Yesterday I went along to the BBC Connected Studio at Quay House, Media City. The event was pitched as a kind of workshop, aiming to bring external agencies and individuals together with BBC staff to develop ideas for new Future media products and services. The brief was built around BBC Sport, and can be read with more info over on the BBC Connected website. The lure of part of a £1 million pot to get ideas built and tested on BBC platforms was a big one.
I went along with a few ideas in mind, from past research on social commenting and feedback and related research going on here around social media and sporting events. I was partly curious to see how they would run the workshops, partly excited about building the ideas and wanted to see how things worked in that world. As it turned out, it seemed a whole bunch of agencies turned up with teams of people with ready formed ideas, they quickly selected some BBC people with relevant knowledge and went off to refine their ideas through the day. There was a couple of “lone rangers” who didn’t form teams and pitched alone. There was a few people, like me who turned up with semi-formed ideas and expected there to be some “workshoppy” team-building exercises to put us together with others who had relevant skills and experience. As it turned out, after long introduction speeches by product managers and research people (which I felt were a tad irrelevant given we’d all consumed the brief) there was only a short time spent on an ideas wall before a group of us with similar ideas (myself, 2x BBC staff developers and a guy from a delivery platforms startup) formed a team to refine some ideas. There was a speaker’s corner, where BBC experts gave advice, but we had little opportunities to listen as we needed the time to refine our ideas – again this was left to us and the facilitators had little input to this process.
It would have been great to do some creative ‘brainstorming’ and team building exercises at this event. I interpreted the brief as being bring ideas, mix them up with a new team (I thought it was aimed primarily at individuals), but instead there was little opportunity or facilitation for this.
Our idea was refined to a 2 minute pitch, which was delivered to the whole crowd and the judging panel. We await their decision on Tuesday, if the idea meets their approval, we will be invited back for a 2 day build with BBC developers to prototype the idea. Afterwards there was some networking, and it was great to speak to people about the research we are involved in.