Last week, ORM hosted a new event ‘The Lightning Round’, where different speakers came together to present a series of fast-paced “lightning” talks. The presentations were on all things digital and tech, from AI, deep-fake, hackathons, personalisation, bots and UX. As well as ORMers presenting new services and ways of working, we also had external speakers, starting with Stuart Cook from Valley Bank in the US.


Cook, who has worked in banking and fintech in the UK and the US, kicked off the event by talking about mindsets and enhanced working practices. He advocated moving away from project-based ways of working, to becoming a product-centric business that encompasses everything from team setup to strategy and agile development. ORM and Valley Bank are currently working together developing a suite of digital products that can be rolled out and reused across Valley’s business, with the intention to create new and diversified revenue for the US community bank.


Next up, Amy Creeden, ORM’s Senior Marketing Manager, presented a new service – Hack-as-a-Service – that the digital agency has begun offering, following the success of its first hackathon with housing associations, PITCH, earlier in the year. Leona Bell, ORM’s Head of Data followed this by cramming her expertise on personalisation into just five minutes – not an easy feat, but she managed it by presenting high-level of what the barriers are and how to get started with your business’ personalisation strategy. The final ORMer was Jamie Johal, Lead UX Designer, who talked about lean UX and how the process can work for any business and help drive leaner processes and less documentation across the product development lifecycle.


The penultimate presentation was from Paul Shepherd, CEO of We Build Bots, a company that does exactly as it says on the tin. Working with the likes of The AA, Amnesty International, South West Water and shared ORM client Transport for Wales, Shepherd talked about the trends of using chatbots over the last few years and how to use them successfully for your business.


Lastly, we had Pete Trainor, the best-selling author of ‘Human-Focused Digital’ and new CEO of Vala Health, presenting a light version of a TEDx talk that he did recently on the incredible story of his friend James Dunn. James suffered all his short life from a debilitating skin condition, yet had an amazing zest for life that made him determined to succeed and bring happiness to those he met. He wanted this to continue after he passed away, and so with support from technologists and digital experts, James found a way to upload his own corpus of  personal data and utilise the power of AI to live on.