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Archive for the category “Nigeria”

Culture Shift Lagos – results!

After a 2-day masterclass by Paul Gudgin, 12 Nigerian festival organisers and managers came together with a group of 45 of Nigeria’s best developers, designers, and business brains to build new solutions to six problems that festivals face, at the ccHub in Lagos, Nigeria.

We’ d firstly like to thank all six teams, and their members, for their hard work over the weekend and their willingness to take a leap of faith – the talent in the room was astounding, and we’d be happy to have it back in London or anywhere else in the world.

Here’s what they built:

The winners: efest

efest tackled the problem of understanding festival attendees so that you can improve your relationships with them. They’re going to tackle this by building a data analysis tool to track social media conversations about attendees including plugging in to existing databases and systems

Runner-up: Ingenious / Runner Pro

The Ingenious team were looking at new ways for stage managers, techs, and festival organisers to communicate in loud venues where walkie-talkies didn’t work – and they came up with an ingenious solution called Runner Pro. Runner Pro builds a private wifi network on which android or other java-enabled devices can communicate via text without having to go through public networks.

Runner up: FestiveHub

FestiveHub is a social media and content manager and scheduler- targeted at festival promoters and event organisers. With it, Festival Managers can easily manage a range of social media and press contacts, track the conversations, and eventually plan and implement press campaigns, social media campaigns, and manage coupons and promotions.

FestivalHub

FestiveHub wanted to get more 16-35 year olds – 25% of Nigeria’s population, and the overwhelming users of social media – to attend festivals. Their solution entailed using facebook games with real and virtual prizes which would be built in concert with festival managers & organisers.

AllFest

AllFest built a simple platform for small, local festivals (attendance under 10,000 people) to easily build simple websites & an email marketing platform, with their sights set on adding social media and SMS campaigns, as well as helping the users to arrange transport and hotel accommodation.

EventSieve

EventSieve is a tool for festival managers to write effective press releases and broadcast them to an opt-in list of press, bloggers, tweeters, and promoters. Their vision is of a simple, effective way to write your press copy and for those who promote festivals to have an easy way to get the right content.

The judging

As you can imagine, the decisions were difficult – we had nine excellent members of our judging panel with deep knowledge of IT, press, the cultural sector, and what it takes to build and invest in businesses. There was heated discussion and we hope that all six teams will continue, because the progress they made in just 56 hours was incredible.

The prizes

The winners will receive a cash infusion from the British Council to help make their projects a reality, as well as intensive “pre-incubation” business and IT support from the Co-Creaton Hub.

Special thanks

To the British Council in London and Nigeria (thanks Fusi, Tolu, and Ojoma!) who made this possible, to the Co-Creation Hub in Lagos for hosting, to our panel of judges, and to our expert help from the UK.

Thanks especially to Femi’ s wife- her patience while we took him away for their wedding anniversary and half of her birthday is legendary!

Adding investment to innovation…

Day 3 of the British Council Culture Shift…

Andy Young asks Kelly Clark about “Adding Investment to Innovation

Kelly: As the day drew to an end yesterday we realized that the time had come to start preparing the teams for the judging panel. 3 of our 6 teams will receive “pre-incubation coaching and investment.” For all the teams the three pots of funding provide valuable budget in the process of creating a market relevant solution.

Andy: Can you describe what pre-incubation coaching and investment will mean for the teams?

Kelly: Of course, it depends on the context but for British Council Culture Shift, Nigeria it is the opportunity to benefit from the space, the creative flow of new people with new perspectives and skill sets and from the expertise and business acumen of CCHub co-founders, Bosun and Femi and the Culture Shift team. The three factors that make the “perfect storm” of innovation possible are 1) dedicated time and space 2) convergence of complementary creative skill sets on each team and 3) the ability to tap into business and investment expertise on demand.

Andy: So how does this relate to investment?

