Six years ago, Pause Fest began with a few hundred attendees discussing their ideas around creativity, technology and business. When the festival opens its doors next month, there will be an expected crowd of over 12,000 people gathered from not just every state around Australia, but overseas as well.

“Pause’s growth has been organic,” said founder George Hedon in a previous interview with Startup Daily. “It has been determined by a sense of exploration. Instead of asking ‘what if?’, we ask ‘why not?’ By consistently listening to our audiences, learning from experience and [adding to that] a healthy dose of f**k yeah, Pause is reflecting and inventing tech culture all at once.”

A conference like Pause Fest is important because digital disruption is changing the way consumers behave and businesses operate. In order to make this idea the centre of attention for attendees, the conference has been designed around the three pillars of startup companies in 2016: Creative, Tech, and Business.

The creatives coming to talk at Pause Fest this year are sure to inspire those in attendance, say the organisers.

Some of those names include Bronwyn Vandermerwe from Fjord Australia. With the design firm recently partnering with Telstra, Vandermerwe will be talking about ‘Lessons from Telstra’s digital transformation.’ The talk will focus on not only the experience for their customers, but also their workforce. Vandermerwe says that these are two sides of the same coin; as employees deliver the service experiences to Telstra’s customers, it is important to look at, as an organisation, how these people are supported so they always do their best.

In this talk the team will share and discuss specific examples, challenges, insights, and honest stories of service design methodologies as the basis for business transformation. Joining this talk will be Dr Chris Wood, the General Manager of Experience Design at Telstra.

Another major player in the design and technology space talking at the festival is Angela Ferguson, the Managing Director of Thoughtworks Australia. The topic that she will be talking on is ‘The team of tomorrow – How to structure for product and personal success.’

Ferguson will be talking about the fact that science, technology, engineering, art and design, and maths are all creative pursuits. When combining all of these unique skill sets and disciplines it allows teams to resolve problems and create winning, scalable products.

Ferguson will also be talking about the importance of making sure that organisations ensure that their talent pool is diverse, and how companies can learn to leverage the diversity within their organisation to build better products.

Under Ferguson’s leadership, Thoughtworks has seen numbers increase to the point where, so far, over 30 percent of the companies software developers and 45 percent of its consultants are women.

Matt Newell, founder of retail innovation and design firm The General Store will also be joining the line up. He will be holding a conversation around ‘Irrational Retail and the Science of Buying.

Newell will be taking a slightly different approach with his talk, engaging with the audience through some interactive experiments. He will be demonstrating the art of persuasion and the science that guides us consumers through this process.

Attendees will get to experience first hand the biology of decision-making and see how creativity and design play a major role in delivering big commercial outcomes – vital for those at the festival looking for ideas on how to strengthen their approach to consumer-facing work.

In 2013 The General Store’s client Shoes of Prey won gold for ‘Store Design of the Year’ at the World Retail Awards in Paris and in 2015, the firm itself was named ‘Best Emerging Agency’ at the Mumbrella Agency of the Year Awards.  

Another interesting headliner at the festival is Rhys Hayes, the founder and Managing Partner of IE Agency, who will be covering ‘A startup within a startup. Mistakes, opportunities and traps.

He will be talking about what it is like to found a company both here in Australia and in the USA, and will be providing some key insights into how you can do it successfully.

Pause Fest 2016 will take place at Federation Square on the 8th – 14th of February 2016. Tickets can be purchased here.

Image: Angela Ferguson, Thoughtworks | Source: AFR

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