21 November 2017
On Tuesday Nov 14, Dog teamed up with Lenzie Academy for Digital Day, a young talent initiative organised by BIMA, the British Interactive Media Association.
Now in its 6th year, Digital Day aims to provide students with insight into the wide-ranging career opportunities available across the digital and creative industries. This year, over 5000 students, 140 schools and 110 agencies from across the UK took part in Digital Day. Agency teams went back to school for the day to share their experiences of working in Digital, offering practical advice around how to get into the industry, and encouraging students to tackle three challenges set by The Diana Award, LV= Insurance and BIMA.
For us, Digital Day is fundamentally about inspiring young people. We try to help them connect the technology, platforms, entertainment, and content that they use and interact with on a daily basis, with opportunities for careers. And encourage them to think about the future, beyond what’s hot right now and look at where the industry is heading. We kicked off the day with an introduction to Dog and our world of work, before getting down to business: Splitting the students into groups to each tackle one of the challenges.
Our groups were torn between the three very diverse challenges.
Smart Schools, sponsored by The Diana Award, tasked students with improving aspects of school life. Either focusing on tackling bullying or the learning experience within classrooms, students were asked to come up with solutions that harness digital advancements and the latest technologies including Artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and robotics.
Fashion of the Future, sponsored by BIMA, focused on wearable technology, tasking students with coming up with solutions to overcome challenges we face in everyday life. The challenge here was to think big, and not just focus on what has come before.
Powered up pets, sponsored by LV= insurance, set students the task of coming up with an innovative digital product or service for pet insurance customers that could help pet owners: keep their pets healthy; make pet ownership more social; or take some of the hassle out of owning a pet.
Encouraging a creative process
Having made their decisions, the groups got to work. Our team circulated among the groups to assist the creative process, helping them draw out and expand ideas, while encouraging discussion and collaboration. Across the groups, , we were hugely impressed with the approach taken by students.
The most challenging part, we found, was helping them to realise that there is no bad idea, and that the best solution usually comes after creating, developing and discounting, many ideas. Having gotten over the initial fear of blank sheets of paper (happens to us all, doesn’t it?), students were sharing ideas, challenging each other, and exploring different avenues to come up with exciting solutions to their chosen challenges. They focused on the purpose, the why behind their ideas, and concentrated on why their solution would work for users. As they worked on, their drawings, scribbles, mind maps and brainstorming sheets of paper, became solutions that exceeded our expectations. As someone who starts every project with research, I was thrilled to see a few individuals head to their computers for some desk research to make sure their ideas were grounded in insight.
At the end of the day, groups nominated two people to present their idea to us and the rest of the class. At this point their ideas really came alive. The students were passionate, eloquent and reasoned in their presentations, each one bringing their idea to life. They answered questions thoughtfully and provided compelling arguments around why their solution was best.
The winning idea of the day will be submitted to BIMA to be judged, alongside each school’s entry, by a panel of industry specialists and sponsors. There’s a range of prizes up for grabs including a cash prize for the school, a Sky Academy experience, and cinema tickets.
Supporting a sustainable future
As an independent agency with UK bases in Glasgow and London, the need for talent is essential to our business. We know that we are only as good as our people. And we understand that every agency and business in this industry, despite the technical advancements, feel the same: Tech is the tool. Talent is what matters. It’s a highly competitive industry, with talented people incredibly sought after. Initiatives like Digital Day help to ensure that more young people consider a career in Digital, and thus support a sustainable future for us all.
For students, Digital Day is a chance for students and teachers to step away from curriculum work. It’s a chance to explore an industry that students may not be familiar with, and gain experience in applying creative-thinking, problem-solving and deadline-meeting skills our industry applies to problems every day. I was lucky enough to hear Dr. Cara Antoine, Chief Marketing & Operations Officer at Microsoft Netherlands, speak at the European Women in Tech conference earlier this month. She spoke about education and the role of the private sector to become more involved. Together, we must teach our young people for the careers of tomorrow, rather than the jobs of yesterday. That line has stuck with me. And I believe that BIMA’s Digital Day plays a small but valuable part in preparing young people for careers of tomorrow.
David Hamilton, Commercial Director at Dog (and part of the Digital Day team) explained why he believes days like this are important.
"Working with S4 pupils and teachers at Lenzie Academy during the BIMA Digital Day is a hugely enjoyable and rewarding experience. Not only do we get to play a part in helping raise awareness of our industry, we also get to help the business owners and employees of tomorrow understand the opportunities that exist due to digital technologies. The ideas they may have, the companies they may own or the jobs they may fill likely don’t exist right now but it’s hugely important that our young people feel inspired to go on and achieve their full potential. Look out Uber, AirBnB and Netflix, the next generation is coming to get you!"
We loved our time again at Lenzie Academy and thank the staff and students for being such enthusiastic participants. We’re wishing them all the best in the competition, and look forward to working with them further and hearing the results!
I'll finish with some student feedback on the day - something to think about, BIMA!