Accenture and InnovationMap team up to bring innovative high-energy event to Houston for the first time
total knock out
The Houston innovation ecosystem has seen its fair share of panels. Whether the discussion is focused on digital health care or investing, it's structured the same way. However, one organization has redesigned what a typical innovation networking and panel event needs to look like, and Houston gets to see the Digital Fight Club in action in November.
Michael Pratt came up with the idea for Digital Fight Club as a way to liven up technology-focused events and networking opportunities. The plan was to pit two specialists against one another, with a referee steering the conversation. The audience is involved too and can vote in real time for the winner of the, for lack of a better word, debate.
"The notion of crazy fun wild entertainment was kind of in the back of our minds, but it exploded in that way more than we predicted it would," Pratt says.
Since Pratt premiered the concept in Dallas, where he is based, in 2016, he put on three more in Dallas and even hosted one in Boston in October 2018. The sixth Digital Fight Club will be hosted in Houston and presented by Accenture and InnovationMap, at White Oak Music Hall on November 20.
Brian Richards, managing director at Accenture and Houston Innovation Hub director, says he wanted to bring the concept to Houston because it's directly in line with what the city needs.
"We were just inspired by how completely different from a panel that it really brings out these core beliefs," Richards tells InnovationMap. "We thought it would be a great way to help spark the innovation community here in Houston."
The topics of discussion for the Houston edition include cybersecurity, future of the workforce, tech in oil and gas, health tech, and more. The event is structured very deliberately, Pratt tells InnovationMap. Five different 10-minute discussions take place between two fighters and a referee — all experts in their own ways on the topic at hand and selected by the event's partners and sponsors. Usually, the referees are a bit more senior with years of experience in an industry, and the fighters tend to be high-energy entrepreneurs.
"People that are founders and at that stage of their careers have no shortage of opinions, and that makes for great fighters," Pratt says.
Once the fight is over and the audience has decided the winner, conversations can continue at an after party. Pratt says he's e seen some pretty successful networking after his events, which is something that Richards is excited to bring to Houston.
"One of the things we've been trying to drive here in Houston is collisions — the ability to get our corporates, our investors, our startup founders to collide," Richards says. "We believe this is a way to help create that density of collisions and this is a format that helps spark that in an organic way."
Here's an example of what a Digital Fight Club match up looks like:
Digital Fight Club: Dallas 2019: Fight #3: Silence: To digitally disconnect or not www.youtube.com