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A look back at Labs 2013

22 Jan 2014, Posted by Editor in News
The 2013 Intake

Our second session of BBCW Labs has come to an end with several more partnerships secured or in process. As with our first session, we had some great surprises, some disappointments and learnings all around. It’s a good time to reflect on the last few months and share some of our insights.

First, our forward thinking colleagues at BBC Good Food have championed another great partnership with cutting edge ‘Play Captcha’ company, Future Ad Labs. In the first session, Good Food partnered with Foodity, providing enhanced shopping cart functionality for users. With Future Ad Labs, users are able to sign up and verify themselves by a fun game-like verification process call ‘Play Captcha.

Second, we saw a meaningful partnership between The Backscratchers and BBCW’s procurement team, no small feat in such a large and complex organisation! The Backscratchers provide an entirely new way for our business units to staff one-off creative projects by providing a platform to source handpicked creative and technical talent. Since signing, they’ve been inundated with requests and we look forward to seeing a number of their projects come to life around the business.

Third, Peekabu Studios worked with our Corporate Comms team to produce the 2013 BBCW e-Christmas card. Powered by Peekabu’s motion technology, recipients were invited to explore a festive world filled with some programme highlights from BBC Worldwide. This is an example of one of our companies delivering BBCW’s content in new and innovative ways – one of the main reasons why we established Labs. This was certainly an unexpected collaboration and one that we could not have anticipated. However, when start-ups join the BBCW ecosystem and get to know the folks in our business units, unexpected projects and collaborations are able to flourish. Peekabu is also partnering with BBC Public Service around CBBC.

One of our favourite companies, Social Spree, worked hard to try to bring their useful social dashboard to our various global brands. However, timing and priorities on our end didn’t allow for such a formal collaboration to happen. This does not preclude a future partnership and we are hopeful that something may still happen…. On a more positive note, Social Spree was able to gain access to the closed Google + API through BBCW’s head of social, something that will help them develop their offering for future clients.

The hardest part about working with a large organisation is the turnaround time. At Labs, we hope to facilitate a faster introduction and response rate with our start-ups but we often struggle. It’s not for a lack of enthusiasm for working with early stage companies but rather from a more practical reality – there are only so many hours in the day and with all big organisations, some processes can take time.

As we enter into our third session of Labs in March, we will strive to work even harder on behalf of our start-ups and select strategically aligned companies that our business units just can’t live without!

We are excited to announce the next session of BBCW Labs kicking off in March. Come join us!

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