HVM Graphene+ 2014: from research events to a grounded applications business event

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The Oxford 15 May edition of HVM Graphene+ 2014 is looking a delicious lineup of highly interesting and grounded talks by a dozen entrepreneurial and large player speakers.

There will be less hype about graphene and less naiveté about its automatic dominance. It will be challenged by the full gamut of functional materials, their pricing strategies, manufacturing utilities and applications.

So join us on 15 May – we are already more than half full, bookings are flowing in from senior and eminent guests, and the event is set to bring together some really interesting people.

Book now – speaking roles are complete. But places & exhibition stand positions in great positions for this conference are now limited & continue at lower cost!

Best wishes

CIR Team 2014

01223 303500

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Once upon a time, there was an old power grid…



Once upon a time, there was an old power grid.
Every day, the grid creaked under more strain and got older, less reliable and more stretched.
One day, people said – we want more renewable power on a grid that enables demand response so it doesn’t fall over, and wherein energy is affordable for consumers. This set of requirements caused even more problems. They then said: but we can fix this. We can make it better, more robust, affordable, smarter and cleaner.
Because of that, people who understand how they might improve things for this complex problem got together in conferences, briefings and workshops.
Because of that – they talked through issues and solutions and prioritised the plans for getting there safely.
Until finally, the Smart Grid became a reality!!!
6th Smart Grids & Cleanpower 2014
An excellent 2-day conference in Cambridge 3-4 June. The first day is an executive briefing day with experts giving in-depth talks, with private meetings, drinks, and culminating in a dinner roundtable at King’s College Cambridge.
The second day is a two-stream business conference with short talks and long panels, amid great speakers and businesspeople and entrepreneurs. One stream on smart grids and the other on smart energy, including fracking and energy trilemma sessions.
Don’t miss out!

The value of small, focussed conferences & referrals

A snippet from academia…

We ended the week looking at the optimal strategy for improving your centrality.

Centrality is how close to the center of the graph you are.

An application of this is how close you are to the center of your social network.

The initial simplistic model has an interesting conclusion…

there is more value in introducing two of your contacts than there is in meeting someone new in terms of your centrality.

This means that creating triads is more valuable than meeting new people. The other advantage of introducing people is that it does not reduce your distance to the edge of the network, i.e. it does not increase your visability to people you do not know. Introducing people does not mean a commitment on your part. It also means that  social brokers are increasing their own value by making introductions.

So far the model is very simplistic , I want to explore weights (the impact of other people’s centrality) and the distance they are from you in the graph. For example, if someone is a long distance from you, it may be more valuable to meet them than introduce people (i.e. Never commit early unless you know why).

If we can extend the proof on this it would mean that small focused conferences based on a group of very close friends would be shown to be more valuable than a larger one with weak links.

- IC PhD student linked to CIR

Economies of agglomeration

Very interesting programme with Evan Davis about London’s success last night, did you see it?

‘Economies of Agglomeration” was the key phrase.

Pack people into local clusters and they are more productive and more creative. Tech cities like Cambridge show this. King’s Cross is being developed with this in mind, by the likes of Google.

And people still love being together despite the technology as this seems to enable greater productivity.

This seems to vindicate my blogpost about high productivity at conferences where you can collar a good number of people in one day whilst learning and updating yourself and working.

Top 3 Recent HVMG+ Nano reports



1. http://nanotechweb.org/cws/article/indepth/56353 - Graphene Research turns to devices

2. http://www.nanowerk.com/nanotechnology_news/newsid=34508.php - Graphene’s bonding effect on platinum nanoparticles

3. http://cleantechnica.com/2014/02/24/graphenes-communications-potential-revealed-new-research/ - Graphene’s communications potential revealed in new research

Experience economy and conferences

It has come to my attention that one or two people feel that there are too many conferences happening. I believe there is a limit, but that the opposite is still true by some margin.

Some people choose to live in hotels. They do so as it gives them a great level of service, a low hassle life and a freer, less cluttered one. They can focus on the high value stuff. Well, of course they must have a budget! But one can see the attraction. They can be incredibly productive and flexible. Entrepreneurs who can, might well do so as often as possible.

Now what about conferences? Yes, conference organisers should take a very careful look at what others are doing where possible and think of the audiences rather than compete and try to kill off their competitors. That is silly. It destroys value. It looks bad. People see it – all is so transparent.

With a little differentiation, there is huge value to be added. Choices but not choking. The calendar looks excellent and coherent across providers of events be they conferences, breakfast briefings, evening drinks networking, speed-dating, investor champagne box pitching, seminars, summits, workshops and so on. Some are like “movies” – polished and even legendary. Many others are like TV shows – little and often, not so memorable, usually.

In this situation of having a differentiated, coherent calendar across event organisers, you have choice. And for the “hotel users” there is the option to be phenomenally productive. Conferences and other events can be massively productive days for those who are good at networking, using high level meetings and absorbing new information and analysis. So it is worth becoming a better networker and conference goer. Remember the positive externalities of doing so? It’s good for you, and it’s good for the others as you prolifically make connections for yourself and others, and then reap back the referrals. You are up, you feel good, you’re meeting new people, you’re getting to know those you already met, and you are getting things done and moving forward – all without being in the office – that’s increasingly the way!

