Great Ideas: Sat 14 March – Sittingbourne

Where do great creative industry ideas come from, and how can you spot a good idea from a bad one?

Ideas Test – free to attend Ideas Camp, March 14, Workshop 34 in Sittingbourne Free Webinar, March 21, 11am – 1pm

Thinking back to digital projects I’ve worked on over the last 15 years or so, there seem to me to be three constants when I try to glimpse what makes a good idea, in my minds’ eye.

Firstly, there’s something about Context. Then Complexity, then Competition.

If you haven’t thought about the context that your creative idea sits within, it’s possible that your concept doesn’t fit into the landscape, it might not be that original, and it might not be anything the market or audience needs, or wants. I once was asked to advise on development of a social media platform for a national heritage agency. Four years or so after Facebook was already really big. So, of course, the platform never gained any kind of momentum with anyone – we were all using FB already.

Complexity is an important thing to think about, particularly when you’re trying to pitch the idea to funders or people who might invest. If you can’t say it in a sentence or a paragraph, or a short lift journey, it’s too complicated. As an arts funder [at the moment] I often have to read through multiply-layered arts propositions which obscure the real point of the idea. And I as a funder have to try to get to the nub of the idea, make a judgement about it on a number of levels, and decide if it goes forward or not. If I was an VC investor, I’d be thinking the same way. If you can’t strip out the wrapping from the present inside, we won’t get the point of the idea.

And finally, competition. As I said earlier, Facebook trumped our heritage agency hopefuls with their social media platform; but why didn’t our budding digital producers think about who else was in the market? Who else can do it bigger, better, with more resources, over a longer development period, and support it better to punters with pounds? All these things matter when you’re developing, scoping and presenting ideas.

These are some of the conversations we’ll be exploring with our panel of digital experts this Saturday at Workshop 34 in Sittingbourne, Kent. We’ve got George Oates from Flickr, Simon Wakeman from Deeson and Lizzie Hodgson from Digibury, Jim Byford from Fusebox24 and Sophie Giblin from Kollektiv Gallery.

Our panel will talk about their experiences of starting ideas from scratch, and we’ll then test your pitching skills and mentor you through a developmental process during the day. We’ll have a final show and tell moment at the end of the day to send you on your way.

Who is the event aimed at? You might be an artist with a great project idea you want to win backing or funding for; you might be a student team studying design or digital marketing with the next Tumblr or Reddit ready to go; you might be a creative industry insider wanting to get more inspiration or some feedback on something you’ve been thinking about for a while.

Whichever it is, sign up EventBrite [link] and we’ll reserve you a place. Bring your ideas or come along and generate ideas with others. We’ll have coffee, tea and pizza for you.

@jon_pratty