19 June 2014

Ideas Factory 1

Whilst volunteering to help out at Ideas Factory, I saw a lot of great companies and Industry Experts who were inspiring the attendees about the digital media we all use today

During the first session, there were workshops during the two days. I got to help out and learn about marketing with FACT and how they use social media such as twitter to promote themselves, in this workshop the attendees had to try to sell an orange! (Hard task, I know but it was fun watching them come up with some ideas!). They were given a few examples to begin with then a big sheet of paper to brainstorm their ideas! “Just buy it” was my favourite idea I heard. Another workshop that I was involved in was a session with the creators of the mental health app ‘In Hand’. In this session, everyone got a sneak peek at the app and some of its features.

On the second day I got to take part in a coding workshop all day with Adrian McEwen where we got down to business teaching the student delegates how to code in python using shrimp boards similar to Arduino boards. This session was really fun for both sides as we got to see some aspiring new coders and the look of wonder on some of the kids’ faces as they made the shrimp board do different things such as change the speed of the LED blinking or tell the temperature.

The second session was where the 11-16 year olds got to design their own educational app and they all had amazing ideas such as a buddy scheme or a rewards system for good grades and good behaviour. In this section of Ideas Factory, we also had a very special visitor, or should I say, visitors.

The Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt Hon John Bercow MP and his entourage from the BBC came to The Studio School during Ideas Factory. Whilst there, he visited each of the workshops taking place and also interviewed some of the volunteers and the children attending the workshops… I was one of the Volunteers who got to have a conversation about him. Rt Hon John Bercow MP quizzed us about our school life and what our interests where and then followed on by playing some of the games that we had created in school and were also hoping to make during the Ideas Factory workshops.

Later on in the workshops, after I had gave a copy of the photos we took from The Speaker of the House of Commons’ visit to school for the website, I took part in helping the attendees to design the screens and wireframes for their educational apps. First of all, I had a look at the awesome ideas that were being put on paper by the kids in this workshop. This made me want to try to draw some wireframes for one of my ideas and it was really fun to see how an idea can be designed and explained so quickly using wireframes. I also helped out in the workshop ran by Citrus Suite where the student delegates were perfecting their pitches which were going to be pitted against each other to see which was the best app out of the workshop, then these apps would be continued into the next event.

In the final workshop, the young people got the chance to create digital wireframes of the apps that won the last event and also market their apps to the rest of the groups. The digital wireframes would then be turned into quick apps which would be a prototype for the final app… If you want to see who won, you have to go to the FACT Ideas Factory event!

During this Event I got to help out with Alex and Chelsea who were running the Black & Ginger workshop. In our group we got the Assessment Assistant App which was really interesting to work with as there was a lot of features. As we all decided which aspects of the app we wanted to focus on, we split up into sub teams, I remember one group of boys were really excited by the idea of creating lots of digital stickers and Logos for the app. So they came up with some app logos on paper and then used some software to create these logos on a computer. Another group took up the marketing segment of the work where they created a script for their short promotional video and a storyboard for the video planning. A 3rd group came up with the avatar customisation which would be what the user would look like in app. All three groups had to learn to communicate to each other to see what would be known as the ‘house style’. If one group went off on their own then none of the other groups would be able to fit in with the app. I thought this was particularly challenging because there were so many ideas for the app from everyone in the group.

Eventually we got it down to a few awesome ideas and settled everyone down into some creative work for the app called Assessment Assistant. Before the end of the day we, by we I mean Alex, got the app into Photoshop and made a prototype for the app which was then whisked away to join the other competition entries. Overall I think everyone had great fun running around the room creating their app, It made me feel like we were actually working in a small, simple app development team and the Industry Experts were the expert advice for the kids.

I thought the Ideas factory was a great set of events to volunteer at because it helped me to advance my own skills like communication and some coding as well as getting expert advice from the very generous Industry Experts who had given their time to be there! If another Ideas Factory took place I would recommend everyone who can, to take part in this Event in any way they can whether it’s participating, getting their kids to participate or volunteering!

Thanks for letting me take part in such an awesome App-tastic Event and well done to all the teams and companies who took part too! 


Ideas Factory takes over the FACT Connects Space from 19 June - 25 June. Visit the exhibition project page to find out more.