Kelly: Great question! So we are trying on one hand to encourage a culture of collaboration, creativity, and entrepreneurship which can be diffuse, full of many ideas and fun but messy. On the other hand, we are hoping that with enough creative license and enabling factors, we can create a wave of idea generation that allows each team to arrive at a valuable concept with enough elements of a business plan to justify a small injection of risk capital and 3-6 months of mentoring from the CCHub. It is a mashup up of freedom and focus! This kind of workshop is all about finding a thread and working with it-being nimble and showing your flexibility. The concepts that will be presented to the judges this afternoon may or may not mature into viable commercial businesses but the process and opportunity to innovate and experience entrepreneuralism is as valuable at this level as commercial success.

Andy: With the “perfect storm” in mind, what makes it a risk, and why take it?

Kelly: From my perspective, an kind of financial investment into a project before there is proof of concept is fairly high risk, unless, of course, the investor has other goals. In this case, the investor is not looking to achieve a return on their investment as much as they are looking to fire start an idea/process and catalyze (as it says on the tin) a “Culture Shift” towards entrepreneurialism and social innovation. Thus, for this early stage investor round we are hoping to identify good ideas and teams that can develop prototypes. The next round of investment will most likely require a return of investment in line with a different investor profile.

Andy: Do you have any advice for the winning team?

Kelly: Be clear, concise and work smart not hard! (attribution to Femi Longe)

Pitch Day

There is a unique energy in the room today.

This morning, Glen, Kelly & I were met by two participants outside the Co-Creation Hub, Nigeria and when prompted about how ready they were for today, the response we got was;

“Yeh, we’re going to win.”

Today is the third and final day of the British Council’s Culture Shift Nigeria project and that means pitch day. In under six hours, our teams will be presenting to a panel of judges and investors – three of these teams will secure a significant investment.

There’s been a special vibe all weekend, but today is different. The teams have rallied together, they seem confident, relaxed (mostly) and from those who I’ve spoke to, excited by the learning and journey they have been through.

It has been great to witness the groups willingness to share their experience and expertise. To jump into the deep end with both feet and to try something completely new. To explore the full spectrum of taking an idea to a point of investment, and working that through as a team. To see initial ideas wilt, and know this was part of the learning, then rally together to cultivate something new.

So as we close in on 3pm and get ready for the pitches I’m confident the panel will see some fantastic pitches, strong teams and investable ideas. There is however, plenty of time to do a bit more work…

Culture Shift Lagos – Day 2

 

Sunday in Lagos for most people means church. This led to a slightly late start by some of the teams- though some members went to an earlier service in order to get in bright an early. By noon, however, teams were excited about their ideas and taking them into new and different directions.

We are seeing phenomenal energy and risk-taking and a great group of tough tough workers refusing to settle for less than perfection. We’ve learned some of the difficulties of operating in the Nigerian market, and some excellent support from the Co-Creation Hub staff. One staff member showed such dedication he only gave us half his Sunday – but it was his wife’s birthday.

Diving in and trying it out

The photo above shows a team of two who were replacing a pole that was knocked down in a storm – these two were working in an incredibly risky environment with minimal safety – an apt metaphor for our teams who were exploring unknown territory where there are no guides, fearlessly forging ahead into the dark unknown – we’re not going to tell you what they’re working on yet, because they may yet change what they’re doing.

In the news:

We had a series of board meetings with each of the six teams and they are coming along – with a range of business models and attacking different opportunities and challenges faced by festival managers.

Kelly and Andy posted their first thoughts on Day 1, in case you missed it, and our Twitter feed (#CultureShift) started to really pick up steam – we’ve picked up a bit of press in South Africa, and have a range of jealous friends watching us in London, Edinburgh, and around the world, and the Internet cooperated long enough for us to get our Facebook page up and some photos loaded – with more to come, soon.

 

Musings from the 2nd Day

Culture Shift Nigeria

Andy Young and Kelly Clark on…The ART of Supporting Innovation

Kelly: Yesterday was an intense day here at the CCHUB. It was hot, creative and the hub was fully loaded with aspiring entrepreneurs, which made for a great deal of energy and, occasionally, the need for an escape to the open grassy roof for a bit of perspective and air to breath.

