Day 1 - Work

The world of work has changed. Technology has created new industries, business models and behaviours. To kickstart the GREAT Festival of Innovation, we’ll explore how work is being transformed by innovation, radical ideas and disruptive technology. Audiences will discover how savvy businesses are evolving and working together to adapt to these changes – and how they’re prospering. We’ll discuss the importance of free trade, sustainable energy, cybersecurity, fintech, artificial intelligence, future workplaces and much more.

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08:30 - 09:30


Keynote: Festival Opening

09:40 - 10:00

The GREAT Festival of Innovation takes place at a historic moment for the UK, Hong Kong, China and the wider region. To open this celebration of partnership, innovation and prosperity, Day 1 will begin with a keynote addressed by The Rt Hon Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade. 

He’ll introduce the themes and ambitions of this uniquely international event, and explore the enduring and interconnected relationship between the region, the United Kingdom and other parts of the world.



10:20 - 11:00

The GREAT Festival of Innovation gets underway with leaders from the UK, Hong Kong and the Asia Pacific region looking beyond borders. We’ll explore how new technologies and international initiatives like China’s vast Belt & Road plan are transforming global trade at an exponential pace. 

Voices from both the political and commercial world will share key learnings on themes ranging from blockchain and green finance to the global free-trade environment and emerging artificial intelligence systems that promise to reshape business and build sustainable prosperity for all. 



10:20 - 11:00

New technologies hold the key to creating low-carbon cites while powering new business, but how do we get them from lab to marketplace? How can governments and private sector help fund clean energy exploration, and who will pay for upgrading grids to cope with the influx of all this renewable power? From low-power processors and floating wind farms to see-through solar cells and smart energy grids, discover the potential and challenges of these emerging solutions with the world’s leading green energy pioneers.


Three small robots and their dream to save the world

10:30 - 11:00

Small Robot Company is a British agri-tech start up focused on revolutionising the way that technology is used to create food. We want to make farming profitable, more efficient and more environmentally friendly. We are transforming farming with robots and artificial intelligence to deliver this dream. 

We’re commercialising a deceptively simple idea: small robots not big tractors. It’s the best of all worlds. An increased yield and profit, as well as minimal chemical usage. Small is good.


Morning Networking

11:00 - 11:30


Developing tomorrow s global workforce - #DMUglobal / #DMUworks

11:15 - 12:00

International experience, creativity and independence of spirit are critical skills for students as they embark on careers in today’s knowledge economy.
Join Professor Dominic Shellard, Vice-Chancellor of De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) and students to hear how a higher education experience prepares students for the world of work.

Professor Shellard will also talk about how DMU’s award-winning international experience programme #DMUglobal has transformed students’ lives and how a new scheme, #DMUworks, will provide opportunities for students, businesses, charities and global organisations to benefit from the talent of tomorrow. 



11:30 - 12:30

What makes a great leader? How can leadership be developed into a force for true achievement? How do leaders learn from their biggest mistakes? Explore successful leadership through the personal and professional choices of the most influential people in business.



11:30 - 12:30

In today’s hyper-connected world, how can we keep our vital systems safe from cyber attack? Experts discuss how leadership can successfully embed a 'security first' attitude into a company culture and what happens if you don't, whilst also shining a light on solutions that best help mitigate risks posed by these attacks. 

The debate will illuminate the challenges of securing our networks from state and non-state actors and the importance of such security for future global trade, where threats affect businesses at all levels.


How to build a smart city in a week

12:15 - 12:45

SenSat are building high resolution 3D models of the real world, our digital twins coupled with an ecosystem of Narrow Artificial Intelligences (nAI) that can talk to one another allow us to accelerate the construction industry’s productivity and effectiveness.


Smart cities are being talked about around the world. One of the biggest challenges with any project is time and resources – two of the key reasons why no smart city project has been attempted yet. We created a smart city in a week and will present what we found and what it means.



12:30 - 13:45


Tom Kerridge: Masterclass

13:00 - 13:30

Chef of the moment, Tom Kerridge, will be delivering a fascinating masterclass highlighting the differences – and parallels – between British and Asian cooking, complete with tasty treats for our guests to try.



