BeebCamp: Collaboration and prototyping

Another session on collaboration. It’s interesting that there’s so much curiosity about collaboration here. Talking to Charlie Beckett, we wondered if it’s that collaboration is now almost a given, “We ought to collaborate”, but that it’s not entirely clear what it is or how to do it.

One BBC project is to build applications in collaboration with the University of Aberdeen. Project has been running for a year, started off quite vague, has been interesting and educational. A lot of things they’ve learned is that academia has a very different approach to the way that the BBC works. A bit of a clash of culture.

How do we go about prototyping ideas effectively and efficiently. Finding a real variation in the way people react to the project, some are very enthusiastic, others suspicious of the BBC’s motivations for being in that area.

Nottingham games festival, universities doing prototypes for games.

Why are we not doing more stuff like this?

Prototypes, games-based, interactive narrative. How do you take a story to tell and build a game around it?

Knowledge Connect, act as middle man between universities (professors) and companies, help companies get research done. Grants available for SMEs so that the academics get paid to work on it from the grant.

Frustration with indie developers in games market, they don’t know how to get to work with the BBC. May have a great idea, but don’t know where to go to move it forward. Need to make it easier to understand the commissioning process, give developers an idea of future shows they could get involved in.

Commissioning periods of up to 18 months in some part of the BBC, so there’s plenty of development time. IF your period is 2 months, then that’s too short of a schedule to develop.

Should be in the commissioning process. Advertising has the same problem, web site & app development left til last minute. Need to gather assets. Needs to all be thought about at the commissioning process.

Not had space and time to put as much thought into it as would like.

What is the endgame for Prototype – want to learn what is possible for prototyping, is it valuable for students to work with BBC teams? Also to see if any of the ideas are worth putting more time into it.

Collaboration between HP and Bristol University. Someone at Lancashire (?) also doing interesting mobile games. NESTA do a lot of stuff in Bristol, big new media community there.

Running games and competition to find people to collaborate people. Cancer Research did one “Develop an ARG for Cancer Research”.

Try to break “who do we know” and be more “how to we reach out to more people to get as many as possible involved”.

Still pockets of people at the BBC doing interesting things.

First collaboration is to figure out what you’re doing, what your message is.

Is there a need for “Public Service Gaming”? Difficult climate, and BBC is in a unique position.

How does collaboration work within other areas? Is it just gaming? Have done some things with MTV, Radio London, didn’t work brilliantly, was ok.

How do you work innovation into the rest of the BBC. Project Red Stripe existed in a bubble and ended up going somewhere slightly strange.

It’s easy to forget to tell people what you’re doing, and lose the value of what you’ve learned, even just about what it’s like to work with a university.

Useful to write up what you did, what they said, what it might was like working with students, where did you work physically.

Values. Different values, different setting, so would be interesting to know if the students looked at the BBC as a different thing because of their involvement in the project.

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