Newcastle-based Navada Group recount their China adventure

Digital consultancy Navada Group have been picked to travel to China as part of a major market visit - and they're filing dispatches on their travels

Navada Group directors Jeremy Forsberg and Matthew Scott
Navada Group directors Jeremy Forsberg and Matthew Scott

Newcastle-headquartered digital consultancy Navada Group has arrived in China on a special visit led by Vince Cable MP, together with BBC Worldwide, Universal and UKTI, to meet with the country’s leading broadcasters, entertainment, business and tech leaders to discuss the firm’s new ‘hyperlocal’ application Vadoo.

The application allows broadcasters and other stakeholders to engage in a two way communication directly on mobile phones- the holy grail of new broadcast models.

Matt and Jeremy have been also filmed for a documentary of several of the businesses taking part and will be featuring on Chinese Television (with potential audiences of 100-300 million people), attending an awards show broadcast live while connecting with the Chinese broadcast, creative and tech elite.

Navada Group was co-founded by CEOs Matthew Scott and Jeremy Forsberg and launched initially as Firebrand Digital Strategies in 2012.

With offices in Newcastle, Belfast and London it rebranded as Navada Group in September 2013.

Matthew and Jeremy are filing reports to Journal Business on their time in China - and here’s their first despatch.

DAY ONE

We’ve landed.

So the adventure begins. We only have to stretch our memories back a few months when we started to hear mutterings of a Technology Innovators Forum (TIF) in China and that we would be invited.

Navada conducted a digital hangout at TIF-In London that brought together amazing innovators and big investment with the most powerful man in music, Lucian Grainge presiding over the activities.

We had the opportunity to interview many of these outstanding minds at the event, including an exclusive interview with an elusive founder of Love Film.

A few of the hangout videos can be seen at www.youtube.com/navadagroup

What was certainly apparent is the awesome creative and technological talent there is the UK. It’s world class.

So we were very honoured to be asked to attend the TIF-In China (and build the website www.tif-in.com) as an innovator, taking part in pitching our own creative technology ideas.

The event happening in Qingdao is even bigger than we had expected as we sat in a briefing with a Cabinet Secretary, an executive producer on the last 13 Bond Films and some amazing tech talent.

Add to it a BAFTA-type ceremony for the event being broadcast nationally to around 100 million people and Navada featuring in a documentary for Chinese Central Television and it shouldn’t surprise anyone it all started to become a little surreal.

As a result, it has been an intense few weeks preparing and working to ensure that we make the most of the opportunity.

Even before we departed, we’ve already been connecting away; arranging meetings with high profile motor sport personalities in Shanghai, emails with British singing sensation Mary-Jess, who won China’s version of the X-Factor and sung at the 2012 FA Cup final, being lead presenters at “British Creativity and Innovation at work every day in China and beyond” and taking in a few meetings with top people in top tech companies in addition to being one of 14 companies out of 60 chose to present our innovation.

With little sleep but a lot of enthusiasm we set off on Monday to our first destination, Shanghai. And we’re here! And it’s hot. Very hot. We’re sitting on the balcony of the hotel looking out on to some absolutely epic structures in a city that seems endless in a blazing hazy sky. This is certainly a country that has a spring in its step and is ambitious. Like Navada.

Jetlag hasn’t diminished our drive. Keeping on top of our client work, we’re also preparing for our presentation, while prepping for a meeting with one of the top guys in Le Mans China.

Navada has been heavily involved in motor sport, within road safety in the region, pitching and consulting for motor sport championships and brands and working with two North East motor sport stars Harry Vaulkhard of Bamboo Engineering and formerly a World Touring Car driver and drifter Anthony “Scotty” Scott, who was showcasing his very famous Rocket Bunny over the bank holiday weekend at Extreme Torque at Nissan.

Motor sport is still finding its place in the digital world. We recently wrote a blog about how, despite it being sexy and adrenaline-fuelled fun, it doesn’t always translate into the same energy in the digital space.

We think it’s time for a revolution in how motor sport does its business online. So China seems a good place to try to make that happen.

Our feet have barely touched the ground here and you can already see that something is happening in China. It’s on the move - almost at such a pace that it seems it can’t keep up with itself. We’ve often felt like that recently. Restless wandering through business can almost give you vertigo. But we’re still on the move.And we don’t want to stop. Tomorrow we’ll be starting TIF-In in Qingdao, forging new business relationships and hopefully friendships. We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity but also the everyone who has been championing us and supporting us, including everyone in the Navada team.

We’re starting an adventure - whatever may come, we’ll grow as a business and as people.

Jeremy Forsberg is CEO | Innovation for the Navada Group

Matt Scott is CEO | Strategy for the Navada Group      

 

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer