Flame Conference 2016

Last week we attended the annual UK Active Flame Conference in Telford...here's a brief insight of our time there.

The conference kicked off with a talk from Tanni Grey-Thompson, the chair of UK Active, who noted that “collaboration is key to continued sector progress”. Tanni’s keynote was followed by a thought provoking talk from Steffan Hyttfors, a futurist. Using the notable catchphrase ‘WTF?’ (What’s The Future), Steffan highlighted that we must embrace the future and the changes it will bring. He believes that technology has no borders and disruption is rifer due to ever increasing innovation. Hyttfors also noted that “companies aren’t going bust because they’re bad, we just don’t need them anymore” and that 70% of Fortune 500 companies won’t be here in 10 years’ time.

Next up, we listened to Laura Penhaul who led the first all-female crew to row across the Pacific Ocean from US to Australia. Laura shared her experiences of the good, the bad and the ugly whilst at sea for 257 days. Impressed by not only her determination, we were also pretty blown away by the images of whales, sharks and turtles floating below their boat ‘Doris’. We’re looking forward to seeing all of Laura’s story in the upcoming documentary “Losing Sight of Shore”. Laura aims to inspire others and encourage them to find their own Pacific and conquer any life challenges.

From one inspiring individual to another, we listened to Simon Wheatcroft’s story. Simon lost his sight aged 17 but refuses to quit. Instead he became an ultramarathon runner. He started out by running around his local football field to tackling roads and then even the desert. Simon, who began his running career by utilising RunKeeper and the help of running companions, has now partnered with IBM to create technology to enable him to run solo.

After lunch, we listened to Sean Fitzpatrick, the most-capped All Black player ever. With a humorous yet heart-warming approach, Fitzy discussed leadership, the importance of winning and how “good people, make a good team”. Amazed by his flair, we followed Fitzy to the panel room where he talked about inspiring future leaders with Dame Kelly Holmes. double Olympic gold medallist, Sarah Edmonds, Director of Quality & Standards at Active IQ and Sharon Pavitt, the head of the Nuffield Academy.

After even more refreshments, and a quick go on PRAMA, an interactive fitness platform paired with the Oculus Rift headset, we headed back to the keynote theatre to listen to George Berkowski, a technology entrepreneur and writer of “How to Build a Billion Dollar App”. George, also director of the taxi app Hailocab, discussed disruption in the mobile app business and how the fitness industry will soon be disrupted by artificial intelligence and augmented reality. He gave an eye opening account of how Uber is monetizing on our every move; they watch our battery life to add surcharges and log our drops off points to help lower future traffic congestion. Once again, innovation is the key word here.

Steven Ward, Executive Director of UK Active, wrapped up the day’s events by underlining his vision for the year ahead with his key aim set at preventing inactivity within the UK.

Later that evening the awards ceremony took place…congratulations to all winners and runners up of the awards! A comprehensive list of the winners can be found here.

Thank you to UK Active for another fantastic event and we can’t wait for next year which will no doubt be even bigger and better.

Written by Abi Taylor, Sports Researcher