Whitespace Connect, The Midlands 2023 review

An event of real value to the municipal waste management community

Business seminars and similar events can be variable in their content and value. Some may be little more than thinly disguised sales exercises. Others might be poorly organised or lack the host personalities to break the ice and encourage delegates to really get involved and participate. Some might simply fail to deliver on their promise, providing more heat than light.

You’ll be pleased to know that none of these applied to the Whitespace Connect, The Midlands 2023 event which was held on 13th June 2023 in the spectacular setting of Birmingham Symphony Hall.

This year, the event was themed Transformation, Improvement and Change. In the spirit of a true community, this topic was suggested from our conversations with customers. Quite simply, for those for whom digital transformation is not an active area of focus, it is likely to be on the roadmap. Customers attending were keen to either relate their experiences or learn about the progress of others’.

A mix of presentations on projects and their outcomes, periods for informal networking, a motivational speaker and refreshments (of course) helped to shape the day into an event that was very well received by all who came along.

Some key takeaways on the digital transformation of waste management

For those that were unable to attend, or those who might be thinking of attending next time this overview of the key sessions and what was discussed may be of interest.

  • Whitespace strategy update – CEO Mark Garvey provided an overview of the ongoing development of Whitespace’s waste management technology solutions. This included improved and simplified security, greater software functionality, the forthcoming HWRC Portal for movement planning of containers, and better infrastructure resilience to support high availability of our cloud software solutions.
  • Birmingham City Council – this segment from the largest council in Europe, asked the bold question of ‘What is a 21st Century Waste Service?’ Presented by Neil Griffiths, Director of Projects and Nick Massey, Business Analyst from BCC, the session related their experiences in effecting change in the context of Birmingham City Council’s 2023-26 corporate plan. They highlighted approaches that didn’t work and told us about the ones they discovered did in their transformation journey.
  • Motivational speaker – South African born polar explorer and adventurer Hylton James, the first-ever African to race-walk to both Poles, provided a lively session that highlighted how teamwork helped him to overcome adversity, while sharing some stunning images from his Polar travels. As a tale or two about slippery ice, this session was positively ‘gripping’!
  • Operational feedback – Hylton James was a tough act to follow. However, the Operational Feedback Group Sessions rose to the challenge and in fact proved to be the highlight of the day. As can be imagined, we have continuous dialogue and receive feedback from individual councils with which we partner all the time. These group sessions hosted by Whitespace Head of Product & Compliance, Dave Patrick, and CTO Lloyd Booker, provided feedback forums, widening the conversation across Whitespace customers in attendance. Sessions like these are instrumental in inspiring innovation because they provide the opportunity and the environment to brainstorm from both sides.
  • Mansfield District Council – Sarah Troman and Sharna Youngs from Mansfield Distict Council outlined the LA’s journey from paper to digital. Becoming a Whitespace customer last year, it has gone from a complex paper-based approach to waste management, to a totally paperless, fully onscreen digital system. One of the key takeaways from their experience was recognising that not everyone is a digital native, or is comfortable with tech. The council made sure it carried the waste management team, helping it to embrace this fundamental change to the way things are done by working with a local college to arrange for training and certification.

Of course, interspersed with these sessions, 2 hours was given over to coffee and lunch giving plenty of opportunity for presenters and delegates to mingle, ask questions 1-2-1, and share ideas.

Be inspired to meet your waste management challenges

Hopefully, you’ve now got a better idea of the value of participating in our events like Whitespace Connect, The Midlands 2023. This was an outstanding success, allowing councils that presented to share their experiences on adopting technology in the pursuit of improved waste management and better citizen engagement through digital transformation.

If you want to be inspired in meeting your waste management challenges, why not participate in Whitespace Connect? Our events are open to non-customers – all qualified public sector waste management professionals are welcome, even if you’re not a customer. (Yet!)

To find out more about Whitespace Connect or our Municipal Waste Management solutions, please get in touch by calling us on +44 (0)1483 231 650 or emailing us at info@whitespacews.com.


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