Andy: Glen and Femi introduced the hackathon, team leaders pitched their theme, and the remaining group – a mixture of creative talents – joined the team leader with the idea that most grabbed their attention.

The result was six teams; each with their own theme built around a problem a festival manager in Nigeria might experience.  From here they began working together to overcome their challenge.

Kelly: When I arrived the workshop was already in full swing. Laptops were all open, teams were huddled in working groups and empty water bottles and sheets of paper illustrating the creative journey littered the tables and floor. I joined Glen, Femi and Andy who were conducting the first of the six “Board Meetings,” -mid day sessions in which we interact with a group to see how they are doing and if they need some direction or encouragement. The question, “what is the one simple problem you are trying to solve?” was the starting point for the session. For some, getting to simple proved anything but…

Andy: Working in a group is difficult at the best of times. Working in a group over the course of a weekend to design, code, prototype, and present your idea is even harder. Throw in 10 strong minded, enthusiastic and driven individuals, all of whom were strangers until yesterday, and you begin to get a picture of the challenges that arise in trying to come to a coherent, united answer to our question. There was another hurdle, obviously. Four (equally enthusiastic) board members enquiring further…

Kelly: And here in lies a powerful dynamic and in one in which we realize upon reflection requires some delicacy and restraint on our part. The teams are in full flow, identifying solutions, drawing diagrams, logos, and in some cases, elaborate new platforms. Marketing speak is plentiful but the focus needed to answer questions like, “Why is this a problem?” and “How is your solution going to solve it?” The HOW and the WHY is where innovation lies…where creativity meets development…and holding space for these questions is our job. Encouraging the teams to get to these answers through their own collaborative dialogue is crucial and often, messy and frustrating.

However, particularly towards the end of the day, the four of us have moments of slipping away from asking questions to giving “suggestions” or opinions and what we find is that because the teams are keen to take our advice we have to be careful of not giving 4 slightly different messages and/or of affecting the innovative process through our suggestions.

Andy:  And therein lies our challenge for the weekend; how do we cultivate innovation, support, and steer the groups towards developing investment ready solutions without influencing their creative process?

The issues – Nigeria

The Nigerian Culture Shift kicks off firmly tomorrow – Social Innovation Camp and the Co-Creation Hub took this afternoon at the end of the British Council’s programme on festivals management.

There was a lot of energy in the room, and the team were great at specifically articulating the issues and challenges faced by festival organisers, workers, and audiences. We’re excited to see the work that comes out of this.

Tomorrow morning at 9AM, fuelled by jollof rice, tea, and coffee, the teams will start working on these 5 problems:

1)     How can we amplify the social media conversations of our festival attendees?

2)     How can we collect better data to build stronger relationships with our audiences before, during, and after the festival?

3)     How can we help staff communicate effectively and promptly at busy venues where loud music prevents voice conversation?

4)     What kind of tools can help promote small, local festivals across Nigeria to increase their exposure and attendance?

5)     How can we get the right publicity, to the right audiences, at the right time, at a reasonable cost?

6)     How can festivals provide interesting information about the festival to the press & audience to boost  growth?

We’ve got a big group of really brilliant people, an excellent venue with brilliant people, plenty of tea, coffee, and energy to take these projects from articulating the issues through to coming up with clear ideas and building proof-of-concept solutions.

We’re using the hashtag #cultureshift on twitter; keep up with us on Twitter and here on this blog.

Culture Shift – What we expect

We’re here on the ground in Lagos, where the Culture Shift programme will be focussed on festivals: developing digital tools for managers, audiences, and festival artists. We’re fortunate that we can tag on to the back of a master class by the excellent Paul Gudgin, who has done lots of work with festivals all round the world after getting his start in Edinburgh.

