BBC Connected Studios


This is two months late, but it was such a great experience, I felt I had to finally get it online.

In February, I was invited to attend the BBC’s Connected Studios. It’s an opportunity to work on products that millions of people use, including products you probably use on a day to day basis. Divide headed down to Broadcasting House to boil the brain over ideas in a rapid one day session.

The week I attended was for the iPlayer. The BBC released a brief to incorporate new ideas into the platform. While the BBC iPlayer team is robust and extremely skilled, the BBC flexes its muscles to bring in ideas from externals, and from other parts of the BBC. It’s a very innovative and quite agile method of work for the iPlayer.

While the first day is purely speculative, the prospect of working on iPlayer alone is enough to invest in a full day for the BBC. Additionally, if you make it through to the Build Studio you receive a basic day rate and get the opportunity (if they like your ideas) to work on a pilot with a pot of up to £50k available. It’s an enticing prospect. Finally, your idea could well make it into the final product used by millions across the UK. Pretty cool opportunity right?


After successfully pitching my ideas, the BBC invited Divide back down to the Build Studio, to work on the ideas generated in the pitching sessions a few weeks before.

I came up with iPlayer Find. The ability to find out what was on before, after and during the programme you’re currently watching on iPlayer. Without saying too much, the idea went down really well, and the enthusiasm for the project was enough to get back down to the iPlayer build studio. Only a select few companies are invited back down, so it was a privilege to attend a few weeks later.

BBC iPlayer Build Studio

Mozilla Bikes on the wallIt was held in Mozilla’s awesome workspace, MozSpace, in London. Think fridges with beer in the kitchen, conference facilities, hot desk facilities and bikes on the walls, you get the idea.

The two day build studio event went really well and was a mixture of User Experience Design (sketching, wireframing and general collaboration) throughout the first day, and creative work the second. We already had a solid idea to work with, which was great. We spent more time finessing the details than we did actually designing the functionality, due to the evolution of the idea over the day.

Working with the BBC’s R&D team, the real brains behind the idea, and the driving force behind the analytical data which supported this pitched idea for the iPlayer.

It ended with a presentation of our work over the two days, and a clear. The final creative showed a strong idea, and clear steer towards the current iPlayer User Experience and visual design. A great couple of days had by all.