I’m not entirely displeased to announce that Two Worlds is a winner of the 2008 BBC Innovation Labs competition. This is the BBC’s now annual round of looking to the outside world to solicit new technology and service ideas that will help it fulfill its multiple media brief, to engage more effectively with its audiences and to extend the reach of that engagement into a wider demographic. Or something like that.
I actually submitted two ideas to the Labs: the first was carefully considered, structured, drafted, honed, reviewed, re-written, polished and buffed – it of course vanished without trace. The second was the product of a bottle of wine, frustration with my Sky+ Box and the consequent resurrection of an idea I'd had for interactive TV about a decade ago, all written and dumped on the Labs web site in the last forty minutes before the deadline. That idea, for a semantic video system now called Slipstream, is what won the day.
The next stage is a week's purdah in a hotel along with the other winners and BBC staff and mentors, developing, refining and pitching our ideas. The incentive and culmination of the week will be the opportunity to present the project to the BBC's commissioning editors for the chance of development funding. It's an enlightened approach, the intellectual property deal is generous and the resort hotel chosen is but twenty miles down the road. On this occasion the Two Worlds consortium is myself and Jon Jardine, design talent par excellence, computer scientist and co-owner of a very fine and connected pub.