BUSINESSES need to be more creative with their products and services if they are to compete with the rest of the world - that's the message at this year's Malvern Festival of Innovation.

The event runs from Tuesday to Saturday, October 6 to 11, and features major sponsors, IDS INDATA and QinetiQ, both based in Malvern, and technology giant Cisco.

A key theme is cyber security. with businesses, organisations and the public facing an increasing threat from cyber criminals. As the world becomes more connected, security becomes the number-one priority.

Friday, October 9 will see a day-long event on the theme at Malvern Theatres, with a keynote speech by Phil Smith, chief executive of Cisco UK and Ireland.

Thursday, October 8, will see the Three Counties Showground host a day focusing on the importance of new ways of thinking when designing systems or products. There will also be information for budding entrepreneurs on how to start, grow and finance a business. This symposium will run alongside the Business Expo, organised by the region’s chamber of commerce.

The use of robotics in agriculture, drones for land management and the rise of the Internet of Things in farming will be among the topics discussed as part of an agri-tech day on Wednesday, October 7, at Malvern Theatres.

On Saturday, October 10, a family fun day is being held at Malvern Theatres featuring a comedy on particle physics, a talk about the challenges of trying to create nuclear fusion as a useful future energy supply and a series of demonstrations from various companies and organisations.

The event ends on Sunday, October 11, in Priory Park with a showcase of electric cars.

The festival is being organised by Innovate Malvern CIC, supported by Malvern Hills District Council and with additional support from numerous sponsors. As a result, many of the events during the festival are free to attend.

Dr Adrian Burden, founder and curator of the festival, said: “Today, more than ever, we all need to innovate. We need new ideas to stay competitive in business, new technologies to improve our lives, and we must be creative in how we use resources. This festival is a fantastic opportunity for businesses and the public to find out what’s coming next and how others are innovating.”