Digitalist Agenda: Places to Be in Q1 2018

Shelly Dutton

The leading edge of the Digital Economy is wherever innovators gather.

Jan 14–16
NRF 2018

New York City

Hamdi Ulukaya,  Credit: Hamdi Ulukaya

With over 34,500 attendees, more than 300 speakers, and 510 exhibitors, “The Big Show” from the National Retail Federation is certain to reveal some new trends and technologies. Executives from some of the industry’s best-known brands—including Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya; Mary Campbell, QVC executive vice president of commerce platforms; and Michael Lastoria, co-founder and CEO of the &pizza pizzeria chain—will share how they created industry-disruptive business models and customer experiences.


Feb 5–7
Applied AI Summit 2018


Ali Shah, Credit: Ali Shah

Perhaps the biggest challenge with AI is translating it from just another technology trend to a catalyst for innovation that can provide meaningful business results. This conference is designed to provide insight that leads to action. Presenters include AI innovators such as Philipp Diesinger, chief data scientist from Boehringer Ingelheim; Ali Shah, head of emerging technology and strategic direction at the BBC; and Louis Monier, head of the AI lab for Airbnb.


Feb 7–8
Chief Strategy Officer Summit

Melbourne, Australia

Jennifer Scott, Credit: Jennifer Scott

Having a digital strategy is just a start—it’s how you put that strategy into action that counts most. Discover best practices for consumer-led disruption, leading an innovation strategy, and recovering from strategic mistakes. Presenters include Kenneth Kong, head of strategy for BP, Australia and New Zealand; Jennifer Scott, COO of finance at eBay; and Matthew Galt, head of corporate strategy at Australia Post.


Feb 26– Mar 1
Mobile World Congress

Barcelona, Spain

Credit: Mobile World Congress

Over 108,000 attendees—representing 208 countries and featuring prominent executives from mobile operators, device manufacturers, and technology providers—gather annually to exchange ideas and share the innovations that are changing how we live and work in a connected world. Vodafone Group chief executive Vittorio Colao; NTT Docomo president and CEO Kazuhiro Yoshizawa; and Ericsson president and CEO Börje Ekholm will join mobility leaders from all over the world to explore the intersection of mobile technology with the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and immersive experiences.


Mar 8–9
Blockchain Africa Conference 2018


Tanya Knowles, Credit: Tanya Knowles

Despite all the hype about blockchain, it’s still not clear how to put this complex technology to practical use. This conference promises to reveal concrete business use cases for payments, contracts, identity management, proof of ownership, and regulatory compliance, among other areas. Presenters include Lorien Gamaroff, CEO of Bankymoon and co-founder and CEO of Centbee; Tanya Knowles, managing executive of Fractal Solutions, a division of Strate, South Africa’s authorized Central Securities Depository; Andrew Keys, co-founder of ConsenSys Capital; and Farzam Ehsani, leader of Rand Merchant Bank’s blockchain initiative.