October 26, 2008

4iP launches: the innovation's already started

Sunday Herald

Channel 4 is pinning its hopes on digital mavericks (that means you), the headline on today's Sunday Herald feature on 4iP. It's not a bad piece for setting out some of the context of '4 Innovation for the Public', the new element of Channel 4 for which I am its first (and currently only) Commissioner. It also sets out the importance we place on getting some great ideas turned into tangible mobile, web or game-space as soon as possible.

Ross picks up on the potential for what's to come in his blogged summary of Wednesday's briefing and stakeholder event in Glasgow, stressing the potential that starts in 38minutes for companies and individuals to club together with their skills and aptitudes, creating projects that with the traditional boundaries and disaggregation of the creative industries would not be possible: “There’s more insulation on Scottish agencies than on most hot water tanks”...

Turning connections into collaborations

38minutes is an interesting example of what small amounts of money - or no amounts of money - can do while creating significant impact. A few people have sneered (via email or even to my face) about the perceived 'cheapness' of using Ning as a platform for connecting and collaborating, but the impact of this network, like all others, is not to be found in its code but in the people who choose to devote some time and effort to collaborating on it. And for that, 38minutes has been a roaring success.

In Scotland and Northern Ireland we see a fairly disaggregated creative economy, the elements of which have rarely connected with each other beyond cliquey friendships and haphazard arrangements.

In Dundee we have some of the world's greatest game-makers (most of the titles you play on the Wii, DS, XBox and PS3 come from here) and, like in Edinburgh, a spattering of incredibly talented graphic artists and new media workshops. In Edinburgh, alongside these you can find some of Britain's top creative talent from the PR, ad and marketing scenes, as well as world class Artificial Intelligence research and business coming from the universities. Meanwhile, Glasgow has tended to support a strong independent TV scene, spawning a multitude of new media companies covering every size of screen you can imagine.

38minutes.co.uk has not been marketed, sold or advertised. Initially, its Channel 4 members told seven people about it. One month on we're approaching 400 members, all of them top class new media producers from one of these sub-sectors, ready to collaborate on the next generation of public service... well, not broadcasting.

What we're after is anything that is not telly, but which helps change the lives of people in Britain, and which may have the potential to change the lives of people wherever else they may be. By not being about broadcasting, limited by the geography of transmission towers, 4iP could create projects that have a global impact on the way we use, adapt, share, manipulate data, create change and improve the world around us.

So, having already turned around a few ideas submitted through the online proposals system since our launch in Scotland this week, never has there been a better time to get to know your colleagues in the new media business, suggest your ideas and land a 4iP commission in the coming weeks and months. *

* Make sure you read the ethos of the fund before applying, and that you are or are prepared to start living, working or spending your production budget in Scotland, Northern Ireland or one of the other regions in which 4iP is working.

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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