ia play

the good life in a digital age

innovation days

Today was an Innovation Forum at work. An open invite is sent out for staff to pitch ideas and for other people to come along and vote. It was held at the Dana Centre in London, a space set up to allow the public to engage in debates about controversial science issues. Apparently the Science Museum couldn’t do this as it is “a family-orientated space”.

Upcoming topics include ‘what will everyday healthcare look like in 20 years’ time?’, ‘how are new technologies helping to secure our skies?’ and the seemingly less cerebral ‘are chilli-eaters sadomasochists?’.

We were just there to talk about broadcasting.

Themes of play appeared in some of the ideas but the basic voting was given an extra playful dimension by the use of ‘optical’ voting. When we arrived every chair had a shiny length of piping resting on it which inspired many bizarre suggestions of potential uses. As it turned out the lengths of drainpipe wrapped in reflective tape were our way to vote. When we held them vertical a ‘yes’ vote was recorded and horizontal indicated a ‘no’. A camera picked up the light reflecting off the pipes and this data was fed to a real-time display of the vote. Apparently the system made an appearance at Hack Day the other weekend.

The process certainly led to more enthusiasm for voting but what really put a smile on my face was the occasion when the display was switched on but there were still a few more questions for the speaker before voting time. Whilst the speaker answered the question, all around the room members of the audience were quietly and bit sheepishly playing with their voting sticks to mess with the vote display on the screen behind the speaker.

There was a discussion later about how to get more audience participation during the screening of sports events on the BBC’s Big Screens. Someone suggested using a similar voting system. The idea was rapidly squashed when someone observed that the last thing you want to give thousands of football fans watching a big match is a load of blunt objects.

Written by Karen

June 28th, 2007 at 2:07 pm

Posted in bbc,work