The 14th annual Consult Hyperion Digital Money Forum was terrific. Here’s some of the feedback we’ve already had:

  • “Excellent! Thank you again”
  • “A most enjoyable event with a variety of speakers”
  • “It was very stimulating”
  • “A very informative conference which didn’t disappoint.”
  • “Very good – as always, so much new stuff”
  • “a terrific #dmf14 session on private vs public money”
  • “I saw the future, the past and, surprisingly, the freedom of cash.”
  • “Very good – as always, so much new stuff!”

First of all, and I can’t say this often enough, a very big thank you to the event sponsors who made it all possible: Visa Europe and Monitise. For an event like the Forum it’s really important to have sponsors who share our goals, and both of them were great, giving us the freedom to choose an eclectic mix of speakers and panelist who really helped the delegates (and us) to think in some new ways and to spark off new ideas about where to go next in the world of e-payments. This makes for a special event, unlike the commercial conferences that we attend throughout the year. The economist Diane Coyle, who was kind enough to chair the keynote session on day two, put it very nicely

As ever the Digital Money Forum proved itself a must for anyone interested in the intersection of technology and money

[From The Enlightened Economist :: Good money, digital or analogue]

And thanks also to our newest supporters, Olswang, who kindly sponsored to pub quiz (which was great fun) and the drinks that went with it.

I won’t go over everything that was discussed — the presentations are online if you want to download them — but I will highlight a couple of points that emerged over the two days. First of all, both of the opening sessions, which mixed history and future, worked very well and did, I think, help people to think more imaginatively about the discussions later in the day. The expert panels were popular as always, although I really should keep them to only four people per panel. I’ve had some interesting feedback about the panel on alternative currencies, which I think gave many organisations some unexpected directions to explore.

Mobile was, naturally, a key topic and pervaded many of the discussions. We may have to make it a bigger fraction of the agenda next year if we can find some new angles to approach it from. A lot of the delegates remarked on how juxtaposing lessons being learned in both developed and developing markets worked well, so that’s something to think about.

We’ve already started thinking about 15th Digital Money Forum and what we’re going to do to change things again. I can promise all of you that the event will keep moving forward. Next year will see a new venue (and, yes, there will be free wifi for all), some new ideas for interaction and some changes in the programme structure. One thing that won’t change is the art and design competition: given the outstanding presentations at the end of this years’ Forum, we’ll definitely do that again! If you weren’t there, I urge you to take a look at the competition winners and appreciate the imagination and invention that went into them.

If I had to highlight one presentation, it was Catherine Eagleton’s keynote. Catherine is the curator of Modern Money at the British Museum and co-author of the excellent Money-A History. She asked the delegates to send her examples of anything that should be preserved, particularly the intermediate forms of new payment systems that are forgotten in the long run. I hope some of them will take her up on that. But she also mentioned in passing how difficult it is to think of ways to preserve World of Warcraft gold pieces or Facebook credits for posterity, and I keep thinking about it now. It came up last year when Consult Hyperion were asked to provide a piece on mobile money for the Science Museum. We were enthusiastic, but soon realised that a phone in a glass case (with a dead battery) is not much of an exhibition, and I’m afraid the curators concurred. So if anyone has any ideas on that one, please get in touch (although it does give me an idea for next year’s competition!).

Oh, and I should finish by saying to everyone who mentioned it (and there were quite a few), yes, the hotel coffee was slop that I wouldn’t have fed to pigs and I swear with my hand on my heart that if we ever serve stuff like that to you again I will personally take all delegates to the nearest Caffe Nero and buy every single one of them a drink there myself.

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