Most of the master class attendees (about 12 festival organisers) join 48 other digital, arts, and business professionals in just 48 hours’ time.

What’s going to happen?

The question is: what will they build? This is the question that I’ve been getting all day. The honest answer is: we don’t know. That’s what makes it exciting and innovative. We’ve done some similar things before, though, and we’ve got some ideas or inspiration.

A few examples of things that fit the Cultural and Creative Economy that fit the bill of what we’re looking for are:

Edinburgh Book Festival microsite

This is probably the classic design of what we’d imagine: This is a site that you can visit on a smartphone or web browser, and it lists events & venues for the festival – they Festival were told they’d need an app, but in the end, they built a mobile site that works with everything in 24 hours and is easier to maintain, to boot.

Enabled by Design

Enabled by Design takes the dis- out of disabled, by linking designers up with those who have physical disabilities to find & improve attractive, functional devices to help the disabled.

FestaFriend

FestaFriend was started by Social Innovation Camp alumni James Baster with help from Sarah Drummond out of Culture Hack Scotland. FestaFriend answers the question “How do I find an interesting person to go to a festival show with?”

Cowbird

We’ll be trying out Cowbird during this event – and we’ll link to it on this blog. Cowbird asks what kinds of stories we can tell using images – and how we can link them together. It was a project put together by one person, and they’re featuring a story a day.

It all starts tomorrow evening

In Nigeria, we’re focusing on support for festivals – the dozen festival organisers are going to go through one of our itch workshops tomorrow afternoon to jump-start the weekend, and then we’re off. We’re excited to see what they come up with – they’ve shown great creativity today already!

Culture Shift applications going strong

Final days of preparation

There are just a few days left ‘til our first Culture Shift kicks off in Lagos, and we are deep in the throes of reading all the applications for the Nigeria event and the event in Johannesburg the following week.

We’re completely blown away by the quality, number, and variety of people who want to come together and work, very hard (often after a full week’s work, or taking days off) to participate in this event. The people who attend make these events successful, so thank you all in advance for being so generous with your time and skills.

What we’re looking for

Remember, we’re getting high-potential creative types (museum managers, festival organisers, artists, filmmakers, writers) together with people they might not otherwise meet – top quality business brains, software developers, and designers—to explore how blending these two groups of people might spark new, interesting, and innovative projects & ventures.

It’s not too late – sign up!

There’s still time to sign up for the Johannesburg event as well as the Nairobi event.

Announcing Culture Shift

We are proud to announce Culture Shift, an experiment with the British Council’s Creative and Cultural Economy programme and Social Innovation Camp. It will pilot in four markets, with the intention of creating new digital tools for the creative economy, new cross-sector conversations, and to bringing innovative ideas back to the UK from four exciting cities.

Between now and mid-April, we’ll be traveling to visit the ccHub in Lagos, Nigeria, The Hub in Johannesburg, South Africa, the iHub in Nairobi, Kenya, and the TEDx Egypt in Cairo, Egypt getting creative pioneers – including artists, designers, festival organisers, museum managers, and other creative workers –  together with designers, businesspeople, and developers, and digging into the needs of the Creative economies in those countries. The events will culminate with a pitching session where the teams will pitch the projects they’ve developed in 48 hours to a panel of UK and local investors, and they’ll receive some support from the local partners in the process.

We reckon we’ll learn a thing or two that we can bring back to the UK in the process.

Not only that, but we’re bringing along a brilliant selection of people to each event – both UK investors and some experts in digital and creative sectors. These include Kelly Clark from Marmanie, Tim Kindberg of Matter2Media, Ryan Bowman of Circle Digital, Siân Prime, of Goldsmiths University & East African Entrepreneurship Diploma Stephen Rockman from Merism Capital, and James Baster from Here’s a Hand.

We’ll be blogging and taking photos to let you out there know what’s going on. Stay in touch with the project on https://bccultureshift.wordpress.com, and we’re looking forward to seeing the outputs!

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