Tech Week 2023 in Otautahi Christchurch – It’s a wrap!
It is a wrap on a big week for our small team who went the extra mile to try something new for TechWeek23 – and what a week it was! We had people come from as far away as Melbourne to be part of the Canterbury Tech TechWeek hub from 15-19th May 2023 at the EPIC innovation centre on Manchester Street.
I want to say a massive thank you to all the community who registered to one of our 25 Tech Hub events and who took time out of their day, joined in discussions and told their friends and colleagues. All those small actions created an amazing buzz and of course a massive thank you is owed to our speakers who took time out to share knowledge about what the future could look like for us – some world class content there.
Thanks to our amazing Sponsors who believed in the vision and jumped on board Amazon Web Services (AWS) , Spark Health, Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), Sal’s Pizza and our Supporting Partners Epic Innovation Centre and ChristchurchNZ – we so grateful for your support and enthusiasm to support the community.
Going into Tech Week I had a couple of lofty goals. My team looked at me like I was a little mad at first and I probably was, but hey here’s what what we were trying to achieve:
Collaboration across our city partners
Having one central place to hold events meant that not-for-profits, small businesses and secret squirrel operations who don’t have premises to host events could all also get involved and our supporting sponsors could invite and attract a diverse audience.
Tech Week was a great chance to pull together a central hub of activity that we could invite our key city partners to collaborate in – cos really our city will be stronger if we are all working together and lifting each other up. We got great responses and were so happy to have involvement of ChristchurchNZ, Aerospace New Zealand, Ministry of Awesome, Christchurch City Council, all our educational organisations and crown research, Kiwinet, CECC and a wide range of businesses who were users or creators of tech.
Collaboration across disciplines
Being a design thinker, I love to have all the right people in the room. By creating five themed days about the future of our society (covering transport, health, food & climate, business, technology) we were able to attract a really diverse audience and have lots of cross discipline discussions. It was so great to see on the Future of Health Day, sponsored by Spark Health that we had doctors from the hospital, researchers technologists, Ai researchers, software developers and business leaders and software developers all talking together.
There is so much responsible leadership happening in Christchurch from space technologists determined not to leave a single fleck of paint in space, waste management working deeply on circular waste strategies and Christchurch airport showing multi-generational thinking in decarbonisation investment and not afraid to lead the change globally – I felt really inflated after hearing of the awesome leadership happening in our region across all these very important sectors.
Supporting our technology sector MeetUps
Another goal was to reinvigorate our technology sector MeetUp groups by bringing the key organisers together to talk about their challenges and see if we couldn’t find the solutions together. We heard that attracting an audience, locking in speakers and venues and affording pizza and beers to attract attendees were all challenges. So during Friday of Tech week we were able to hold the MeetUp Organisers Unconference and a Monster MeetUp to celebrate this important part of our community.
We heard the research earlier in 2023 by Research First that it’s lonely and hard to fit in when you come to Christchurch, so I am hoping that new people to our city will find these groups and Canterbury Tech events, a welcome landing place to meet people who are into the same things they are. Hospitality and a truly inclusive welcoming atmosphere is key to making people feel a sense of palace in the tech community no matter what their experience level.
Launch of MeetUp Fund with founding Sponsor AWS
On that note – we made a major announcement about our new MeetUp Fund and Amazon Web Services AWS joining us as the Founding Sponsors. The generosity of the team at AWS means we are able to start a fund to distribute needed resources to existing MeetUps to cover some operational expenses such as food and drink and also to help with set up costs for new MeetUps to be able to get off the ground.
We’re getting this all set up now and will launch the fund towards the end of June 2023, so watch our newsletter next month and website for announcements. If you are a Meet Up organiser and you haven’t joined our community organisers group please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Next time – plans for 2024
We know we had a few sound issues at the Monster MeetUp big event on Friday but other than that I am extremely happy with the responses and variety of our attendees this year. The quality of our speakers was awesome and thought provoking and I’m looking forward to where we take it next year.
If you attended one of our Tech Week Hub events then let us know how you found it and we can get busy planning something awesome for 2024 – we’d love to hear your ideas.
Thanks from Louisa and the whole Canterbury Tech team