- By David Welch
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The 8th Annual World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing sponsored by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) is now history. In our future are the “green skies” of amazing innovation as scientists, investors and business leaders collaborate to solve many of the world’s most pressing challenges. Did I say green skies? Okay, a little twist on an old idiom. Feike Sijbesman, CEO of Royal DSM and recipient of this year’s coveted George Washington Carver Award, said in his keynote: “We’ve had the Industrial Revolution and the Green Revolution, but what’s next is the Industrial Green Revolution.” Indeed, as the world comes more and more to understand the cost, risk and potential danger of reliance upon petroleum, industrial biotechnology is enabling a revolution in fuel, chemicals and consumer products.
The World Congress is a three day whirlwind of investor and partnering meetings, plenary sessions with expert speakers and networking receptions. But it is on the Exhibit Floor where many of the cutting edge biotech companies are showcasing their research and products. While it is impossible to single out one or even just a few companies for their brilliant technology, one of the most compelling young companies at the convention was Converted Carbon Technologies (CCT), a clean tech company based in Toronto commercializing its proprietary BioSilo™ algae cultivation system for large scale production of algae biomass. Paul Ramsay, Managing Director of CCT, had this to say about his company’s future and the significance of the conference: “We believe our algae-to-energy technology is absolutely cutting edge. We have now completed the third year of our business model and look forward to full commercialization of our trademarked BioSilo™ by year five. The World Congress was a great place to showcase Converted Carbon Technologies.” Click the picture below to see a short video interview of Paul at the conference.
M2 MultiMedia Communications – we had three representatives from our company – was proud to be in the presence of the science and technology leaders that are improving the world around us. We were invited by BIO to produce the videos for the plenary session and conduct interviews of many of the leaders in attendance. I was also privileged to be one of three panelists at the communications workshop and teach participants how to integrate new media, video and social media into their strategic campaigns. To prepare for our presentation, M2 randomly surveyed 50 attending World Congress companies and found that approximately 40% use social media and/or video tools on their website. What’s interesting about that statistic is to think about what that percentage would have been five, even ten years ago, and how much it will increase in future years. Leading the workshop were Frank Walter of Environics, Joanna Schroeder of Peach, and Paul Winters of BIO, three highly skilled communications strategists in the industrial biotech space.
There is no argument that multimedia tools are vital for science and biotech companies to convey their work. For the first time, the Internet has surpassed TV as the “most essential” medium, according to the latest Infinite Dial study by Arbitron and Edison Research. More people watch videos from their computers during their lunch break than during the primetime TV hour. And when you’re dealing with complex subject matters, like industrial biotechnology and bioprocessing, using visuals and animation to explain your work has become essential. Biotech executives seem to agree. We met a lot of attendees who either are already using video and animation to explain their company’s work or looking into improving their website with multimedia features in the coming year.
Biotech innovation is no easy feat. Special scientific skill sets are required to prospect for microorganisms, screen for genes and enzymes, identify and modify production organisms, conduct necessary metabolic engineering and more. Conferences like the World Congress are a vital part of the process as companies and organizations meet to showcase their products, partner with other companies and raise capital. While M2 is not leading the scientific breakthroughs of tomorrow, we are honored to tell the stories of the companies that are.