascinating keynote talks. On day one, Head of Public Value Research at BBC R&D, Bill Thompson, delivered his talk ‘The New 'New Journalism': How Big Data and AI are Transforming the News’. He explored the possibilities that big data and AI could hold for the future, including how it could alter the way we tell stories and report the news. Chief Operating Officer at Northumbria Healthcare Trust, Birju Bartoli, gave day two’s keynote talk - ‘The Data Engine Underneath the NHS’. She provided an insight into the many ways that data powers the NHS, from improving clinical care to predicting when hospital admissions will rise.  

As well as the keynote talks, the ‘Data-Driven Success Stories’ sessions that we held on both days were also a favourite for many. Representatives from organisations that we’ve collaborated with took to the stage to share the impact that developing their data science skills has had on their business.

We heard from: 

  • Connected Energy 

  • NHS England 

  • Naimuri 

  • Kinewell Energy 

  • Polybox Solutions

  • Soil Machine Dynamics

  • Mitsubishi Chemical

  • AkzoNobel

We were truly blown away with the reception to the showcase, with many people taking to social media to express how much they’d gained from the two days.

Here are just a handful of the comments we received: 

“What an excellent two days. Thoroughly enjoyed every part of it and can’t wait until next year. Very well organised, excellent speakers and workshops.” 

“It was a great event where I learned so much about how data is being used in innovative ways in different organisations and I made some great connections.” 

“Fantastic event, I am so inspired and pumped up. I have a lot of new ideas to bring to my work and implement together with my team. Lots of fascinating discussions.” 

“I am truly grateful for this enlightening experience, which has not only enriched my knowledge but also deepened my passion for the dynamic world of data science and AI.” 

The results from the feedback form for the event also reflected what a great success it was: 

  • 100% of respondents said they would attend next year 

  • 100% of respondents rated the conference excellent or very good overall 

  • 83% of respondents said they were either highly likely or likely to use what they learned at the conference to benefit their organisation or role 

  • 95% of respondents said they found the conference content either highly engaging or engaging

We would like to say a huge thank you to our sponsors - BBC, Leonardo, Red Hat, SPG, Jumping Rivers, DASA, DSTL and Generic AI - for making this event possible. The majority of our sponsors had exhibitor stalls at the showcase, with the networking and discussions had there also being a highlight for many attendees. We’d also like to thank our supporting funders, Newcastle University and the North of Tyne Combined Authority. 

We’re really excited to share the following film with you, which takes a look back at what the Data Innovation Showcase aimed to do, why we believe an event like this is important and what some of our audience members and speakers thought of it. Hopefully, this will get you even more excited for next year’s showcase, which you can keep up to date with by joining our mailing list – contact us here if you’d like to be added. In the meantime, watch this space... 


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