Looking Around The Corner At Thinking Digital


Image of young girl peeping around a corner

It normally takes me a while to absorb and digest the huge amount of interesting things I hear at Thinking Digital. The topics are so diverse and the stories so inspiring, but bringing them back to the workplace requires me to find a way to ground them in what we do day to day.

However, today we heard from Ralph Rivera, the recently (18 months ago) appointed Director of Digital and Future Media at the BBC. Ralph talked to us about a few things (he ran way over his 20 minute slot, although it didn't feel like it at the time) from the surfacing of his micro management tendencies in the run up to the Olympics, to the plans the BBC have to make every Olympic event available live and on demand across all 4 of the BBCs 'screens' (TV, PC, tablet and mobile). It is quite possible that the entire broadband network of the UK will melt down during June.

But of most interest was how he described his vision for the BBC's Connected Studio project. This is their latest initiative to turn the BBC's digital infrastructure and assets into an open platform,  and a location for collaborative production too. It wasn't necessarily the idea of the Connected Studio that is inspiring, sure it's a good idea and should be done, but it was the way that Ralph described how he is getting it done that was inspiring.

Firstly, he has recognised that he is a web person in a broadcast environment, and while he and his team clearly see that most of the good work they have done so far has been using the web to distribute traditional media content, the rest of the BBC don't understand that there is anything more to do. He talks about this as them not being able to see 'around the corner'. They must be shown the pinnacle, the zenith, of using the web to distribute their content before they will be able to understand that; in the parlance of Facebook (another speaker at TDC) they are only 1% done.

To get them there he is using the language that is familiar to them: studio, produce, pilot, rather than hack, develop, user test. This is a journey to the peak of what they already know not a leap into the unknown.

This summer's online coverage of the Queen's jubilee celebrations, the Olympics, Euro 2012 and Wimbledon will demonstrate to the BBC the very best in distribution that the web world has to offer their work. However, that will be the corner that Ralph takes the BBC to, and then the Connected Studio will show them what lies beyond.

Image - Creative Commons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mymollypop/3511904343/in/photostream/

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