Julia Hobsbawm is the founder of knowledge networking business Editorial Intelligence
She promotes live networking meetings, increasingly necessary in the digital age
The annual conference Names Not Numbers is a three-day long brainstorming retreat
Her passion for public speaking and networking have earned Julia Hobsbawm the moniker “queen of networking” and made her one of the most influential people in the UK.
As the founder of knowledge networking business Editorial Intelligence she aims to create more face-to-face meetings and live debates in a digital age where many opinion-formers are far too isolated in their corporate silos.
To that end, Hobsbawm founded the Names Not Numbers ideas festival in 2009 to connect people from “different walks of life – business, culture, media, politics, academia, with each other in a very intensive setting.”
CNN’s Route to the Top caught up with Hobsbawm to talk about the brainstorming retreat she’s created, the rising popularity of ideas conferences and the importance of intellectual stimulation. An edited version of the interview follows.
CNN: What is Names Not Numbers?
Julia Hobsbawm: It’s a mini-festival about ideas – that’s the best way I can describe it. Each year, 150 to 200 participants from diverse backgrounds such as business, politics, law, or arts set off on a three days long journey to talk about the things that really matter.
What makes it attractive to people is that in this environment where everything is busy and rushed, actually slowing down is a counter-intuitively refreshing and rewarding thing to do.
CNN: Is your conference aimed at connecting mind, body and soul?
JH: It seems that something happens physically and chemically when you go for a journey. When people relax, they give more of themselves.
Rather than just dropping out of the office for an hour and then rushing back, you are with a small family of people for a period of time. All sorts of ideas begin to exchange really fruitfully, friendships and business developments form. What people really want is to be looked after, as if they were going to a sort of “ideas holiday.”