The lecture, held in Truro Cathedral, centred on the theme ‘Disruptive Innovation – opportunities and challenges for the South West’.

‘Disruptive Innovation’ in the spotlight at Cornwall Lecture

One of the UK’s most prominent digital experts, Tony Moretta, has spoken about the crucial role that ‘disruptive innovation’ can play in revolutionising the business landscape, during a special lecture event.

Mr Moretta, who is Chief Executive Officer at Digital Jersey, delivered the keynote speech to more than 250 guests at the prestigious Cornwall Lecture on Thursday, February 6th.

The lecture, organised by The University of Exeter and Stephens Scown LLP and held in Truro Cathedral, centred on the theme ‘Disruptive Innovation – opportunities and challenges for the South West’.

The theory of ‘disruptive innovation’ – first coined in the 1990s - refers to a technology whose application significantly affects the way a market or industry functions.

One of the most recognisable examples of modern disruptive innovation is the Internet, which significantly altered the way companies and individuals conducted business, while simultaneously negatively impacting companies that were unwilling to adapt to the new landscape.

During his talk, Mr Moretta shared his thoughts on disruptive innovation, disruptive business models, how these organisations are disrupting the business landscape and outperforming the big players through innovative products, services and models.

Speaking after the event, Mr Moretta said: “As a University of Exeter alumni, it was an honour to be asked to give the 2020 Cornwall Lecture, and as the CEO of Digital Jersey I can see the common challenges facing both areas.

“However, technology led disruption brings many opportunities in areas such as agritech, digital health, energy, AI and data science and the combination of a great place to live and a great University can help the South West attract the talent it needs to seize such opportunities for sustainable economic growth given the right support.”

At the event, Mr Moretta’s lecture was followed by a panel discussion chaired by Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Exeter.

The panel included Dan McIvor (Director of Swanky), Lucy Crane (Senior Geologist-Business Development, Cornish Lithium) and Kathryn Heath  (Senior Associate, IP/IT and Data Protection Team, Stephens Scown LLP).

Professor David Hosken, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Cornwall for the University of Exeter said: “It was great to have so many like-minded people join us at the Cornwall Lecture.

“We are all working to create a vibrant and internationally competitive regional economy for Cornwall.  We all want to work together to raise the aspirations of our young people; to attract and retain highly skilled people to Cornwall; and to support local businesses. At the University of Exeter our doors are open to all our partners in the region.” 

Verity Slater, partner and deputy head of Cornwall for Stephens Scown said: "What stood out from this year's Cornwall Lecture for me was how well placed Cornish organisations are to apply the principles of disruptive innovation and use it to their advantage. It is an idea that is not sector specific or dependant on location or size. All it needs is the vision to spot an opportunity and the courage to go for it."

The Cornwall Lecture was established in 1995 with the aim of changing the perception of Cornwall as a place for a holiday but not for work. Speakers are invited to talk on issues of current social or economic importance to Cornwall.

For more information please visit

Date: 13 February 2020