BBC branches out Innovation Labs across the UK
Following their success with pilots earlier this year in London, Yorkshire and the North West, the BBC is extending its Innovation Labs programme for 2006/7.
Innovation Labs are a series of events bringing together BBC Commissioners and regional digital media companies to develop and commission innovative new products and services for the BBC.
New media companies in four UK areas - Scotland, Northern England, Southern England and London - are being invited to pitch ideas in response to a series of briefs from commissioners across the BBC.
Ten companies in each region will be invited to a week-long residential Innovation Lab, working with BBC developers and other industry experts to develop their ideas into concept prototypes.
The Labs conclude with an opportunity for the prototypes to be pitched to BBC commissioners, who will be offering further development commissions for the best ideas at each Lab.
Innovation Labs is a collaborative project with ten regional agencies, including Scottish Enterprise, London Development Agency, North-West Vision, Codeworks, Screen Yorkshire, EM Media, South-East Media Network, Digital Central, SW Screen and Screen East.
Matt Locke, Head of Innovation, said: "Innovation Labs are a way for us to get to know the range of talented independent companies across the UK, and to share with them our strategies and innovation requirements.
"The pilots in 2005/6 were a great success, generating over 170 ideas, with 29 companies attending the week-long Labs, and 13 projects being selected for further development beyond the Labs.
"We've also made some changes to improve the Labs this year, extending the programme to more regions, including briefs from more departments across the BBC, and streamlining the commissioning process after the Labs themselves.
"The Labs are a very collaborative and creative experience for the BBC and the independent sector, so we're looking forward to seeing the ideas from the 2006/7 programme, and hopefully will be extending it across the whole of the UK in 2007/8."
From 26 October to 27 November, there will be a series of 13 launch events in the four UK regions to which interested companies are invited.
There, they will learn more about the new briefs, receive more information about the BBC's new media strategy and technological infrastructure. Regional indies are given an opportunity to meet BBC commissioners and ask questions about the kind of projects the BBC is looking for this year.
Notes to Editors
Dates of launch events: venues will be announced on open.bbc.co.uk/labs shortly.
Scotland Innovation Lab:
Glasgow - Tuesday 7 November - Scottish Enterprise Offices
Edinburgh - Wednesday 8 November - Apex Hotel and Conference Centre
Northern England Innovation Lab:
Newcastle - Tuesday 14 November - venue TBC
Leeds - Wednesday 15 November - venue TBC
Nottingham - Friday 17 November - venue TBC
Manchester - Monday 20 November - venue TBC
London Innovation Lab:
Monday 30 October - OneZero1
Thursday 9 November - OneZero1
Southern England Innovation Lab:
Brighton - Thursday 26 October - Brighton Landsdown Place Hotel
Bristol - Friday 3 November - Watershed
Oxford - Thursday 16 November - Oxford Spires Four Pillars Hotel
Birmingham - Tuesday 21 November - Orange Studio
Cambridge - Monday 27 November - Moller Centre