Having a creative lab has been a huge success for us. It has won us over 20 awards, and we use it to create new business in mainly two different ways. I’m gonna show you two examples.
In the first one we have used a technology that was invented in the lab in a marketing campaign for Pepsi to build a global buzz around the brand. In the second example I will demonstrate a technology that we are now creating a startup around.
Pepsi — The Sound Of Football — http://vimeo.com/35363734
— PR value of over $30M
— Won over 10 awards (incl. D&AD and Webby)
— Discovery channel made a documentary
— Released all source code open source
— Scientists from big universities in this field
— We are looking at taking the next steps
YouLive — http://vimeo.com/17088043
— Allowing millions to interact in real time
— We are now turning this into a company and will give our first concerts in 2013
— Reached over 29M people
— Won Webby and Cannes awards
— We use this technology in sports, politics, game shows and many other fields
The major business challenge for a production company is that we sell time. We sell our brains for a thousand dollars per day. No matter how flattering, even if we sell all our time it’s not going to be a great business like Spotify, Facebook, Apple or Google where you create something once and get payed for it over and over again (simply put).
Society 46 can apparently come up with awesome ideas that gets everyones attention. But image if these projects had been innovative $1 apps that got the same big media coverage. We could have sold many million. Not to mention the good feeling of creating something sustainable rather than a campaign that runs for eight weeks.
Many ideas we come up with in the Creative Lab are worthy of being their own companies. So, even if we use an idea in a campaign we can create a company around it if it’s good enough. Then we will already have the technology we need and can basically just rebrand it.
Of course we also come up with ideas that we want to go straight to product, and then we do that to.
Then what do we do in order to create these ideas?
Well nothing to be honest. Living and breathing digital means we come up with awesome ideas all the time, at the office, together with friends at parties or in brainstorm meetings for our client work. We don’t even think about it. The dynamics of just working together in an office and being who we are is enough for great ideas to surface.
Being a programmer or an engineer and loving what you do means that we are thinking about what to create next all the time, twenty four seven. And since we’re checking Hacker News and other hacking and startup blogs a hundred times per day every day we are always in the front, and it’s only natural we create true technical innovation.
We inject into the lab by letting people spend time really creating these projects. And if we dive on new cool technology we buy it and see what we can use it for.
So, how do we select what ideas and projects to realise?
Well Darwinism. Survival of the fittest. When an idea starts growing in my head what do I do? I send out an email about it. I talk to co workers and friends about it. If we then start believing and burning for the project enough to actually make it happen, that means the idea was worth making.
How do we fund projects?
We can pitch it to a client, we can seek funds or even kick start it. Or we do it in our free working time, between projects so we can own them to 100%.