So innovation… it’s a rather odd word. You can’t turn around right now without hearing in every direction – “How can we be more innovative?” But if you have to ask that then your pretty screwed already.
It’s easy to be innovative within an organisation where it’s expected from day one. GE for example thrives on it’s employees innovating – everything from better processes to deal with identifying cracks in jet engine blades – right through to the research scientist trying to make a bulb that burns less energy but gives out more light
The BBC is pretty innovative.. don’t shout me down. In TV and radio you have to be – if you don’t come up with the next big thing you’re dead on your feet (yes I know daytime TV doesn’t count). But actually all we (and everyone else it seems) have done over the last few years is re-hash old formats and bring them up to date – where’s the new stuff?
Translating ‘the next big thing’ over to Future Media & Technology often means what’s the best / newest / most exciting way we can showcase our TV content or our Radio content? How can we make the BBC Website the first place people go when they want to watch Spooks? Actually I think that’s a red herring – we go with it because it drives the technology on – but if FM&T is to truly become innovative it has to look beyond just making platforms better.
So what if the BBC created a Yahoo! Brickhouse? What if we took the concepts of Hack Day (another Yahoo! innitive) and just dragged them inside the corporation? I think they’d fail – and I think they’d fail because the BBC isn’t a silicon valley giant – it’s a media company from the UK and that presents a whole host of issues and problems that silicon valley just don’t have to deal with. An agile start-up doesn’t have to argue with Internet Security about it’s delivery method, they don’t have to deal with editorial guidelines, or technological constraints – they have total freedom…. most importantly from the governance of the British public.
So the answer then is to start a ‘start up’ within… well no… because they’ll still ultimately be tied to the standards and guidelines – right now we’ll never be able to build something and get it live to the public within three months.
mmm so what if we did create a team of amazing people, who built stuff in four weeks, put it out there and let people mess with it and break it – then moved onto the next thing. What if we canvassed for ideas from not just the BBC but from the indie sector and backstage? What if we sponsored those people to come work with that team for four weeks and got it built and working? What if we built 12 new ideas over a year and they all failed? What if we built 100 ideas and 1 of them rocked the UK, what if that idea rocked the World? What if FM&T made a difference? What if it stopped amazing developers walking out the door?