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Learning from the BBC

Last week, three of us travelled the length of the country to Glasgow to take part in BBC Connected Studio to help generate ideas to motivate teenagers to get involved with politics. Some big challenges there, made even harder to solve with the very short time-frame we had to generate ideas in.

While not quite a hack day, BBC Connected Studio invites technologists, creatives, writers and planners to bring solutions to often complicated problems and, although we were there to bring ideas, we walked away having learnt more than we could have expected. Lessons on how to keep people motivated, how to stimulate creative thought and how to communicate ideas in the simplest way.

The day kicked off with an excellent compere who framed the whole event with humour, making everyone feel immediately at ease. We were then taken through a detailed briefing: the current political situation was made simple to understand, we were given meaningful insights around how teenagers interacting with politics and, best of all, a talk about future technologies from Maggie Philbin (which excited this previous Tomorrow’s World fan to level just slightly under embarrassing).

We also had the opportunity to talk to members of the BBC research team, and, most importantly, 50 teenagers from the local area were with us for the day. We could get inspired by their stories, understand their motivations and even have a sounding board for ideas.

It was from these little conversations that we got a solid grasp of the problem, emotional insights way beyond the written brief and, in the case of one 13-year-old, an incredibly simple bit of feedback that made us completely rethink our idea in the last hour of the day.

Although the day whizzed by it showed what could be achieved with a defined brief, a relaxed environment and bringing users into the creative process.

Things we learnt:

1. Talk to your audience. Marketers often forget that people are more complex than their TGI demographic profile. We saw a few ideas that painted an unfair and untrue picture of teenagers being little more than Facebook-obsessed shoppers and partiers.

2. Simplify your ideas. If you can’t explain a thought without diverting to jargon, it isn’t an idea.

3. Don’t work digitally straight away. Scribbling on pads and pencils allowed us to build user journeys quickly and map out wireframes in minutes.

One more thing; never take the reclining chair on the overnight sleeper to come back into the office for 8am. I was broken.

Danny Roca, Senior Planner

Turning ideas into reality is what we're good at.