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Millbank Tower

 Turning Data into Intelligence 

 Outmanoeuvre your competitors through AI advantage

 18:00 - 22:00 

 Tuesday 1 October 2019 
 Millbank Tower, London, SW1P 4QP 

The ability of Artificial Intelligence to derive clear insights from complex data can provide a huge competitive advantage. However, businesses from different industries face the same strategic challenges. From aligning people and processes to understanding the value of their data and the new security landscape, every organisation must create strong foundations before AI can power them forward.

With an ever increasing amount of data to base decisions on, how much can we rely on Artificial Intelligence to support our decision making? And how can we find the right approach to balance the risks with the advantages?

Defence and security organisations often face the same issues as big businesses, albeit with different types and forms of data, but they fundamentally face the same challenges.

Join members of the defence community to explore how to outmanoeuvre competitors, and turn your intelligence and AI challenges into your key differentiator.

18.00 Registration and drinks reception

18.30 Welcome and introductions

Major General Tom Copinger-Symes CBE, Director Military Digitisation, UK Joint Forces Command and Nimbus Ninety Members’ Advisory Board Member

18.35 The myths and realities surrounding Artificial Intelligence

Dr Rod Thornton QGM, Senior Lecturer on Future Warfare, Defence Academy

  • AI - not the golden ticket it is often prescribed to be
  • Moving from a user to an exploiter of data, what barriers need to be broken? Cultural, technological, ethical, trust?
  • Does our past constrain our thinking moving forward when it comes to envisioning AI? 

18.50 Complexity to clarity

Lieutenant Colonel Martin Clarke, Military Advisor, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

  • Data to information, information to competitive advantage - how do you make the leap
  • Identifying the critical business outcomes: how do you minimise the delta between what is desired and what is required?
  • Data wrangling and data fidelity are integral, but with the continual flow of new data, how do you derive any benefit?
  • Do we design processes that we can understand rather than optimising them for AI?

19.05 Case study - Lessons from the real world 

Chris Field, Senior Director - Solutions, Board International

  • Data, information and intelligence - why are many of us under-performing at present?
  • What are the key roadblocks when it comes to moving up the data-information-knowledge-wisdom stack?
  • Data fidelity versus data security: where does the greatest risk lie when analysing?
  • How can we tackle the compounding impact of error?

19.20 Panel Discussion - Turning data to insight: the path to competitive advantage

Dr Rod Thornton QGM, Senior Lecturer on Future Warfare, Defence Academy

Lieutenant Colonel Martin Clarke, Military Advisor, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
Wing Commander Keith Dear, SO1 Innovation, Joint Warfare Development
Chris Field, Senior Director - Solutions, Board International
  • What are the risks and the advantages of being an intelligence-driven organisation? Where does the balance lie?
  • What are the people and process foundations needed to jump-start your AI journey?
  • What are the best ways to drive adoption of  AI for both business and IT users?
  • What are the visualisation tools that can assist with presenting intelligence, so that the information that a user has access to isn’t abstract and underutilised?
  • What is the ideal approach to keeping incoming data continuously clean?
  • What are the security threats that must be considered when building your long-term AI strategy?

19.50 Closing remarks

Drinks, canapes and networking

In Partnership with

British Army-1

Major General Tom Copinger-Symes CBE

Major General Tom Copinger-Symes joined the Royal Green Jackets (now The Rifles) in 1988 and has served on operations in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2014 he formed and took command of 1st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Brigade, before becoming the British Army’s Head of Operations. In late 2017 he led the “Information Manoeuvre” project; commissioned by the Army Board to consider how digitisation is changing the way the Army should fight in the 21st Century. From December 2017 to July 2019 he commanded Force Troops Command (now retitled 6th (UK) Division), where he was responsible for the Army’s specialist formations – including its Intelligence, Information Activities & Outreach, and Signals Brigades – and charged with taking Information Manoeuvre from concept to reality. In August 2019 he was appointed to the new post of Director Military Digitisation at Joint Forces Command, responsible for accelerating UK Defence's Digital Transformation and helping develop the MOD’s concept of Information Advantage.  He joined Nimbus Ninety's Members' Advisory Board in 2018.