13:45 - 14:45

Innovative new start-ups and entrepreneurs are disrupting the financial services industry with a range of new technologies. From algorithms and blockchain to banking Apps and online lending, the race is on across Asia and around the world to develop the systems and services that will shape the future of banking, buying, trading and lending. Learn how everyone from individuals to multinationals can leverage the 

best of this technology, and hear first-hand from leading fintech start-ups, technologists and world leaders in finance from the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and beyond.

Recently confirmed speakers:

Hon Tara Rivers JP, Minister for Financial Services and Home Affairs



The Future of Voice and AI

13:45 - 14:00

Voice and Artificial Intelligence are driving new opportunities in smart speakers, voice assistants and moving beyond tech in the home.





Lord Price: Engaging the Workforce

13:45 - 14:00



14:00 - 14:45

The world of work is rapidly evolving. Co-working spaces are no longer reserved for millennial freelancers and tech startups. Large multinationals are increasingly putting social responsibility and wellbeing on the agenda. Customers and colleagues are increasingly concerned with a company’s sustainability record.

How can architects help business leaders achieve their current and future workplace objectives? Discover how a happy, healthy workforce leads to healthy revenue, and how tomorrow’s leading companies are embracing new ways of working. 


Future of Decentralised Applications

14:00 - 14:20

On a parallel front, crypto-networks are decentralizing infrastructure across industries such as communication while unlocking vast data, but with implications on data privacy and security. What big everyday changes can we expect to see in the next couple years in our daily lives and work?


Sean Moss-Pultz, Co-Founder & CEO, Bitmark


Exiting to the Giants

14:20 - 14:35

An entrepreneur’s story who built a gaming company that was acquired by Shanda Games and a publishing app that was sold to Facebook.  How should a startup relate to big tech companies in Asia and the US?


The Massive Small

15:00 - 15:45

Disruption is here; colliding megatrends – from exponential technologies to social unrest – are reshaping the dynamics of markets and society. How future-proofed is your business? Are you on a glide path to steady growth or are the pillars of your business model now in question? Is your “official future” fact or fiction? 


And what is the strategic response? What are the challenges for industry leaders as they confront the new landscape of risk and opportunity? Is it game over for the incumbents? Is small the new big? Or are there lesson strategies for success and emerging lessons from industry leaders that map a pathway towards transformation?



15:00 - 15:45

After years of being the next big thing, Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are today firmly happening now. How can businesses, governments and organisations capitalise on the risks and opportunities created by this rapid change and disruption? Join industry experts from a variety of sectors as we discuss the impact of AI on the businesses of today and tomorrow. 

We’ll explore how emerging technologies and systems will transform business models, solve problems – and create new ones.





Transforming Legacy Companies With Innovation

15:00 - 15:45

Legacy companies founded in Hong Kong are steeped in the city's history. They often reflect the triumphs and tribulations of Hong Kong. In the age of digital disruption, however, these companies are driving forward through transformation and innovation. Led by a young generation of business leaders, these companies have put in place 

roadmaps, tackled struggles and attempting to breakthrough traditional constraints, expanding business, and establishing new culture and vision for the company. The panel will explore transformative journeys through the perspectives of three young leaders.




15:45 - 16:15



16:15 - 17:00

To close Day 1, we’ll explore some of the most pressing issues around artificial intelligence and look at how such systems are poised to transform global business. Experts will dive deep into the world of intelligent machines and look at platforms that are capable of processing complex real-world information. 



Discover how the next generation will need skills to work with machines, not like machines – and what this means for your business.



Welcome Reception supported by HSBC

17:00 - 21:00

To celebrate the opening day of the GREAT Festival of Innovation, the Asia Society will be flooded with ambient red and white lighting to host a special welcome reception supported by HSBC. Guests can enjoy a bespoke GREAT Festival cocktail/mocktail curated by an award winning mixologist, enjoy a live performance from one of the UK’s leading bands and sample a menu curated by renowned chef Tom Kerridge.