Member Spotlight: Gavin Burgess from Ultimate Data Sciences

Each month we shine the light on an Event Greening Forum member who is making noteworthy achievements in their event greening efforts. This month we feature Gavin Burgess, the founder of Ultimate Data Sciences, an industry leader in event technology solutions.
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I find that the best way to get started with using innovative technology at events is to pick something you are interested in and see what your audience’s response is. You’ll find that event attendees are interested in anything new and exciting, and that they are also generally forgiving if things don’t quite go as planned.
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Q. TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF IN 10 WORDS OR LESS.
I’m an Information Technology consultant passionate about the MICE industry.
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Q. WHERE DOES YOUR INTEREST IN AND PASSION FOR SUSTAINABILITY COME FROM?
Technology changes rapidly and, as a result, electronic waste is a very real problem. The events industry requires constant innovation, and increasingly relies on technology to meet evolving needs. I love working with clients to find more sustainable ways to implement technology – both in their offices and on-site at events.
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Q.  YOU RECENTLY ATTENDED THE GLOBAL MICE CONGRESS IN INDIA WHERE YOU GAVE A TALK ON HOW TECH CAN HELP TO MAKE EVENTS MORE SUSTAINABLE. WHAT WERE THE MAIN TAKE-AWAYS FROM YOUR TALK?
The interesting thing about attending an event overseas is seeing how things are done differently. India has very specific challenges regarding resources to build events, as well as recycling after events; and a key focus area of this particular congress was on addressing these challenges. One of the take-aways from my talk was that “Context is paramount” – and in living up to that statement I decided to present some Thought Leadership Questions rather than speaking about technologies that already exist. Another one of my take-aways was to “Share knowledge”, because that is the only way that innovation can take place in the realm of sustainable event technology. You can watch my talk here: http://bit.ly/SustainableEventTech
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Q. AND, RELATED TO THAT, WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BIT OF ‘GREENING’ TECH FOR EVENTS?
I have to go with the Event Greening Forum’s Sustainable Gifting concept, and the cashless payment platform that Ultimate Data Sciences designed to bring it to life.
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The events industry requires constant innovation, and increasingly relies on technology to meet evolving needs. I love working with clients to find more sustainable ways to implement technology – both in their offices and on-site at events.
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Q. CONGRATULATIONS FOR THE AWARD YOU RECEIVED AT THIS SAME EVENT! PLEASE CAN YOU TELL US WHAT IT WAS FOR?
Thank you. I was recognised as one of the “100 most influential leaders in the global MICE industry”, and very humbled by the honour. The technology that drives the Event Greening Forum’s Sustainable Gifting concept (Ultimate’s cashless payment platform) qualified as a sustainable incentive and it was great to spread the word about Sustainable Gifting abroad.
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Q. I UNDERSTAND YOU HAVE SOME COOL GREEN IDEAS THAT YOU ARE INITIATING THROUGH YOUR BUSINESS, ULTIMATE DATA SCIENCES. PLEASE TELL US ABOUT THEM.
We are accredited with the e-Waste Association of South Africa, and recycle, upcycle, and refurbish computer hardware that our clients no longer need or want.
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Lanyards are my pet hate… There are so many ways to be more sustainable with lanyards, but I seldom see these practices implemented.
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Q. DO YOU HAVE ADVICE FOR THOSE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN GREEN TECH BUT HAVE A BIT OF A PHOBIA ABOUT TRYING IT OUT? WHERE SHOULD THEY START?
I find that the best way to get started with using innovative technology at events is to pick something you are interested in and see what your audience’s response is. You’ll find that event attendees are interested in anything new and exciting, and that they are also generally forgiving if things don’t quite go as planned. I do strongly advise consulting with an expert in the technology you are thinking about using, as this will help you plan and execute properly.
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Q. IF YOU COULD WAVE A MAGIC WAND, WHAT ONE THING WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT THE MICE EVENTS INDUSTRY TO MAKE IT MORE SUSTAINABLE?
Lanyards are my pet hate… There are so many ways to be more sustainable with lanyards, but I seldom see these practices implemented. My advice: Reduce the number of lanyards used at events. Do you really need lanyards for a small group of delegates? Similarly, do you really need lanyards at large consumer-oriented events? Reuse lanyards for events that repeat each year. Don’t brand your lanyards in such a way that they will date; collect them from delegates after the event; and definitely reuse name badge pouches. Recycle – put on your thinking cap and see what you can do to recycle. Even if you are only recycling the paper inside the name badge pouch, every bit helps. And of course, Rethink new ways for identifying attendees at events in fun and more sustainable ways.
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Q. ANY LAST WORDS?
I’ll be speaking at the annual EGF Conference on 11 July 2019, and hope to see you there!
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To learn more about Ultimate Data Sciences, you can view its EGF member profile here.

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