Celebrating the eclectic

On October 16th, REACT held a workshop for its diverse and compelling Strategic Fund projects that celebrated their similarities, differences and bril

On 16th October, REACT hosted the first meet up for all recipients of our Strategic Funds.

These are projects we fund outside of Sandbox. Some are at an early stage of work, taking time to research the space around their idea. Others are building first prototypes, already aiming at real world impact. Twelve projects were represented on the day, covering everything from building communities around cultural events, to an app that analyses dominant colours in images, to synchronised video playback on multiple screens.

The aim of the day was an illustration of the challenges the projects face. With so many different editorial ideas and genres in the room, we chose to focus on the one common theme for all of them: how to connect with an audience.

We looked at the production process as much as the output. Our icebreaker was a competition to make the highest tower you could using nothing but spaghetti and marshmallows. This ably demonstrated the chaos and joy experienced in ad-hoc groups working to rapidly achieve a working (or should that be wobbling) prototype.

This was followed by a series of open surgeries for each project, hosted by business advisor Steve Taylor. He got the teams thinking about who their audience is, how to reach them, what their USP might be to grab attention and funding, and if their project could or should be a 'product'.

It was also a much deserved chance to share and celebrate their work so far and the conversations that followed were provocative, interrogative, but constructive: helping us all identify the success, opportunities and challenges of generating products and projects with technology.

What became clear was the breadth of subject matter and potential for all the groups to take their projects into new terrain.  In his welcome, REACT Director Jon Dovey referred to the projects affectionately as our ‘Random Fund’, and that seems apt: diverse, unpredictable, but full of promise.

We'll be sharing some of the learning from the workshop in a future blog post. Watch this space!

You can read about all our Strategic Fund projects here.