Dr Rod Thornton QGM

Prior to academia, Dr Thornton served nine years in a British Army infantry regiment. He saw service in Germany, Cyprus, Northern Ireland. On leaving the Army in 1988, he took a degree in Russian and Serbo-Croat and, on graduation, rejoined the Army to serve as an interpreter in Bosnia (1992-93). He became a civilian again and took two masters degrees (MSocSc in Russian and East European Studies and an MA in Security Studies). He has studied at the following universities: Nottingham, Birmingham, Johns Hopkins (SAIS), Sarajevo and at the Kiev Institute of Aeronautical Engineering.

Dr Thornton’s PhD is from the University of Birmingham (supervised by Professor Terry Terriff) and involved a comparison of British, Russian and US peace support operations. On completion, he began working for King’s College London at the UK Defence Academy (2002-2007) where he was the subject matter expert for terrorism and insurgencies.

Between 2007 and 2012, Dr Thornton taught at the University of Nottingham. He specialised in international security issues and, specifically, terrorism/insurgencies. After leaving Nottingham, he spent one year at the University of Kurdistan in Erbil, Iraq, where he taught Kurdish history and politics and Middle Eastern history and politics. He then spent three years (2013-16) working again for King’s College London at the Qatari Command and Staff College. He has been back at the Defence Academy since 2016 and after work with the Academy's Centre for Defence Education Research and Analysis he is now teaching students again. His current research concentrates on cyber and artificial intelligence development - particularly within the Russian military - but he also works on the Russian military more broadly. He is writing a book on the Russian armed forces.

Lt Col Martin Clarke

Martin joined the Army in 1989, having graduated from Stirling University.  He is a career intelligence officer and has served operationally in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Kuwait.  His area of expertise covers imagery intelligence, counter-intelligence, materiel and personnel exploitation, as well as tactical/operational and strategic intelligence provision to deployed forces.  In Afghanistan he delivered the first UK Operational Intelligence Support Group, since when he has been employed in a number of technology development posts in both the Army and Joint arena.  In 2012 he commanded the Intelligence Exploitation Force on operations in Afghanistan, providing intelligence derived from captured materiel and personnel. Most recently he served as the Deputy Chief J2 (Exploitation) in US 3* HQ Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, overseeing materiel exploitation in Iraq and Syria.  He joined the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) in January 2018 in the role of Military Advisor for the UK Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), the Contested Electromagnetic Environment programme and is currently supporting a number of projects in the Information Advantage / Manoeuvre line of activity.

Chris Field

Chris has worked for 24 years in the software industry in the areas of Business Intelligence, Budgeting, Planning, Forecasting Strategy Management and Financial Consolidation. Chris is a Chartered Accountant by training.   He spent 16 years in the office of finance undertaking just about every role from sales invoicing, payroll, standard costing, group consolidation, management accounting up to Finance Director Level.

Chris has also worked in industry including the insurance industry where he was Group Management Accountant for Sedgwick Group (at that time 3rd largest Insurance broker globally) where he implemented Group Financial and Management Consolidation globally. Macpherson Group where he was Finance Director Industrial Paints Division, and in Defence Manufacturing and Development with Plessey.

Wing Commander Keith Dear
Keith is a Royal Air Force (UK) Intelligence Officer currently serving as the Innovation lead in the UK’s Joint Warfare directorate. He is a Chief of the Air Staff’s Fellow, Research Fellow at Oxford’s Changing Character of War Programme and Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) where he is also co-executive producer and expert consultant to RUSI’s Artificial Intelligence & the Future Programme. He holds a DPhil in Experimental Psychology from the University of Oxford. In 2011 he was awarded King’s College London’s O’Dwyer-Russell prize for his MA studies in Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism. He co-leads the Defence Entrepreneurs’ Forum (UK) and was founder and CEO of Airbridge Aviation, a not-for-profit start-up dedicated to delivering humanitarian aid by cargo drones.


This is a private event for members of our community. Membership is free and takes less than 5 minutes. As a member, you will have access to this and other complimentary events. Learn more.

This event is for C-level, VPs, Directors, Heads and the drivers of live projects within B2C businesses / charities / the public sector, and SO3s and above.

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