Holly Ransom to shake up business conference format

Start-up founder Holly Ransom is planning a new festival style conference to run in late-May at Byron Bay.

Ransom has teamed up with co-founders Adam Ferrier and Cj Holden to launch ‘space’ with the goal to “change up the conversation” when it comes to conferences and collaboration.

Open to 300 hand-picked attendees over four days, space will ditch the panels and keynotes format in favour of collaborative conversations with speakers across a diverse range of industries and expertise, including advertising executive Russell Howcroft and former Rolling Stones tour manager Sam Cutler.

People will have to apply to attend and are hand-picked by the founding team to create a cross-section of people who “really care about the future of our country”, says Ransom.

“We want to break down the echo chambers in industry and create a dialogue about future-proofing Australia,” she told SmartCompany. “We need to have a conversation about the questions no-one is asking.

Ransom says they wanted to adopt to a different approach to the way standard business conferences run.

“I always found it funny how the conference structure hasn’t evolved much. We put people in a room, give them sugar, and assume they’ll learn,” she said.

“This is a destination event, so it’s focused on engaging with what you’re doing, as opposed to running to and from your work in the middle of a big city.

“Clearly we’re tapping into an existing hunger here. I think people are sick of being stuck in the same old conversation.”