Insights from FutureEverything 2015

A couple of weeks ago, some of the Computerlovers attended the FutureEverything conference.

Here, they talk us through some their highlights and a little about what they learned.

“One of my favourite sessions at the conference was the innovation lab workshop where Kevin Smith and Abhay Adhikari shared some learnings on how to run innovation labs/hack days/ideations. They talked about how collaboration is becoming even more important in this space (for example, getting councils who have reams of data to work with game developers to create innovative products).

Prototyping also came up as a really important element, and we we did an exercise where we used storyboard prototyping to create a representation of our ideas to make them easier to explain and feel more tangible.

Picking up on John Hegarty’s ideas around creative briefings, they also talked about how important the space where you conduct the session is; on the back of this, I’m going to try and do the next ideation I run outside of the office in an environment that is contextually relevant to the brief.”

Lucy, Research & Insight Manager

“I found the innovation lab workshop really helpful and the ‘hands-on’ approach meant we were really able to see how the ideas would actually work in practise.

Abhay Adhikari provided a concise checklist to consider when attempting to create the right cultural conditions for these kind of sessions (these points might seem obvious, but in reality they’re often overlooked):

1. Make sure the space where you conduct the session is new and interesting — outside of the office works well and provide food, Wi-Fi and breakout spaces if possible.

2. Ensure the team is diverse. Use external and internal people and include different personas. e.g. ‘thinker’, ‘doer’, ‘strategist’.

3. The data is important. Make sure it is clear who is going to manage it. Is it secure? What is the quality?

4. And so is the structure. Will there be mentor teams? Or any preparatory events? Bearing this in mind, it’s also vital to stay adaptive and responsive to people in the room.”

Katie, Producer

“The most interesting talk of the day for me was from Paolo Cirio, an Italian conceptual artist whose projects ‘consider how society is impacted by the distribution, organization and control of information’.

Last year, using his paid subscriptions for The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and The Economist, Paolo scraped over 6,000 articles and made them available for free on his website ‘Daily Paywall’. Why? To see how both internet users and the publications themselves would react.

Rather than charge them to view content, Paolo asked for donations in order to pay readers to read certain articles in what he called a sharing economy model — flipping the paywall model on it’s head. The model worked and Paolo pretty much broke even, but the site was closed down within a few days.

In the meantime, some users were reluctant to use the service, knowing it was ‘against the rules’ and just couldn’t get their heads around the concept of users paying for other users to read articles. Others embraced the idea of sharing data in this way.

This might at first seem like a silly stunt, but it raised some interesting points for me around how our behaviour is changing and how brands can learn from experiments like this:

1) As Internet users, we follow rules we could easily break

The Internet has developed its own set of unspoken rules and etiquettes when it comes to sharing knowledge and communicating with others. What happens when you challenge and break what are becoming the norms of digital life reveals a lot about how our behaviours both on and offline are changing.

2) Failure is an important part of innovation

Paolo always knew that Daily Paywall would be shut down quickly, but this did not make the project a failure; the project was a success as a social experiment. As planners and brands, we need to look to experiments like this to learn how users will react to new ways of doing things that go against what they’re used to. The greatest innovators will identify which social structures are changing, why, and how we can provide services to meet those changing mindsets.”

Siobhan, Planner