reasons for radio silence

This is hardly the most frequently-updated blog on the block, but leaving it nearly three months between posts is stretching it, even for me. In mitigation, i’m getting more work done at the moment than I have for years…

And the thing i’m working on most of the time is fantastic. Please go and check out the site for BBC Innovation Labs. This is a kind of sister project to Backstage, aimed more at independent UK new media companies, rather than individual developers, although I expect the backstage and labs communities will have significant overlaps.

Labs is a pilot project to help build better opportunities for indies and the BBC to work together on innovation projects. Tom Loosemore and I have been working on lots of ‘open innovation’ projects aimed at various communities – developers (backstage), and indies (labs) were first, with other projects in development.

The Labs process works like this – we invite proposals to a research brief from indies, and select around 10 projects. The teams behind these projects are then invited to a week-long residential rapid-protoyping workshop, before pitching their ideas at the end of the Lab to the controllers for internet and iTV at the BBC.

Its a simple process, but effective. It helps the BBC hold a conversation about its strategies and priorities with hundreds of indies in an open and discursive way, and encourages rapid development and decision making so that ideas can be turned into things that actually happen. Hopefully, i’ll be able to talk about 30-odd fantastic prototypes that have come out of the Labs around the end of March next year…

We’re holding launch events at the moment in the three pilot regions – the second London launch is this Friday, and the final event in Manchester next Monday. If the pilots are successful for everyone invovled, we’ll try and roll out the project to more regions across the UK next year.

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