CIPD’s Festival of Work 2019: 3 secrets to getting the most from your visit

Daniel Paylor
Last updated on 9th December 2019
3 min read

What does the first cyborg artist and a world-class chess player have in common? They’re both keynote sessions at the first ever Festival of Work.

This year’s inaugural Festival of Work brings together two exhibitions into one conference for the very first time, bringing you the latest trends in HR and People.

Want to navigate through the Festival of Work? We’ve got all the best details and worst kept secrets, enabling you to get the very best from your time there.

Don’t forget to visit us at stand C80 to grab some ice cream, see some incredible magic, pick up one of our drone giveaways and take a tour of Sage People, our global HR and People system at the conference.

In the meantime, here’s everything you need to know about the event…

What is the Festival of Work?

CIPD’s HR Software and Recruitment Show and the Learning and Development Show have been merged, creating the Festival of Work.

By combining the two shows into an even bigger conference format, event organizers CIPD are aiming to offer HR and People leaders everything they need to know about the future of HR and the workplace in one event.

When and where is CIPD’s Festival of Work?

The inaugural Festival of Work will be held at Olympia, London on June 12 and 13.

Doors open for the Festival of Work at 8:45am on June 12, leaving you some time before the conference starts at 09:30 to familiarize yourself, grab a coffee, and take a wonder around the exhibition.

Secret #1: Don’t miss the keynotes

Keynotes always set the tone for any conference, and Festival of Work has lined up two stellar speakers for this year. Don’t miss them. Find out what you can expect from both the opening and closing keynotes.

The future of work is human – where machine intelligence ends and creativity begins: Garry Kasparov, Chess Grandmaster and Chair of the Human Rights Foundation (Wednesday June 12, 9:35am)

You might have played a game of chess against a computer before, but have you ever played a super computer? Garry Kasparov has, and lost. Despite losing, he sees that game as a victory for humans with the advances made in technology.

Kasparov will share experiences about the real benefits of machine learning and the importance of breaking down barriers to embrace technology, and its place in the future world of work.

The renaissance of our species – discovering the integration between humans and machines: Neil Harbisson, Cyborg Artist and Co-founder of the Cyborg Foundation (Thursday June 13, 3:40pm)

Humans with antennas – will it catch on?

According to Neil Harbisson, absolutely it will. He’s the world’s first cyborg (part man, part machine) artist and the first person ever to have an antenna implanted into his skull. As someone with color-blindness, Harbisson’s antenna allows him to interpret colors as sounds.

Harbisson will share his thoughts on how machines can increase our own potential, enhance creativity and inevitably, transform our work.

Harbisson’s talks are truly fascinating. If you have ten minutes over your lunch break, watch his Tedx talk.

Secret #2: Go further than the main Festival of Work conference sessions

To get an overall view of what the future of work has in store, explore all six streams on offer. You might come across trends that could revolutionize the way your team works.

Here’s a flavor of what to expect.

Wearables in the workplace – the implications of collecting and using employee health data: Interactive panel (Wednesday June 12, 2:50pm)

We wear our feelings on our sleeves, as the saying goes. That’s now a reality with the advances in wearable technology. Some companies are already implementing to track wellbeing, engagement and productivity.

Listen to the experts’ view in the panel session which includes Aviva’s Head of People Analytics and Insight, Angela Ignam. They’ll cover the pros and cons, the opportunities it could bring for healthier workforces, and the downfalls.

The new AI coach – explore how AI will help humans deliver better coaching: Professor David Clutterbuck, Special Ambassador of European Mentoring and Coaching Council and Visiting Professor at Henley Business School (Thursday June 13, 9:30am)

How would you feel about your employees having a virtual coach rather than a human coach? Or more importantly, are they more or less valuable than a human coach?

AI’s been making considerable advances in HR, and coaching’s just one of those areas. For the moment, AI coaching’s utilized for simple answer questions but with pace of technological advancement, it won’t be like this for long.

Professor David Clutterbuck will explain how coach-bots are being used, the pros and cons, and how humans and bots can work together.

The art of engagement – motivating a multigenerational workforce to enhance productivity: lightening talks by various speakers (Wednesday June 12, 2:50pm)

How can you manage five generations with different characteristics to not just be a team, but an engaged and productive one?

With the gap between generations wider than ever, what engages generation Z at work’s likely to be completely different to baby boomers. So, it’s vital to find out what they need to thrive.

Perry Timms, Founder and Chief Energy Officer at PTHR, and Andrea Haug, Director of Partnership Proposition and Experience at John Lewis make up two of the four lightening talks.

Expect fast-paced thoughts from the experts on what motivates different generations to tailor experiences for increased productivity and performance.

Secret #3: Don’t forget the expo

The expo has three zones all situated in a large hall; HR technology, future of work, and learning and development. This’ll be the first year these exhibitors will be available at one event so definitely make the most of it.

In fact, why not pick a different zone between each of the conference slots to visit? Or if you’d rather go when it’s quieter, make sure you’re there when the doors open on the first or second day.

Don’t forget we’ll be there. When visiting the expo, come and visit stand C80 to see more about how our global cloud HR and People system is revolutionizing experiences for mid-sized multinational People Companies around the globe.


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