Marketing director, 383, Dan Archer

By Marketing director, 383, Dan Archer.

For many, London is the nerve-centre of the UK’s prospering tech industry, but hot on its heels, Birmingham is quickly gaining ground, with authoritative intelligence such as The Tech Nation 2018 report, flagging the city’s digital prowess.

Last year alone, Birmingham’s digital tech business turnover stood at £2.2 billion, accounting for more than 41,500 digital tech jobs, with more than 290 digital tech businesses having emerged on the scene since 2016.

Important efforts to fuel the Midlands’ business and investment environment have included the launch of a new £250 million Midlands Engine Investment Fund, designed to drive economic growth across the Midlands through financial support for SMEs – supported by the British Business Bank and 10 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) located in the west and south east Midlands.

Facilitating an expected upswing in demand for access, routes have been confirmed for the High Speed Rail Network (HS2) that will reduce the journey from Birmingham to London to just 49 minutes, down from 90 minutes, with as many as 1,100 seats per train. Phase one is due to be rolled out by 2026, with phase two close behind with its aim of reducing travel times to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester – making Birmingham a much more accessible and attractive option for businesses and their teams.

Home-grown ambassadors

With such investment and infrastructural advances on the horizon, home-grown businesses are actively becoming ambassadors as they strive to demonstrate the Midlands’ capacity for business excellence – particularly in the competitive and fast-innovating digital space.

As a Birmingham-based digital experience studio, the team at 383 recognises the importance of leading the charge in steering digital business conversations towards the heart of England. A dynamic backdrop for innovation, the Midlands shows a remarkable aptitude for ongoing transformation, and it’s increasingly important for local businesses to work together in raising awareness of the possibilities the region holds.

Understanding how vital it is for those who design, make and market digital experiences to have a platform for sharing and learning, we developed our community event, Canvas Conference. A one-day product event, Canvas will take place at The Birmingham Rep on October 4. With all digital product eyes on Birmingham for the day, creating the right speaker line-up has been a key point of focus as it’s important to ensure attendees not only feel engaged but also gain crucial learning to take back to their own businesses.

Following a meticulous selection process, the speakers’ insider stories – shared by digital design leaders from interesting and disruptive organisations – are set to

resonate with product professionals across a wide spectrum of verticals, from retail, energy and travel and hospitality to m-commerce and cloud-based industries.

Digital innovators from, Dropbox, Sainsbury’s, Ends, Labrador, Photobox and Mobilus Labs will therefore take to the stage covering topics such as: incorporating design research into an experiment-driven organisation; exploring the ‘off-boarding’ experience; how design thinking is being used to scale experience in established businesses; conceiving and scaling disruptive start-ups; and how Care, Chemistry and Consistency can be used to motivate and unlock the potential of product teams. The founder of Mobilus Labs, an ex-US Navy, NASA and Lockheed engineer, Jordan McRae, will also share details of his new innovation that is set to fundamentally change the way we use an iconic 140-year old invention to communicate.

Now in its seventh year, Canvas has been consistently shining the light on Birmingham, having established itself as an ideal platform for the digital product community, offering up relevant and innovative learning and networking experiences. Refreshingly, there are no high-level overviews or brand evangelists here, just actionable insights from people doing the hard work in the world of digital products.

This year, Canvas returns to the iconic Birmingham Rep – a meaningful landmark that represents the city’s deep rooted history, culture and capacity to embrace change. Bringing global leaders in digital disruption to the stage gives a clear nod to the city’s constant commitment to transformation, and puts a well-deserved focus on the heart of England.

Tickets and more information are available at or email


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