So I would say there aren’t enough “high time events”. Not enough summits and conferences. Not well-enough arrayed events even in “sexy sectors”. And it’s headed in one direction – the experience economy is growing, so get used to it! The analogy with living in a hotel is of going to a much higher number of events whether they be free or paid for (you get what you pay for and invest in, by the way).

So “live in hotels”. Plan, choose and go to more conferences: take more uptime, build those productive places into your work: get out there more, get more mobile and less tied to an office, and be uber-productive!

Smart X: Exponential new experiences via the industrial internet

Smart X is taking off in a big way, according to the Chairman of the Smart Homes Conference 2013 which took place in Cambridge Q4.

But there are risks of great inefficiency and impediment to the evolution of the industrial internet because the technology or innovation is often still built within a silo, incompatible from hardware or software or data sharing with other innovations.

This is a potential barrier to maximally speedy development and is likely in part to be due to the use of business models attempting to appropriate value to investors and entrepreneurs having this effect.

ARM, the Lead Sponsor of the 2013 conference, therefore noted that we should be looking for business models and strategies to make money from Smart X such that are open and enable rapid development and crossovers.

Interoperability of devices will be important,  while data needs to kept secure. Innovation needs to be driven by diversity.

Telenor stated that the 10 billion smart home devices currently, would go to 50 billion by 2020. They noted that the value of a network grows rapidly with the number of connected devices, but more also with the effective use of the data shared.

This year Cambridge Investment Research combines its Smart Series conferences under the banner Smart X. We will return to interoperability. We will look careful at monetisation and business models. More to be announced!

We look to X = Grids and Energy 3-4 June in Cambridge. Then we move to other cities. There is also a related industrial conference series called HVM, which this year focused on carbon-based functional materials such as graphene, diamonds, carbon black and nanotubes.

These event series each have great potential and together it is exponential!

We look forward potentially to greeting you in person at one of these sensational events, hopefully starting this summer in Cambridge.

Watch this space!





HVM Graphene Conference Cambridge 2013 Programme Lineup!

HVMG13 Information | Bookings

Programme for 5 November 2013 HVMG Conference


Opening Session – Introduction & Graphene Basics: Functional Materials
10:00 Mike McCreary, Director, CIR Strategy
- Conference introduction
10:05 Professor Peter Dobson, Oxford University Nanomaterials – Chairman’s Introduction
10:20 Prof Andrea Ferrari, Cambridge University 
& Head, Cambridge Graphene Centre
Overview of the Applications of Graphene
10:35 Dr Patrick Frantz, CEO, Cambridge Graphene Platform
Low Cost Graphene & 2D Layered Material Inks for Printed Electronics
10:50 Dr Steve Thomas, CIT Ltd
Conductive materials – market uses & experiences
11:05 Panel with speakers & moderator & Prof Johnny Coleman Trinity College Dublin
11:30 Coffee break
Session 2 – Additive manufacturing, electronics, photonics
11:50 Dr Mike Banach, VP, Plastic Logic
Shaping the next industrial revolution
12:05 Dr David Brown, CTO, Canatu
Scaling of Carbon NanoBud film production for commercial apps in touch and display devices
12:20 Dr Richard van Rijn, CTO, Applied Nanolayers
High volume quality manufacture of graphene
12:30 Dr Kate Stone, Novalia
Creative printed electronics
12:35 Peter Towler, Director, BritonEMS part of OSI Electronics - What to expect from an EMS Supplier

12:40 Panel with Moderator Professor Ferrari & Dr Rob Harvey, AtomJet

13:05 Lunch and Exhibitions
Session 3 – Commercialisation Cases & other materials & applications
14:05 Dr Krzysztof Koziol, Chief Scientist, Cambridge Nanosystems Ltd
14:15 Professor Jonathan Coleman,
Layered materials: from tiny things to advanced applications
14:30 Professor Richard Palmer, Founder, Nanoscale Labs, Birmingham University
Prospects for massive scale-up from nano research in biochips & catalysis
14:50 Dr Nathan Hill, Strategy Director, National Graphene Institute – Commercialisation strategies

15:10 Panel with Moderator Del Stark CEO, Nanopro

15:30 Tea break
Final Session – Strategy for UK HVM & Graphene
16:00 Dr Jani Kivioja, Head, Nokia Research Center
Graphene – What is the commercial viability of short term applications?
16:30 Nick Coutts MA; Former IBM VP, CIR Strategy
Routes to Value for Graphene
16:40 Dr Martin Kemp, NanoKTN
Graphene commercialisation – Summary of industry consultation workshops
16:55 Professor Sir Michael Gregory CBE, Head, IfM
High Value Manufacturing Roadmaps
17:05 Panel with Professor Sir Mike Gregory CBE; Chairman’s Summary
17:30 Networking & Drinks Reception

Please contact 01223 303500 to speak to the organiser of HVMG13 directly.