Poland 2.0 Summit
Student conference in the ‘new reality’
Paulina Wasiluk, King’s College
PR Officer, Poland 2.0
London Poles like sticking together. No matter where in the world you go, you will encounter Polish restaurants, shops, or bookstores. In recent years, due to the increased number of young Poles deciding to attend universities abroad, a trend of Polish student societies and conferences has started. While some think that the only objective of such initiatives is to find fellow emigrants and indulge in stereotypical amusements such as drinking vodka, these student-led projects have a major impact on the way Polish community abroad is being shaped. Oftentimes, the fellow students met through these establishments help young Poles equip themselves with reliable support and make friends with people of similar backgrounds who can better understand their experiences.
One of the most important annual events in the calendars of Poles studying abroad has undoubtedly been the Poland 2.0 Summit. The project was launched in 2015 and, until last October, had been taking place in London every fall. Since the very beginning, the event’s mission has been to promote and advocate for the greater use of innovation and high-technology in all fields. Another aspect making Poland 2.0 different from other student-led conferences in the UK was that it was not strictly affiliated with any particular university and thus felt more accessible to students from outside of London and the UK.
Throughout the years, Poland 2.0 has become a heritage brand because of the close association with its core values (curiosity, innovation, appreciation of disruptive technologies, facilitating connections) communicated very openly and a specific form of the event. As such, it is particularly difficult to incorporate any innovation or adjustment, as all changes are a risk to clients’ feeling of credibility towards the brand they are used to. However, for a project which brings young innovators together, the need for adjusting to new circumstances became an exciting challenge and an opportunity to not only promote change but be the change itself.
First of all - the summit, flagship of Poland 2.0, has been brought back to life in the updated, online version. The conference, according to tradition, will follow different thematic trails such as MedTech, Entrepreneurship & Finance, or Sustainability. To make the topics of this year’s edition even more relevant in the contemporary world, the paths State & Security, Creative Technology and Digital Future were also added. As this year it was not possible to maintain the tradition of hosting Poland 2.0 in a beautiful venue, the organisers were forced to move the event to an online platform. However, they ensured to use the new space in line with P20’s values, for example by providing various networking opportunities. To create a favourable environment for forming both professional and social relationships, the team has created special virtual “rooms” where all users on the platform will be able to chat and share their views after each segment of the conference. Another familiar element of Poland 2.0 Summit returning this year is EmpowerPL, the 4th edition of which will be announced during the online event.
To make up for the lack of the standard conference and broaden the perspectives of P20’s audience, this year’s team has also launched new features like podcast #Nomad and a series of webinars. Both of the initiatives combine the core values of Poland 2.0 with an innovative approach. While #Nomad provides fans with stories of young Poles who succeeded in business, science or social activism whilst taking advantage of the rise of streaming technologies, the webinars focus on topics which had not been explored by P20 before, such as innovation in media or the film industry. The organisers have already noted the positive influence of their updated branding - both the engagement of the audience and the number of social media followers increased shortly after the launch of the new initiatives. Following the successful expansion of its product portfolio, P20’s team has decided to surprise the brand’s followers with two extra projects which are to be revealed later this year.
Although adjusting to the reality of the global pandemic while organising the 6th edition of Poland 2.0 was an unprecedented and unforeseen challenge, the team has presented a strategy, which not only ensured the survival of the brand but also struck a compromise between its heritage and prospective evolution. The effects, which are already visible in the brand’s growth, show that a creative and innovative approach to tradition is the way forward for other event-oriented brands, such as student conferences.
The above article has been created for promotional purposes of Poland 2.0 Summit. More information about the event, taking place 27th-29th October 2020, available on Poland 2.0 website and social media.