DDay – Digital day with BIMA and Sapient Nitro

Doing out little bit of good for our little bit of the world

‘Is that actually real?’ asks Baheem after seeing the Sneakapedia video. Baheem, 14, is a pupil (and Sneakerhead) at St Paul’s Way Secondary School, and he’s possibly just designed an award-winning Ap. Not bad for three hour’s work. ‘Idea Engineers’ if you’re shuffling in your seat nervously then you should be.

Call to Action

BIMA are an organization committed to promoting opportunities in the digital industries. Last Wednesday the London team, alongside 70 other agencies and 1800 students, took part in their DDay (that’s a big D for digital). Its purpose was to inspire, and not just with talk of Facebook and offices with fuseball tables. Before the school bell rang, our budding teams had to present their solution to a nationwide digital brief.

Preparing the troops

Just 24 hours earlier we, the volunteers, had not only met for the first time but been set our first challenge – create a presentation that doesn’t lead a bored teenager to lob a pen our way. Basically corporate bullshit wasn’t going to cut it. And that’s probably a litmus test we should use for all future power points. So after a hectic Tuesday preparing slides and raiding the stationary cupboard we were ready.

DDay

When the alarm rang back to school nerves were rife. At least I was never cool, so that wasn’t a worry. However now was the real test. Fortunately our presentation, aided with chocolate, was well digested before we moved onto the important business: the competition.

To set the mood we divided the class into four new agencies and then assigned each a SapientNitor consultant. Our brief for the day tasked students with solving a problem in their community with a digital design solution. And they certainly had plenty to say on the issues that affect their lives in East London.

Team JLS (yes, as in the band) were particularly enthusiastic about creating their persona during the research stages. “They were storytellers, weaving an intricate and gritty narrative of ‘Adam’s’ life”, says Ann-Marie, UX Manager, “ They drew on their own personal experiences – interactions with local gangs, the older generation, social services and the media.” The team’s final solution was an App. that created a peer-to-peer support network for young drug users, “A bold and necessary solution to a very real problem that young people face. These aren’t just designers, they’re change makers”.

Eriko, working with The Boss (great team name), observed how amazing it was to see how digital media, apps and devices have become completely integrated with the students’ social lives. “They have imaginative ideas and great abilities to solve social problems,” says Eriko, “The even gave me a lot of food for thought as a UX designer”.

The Aftermath

By 3 o clock the teams were stood in front of the class presenting their ideas. So if you’re still shuffling nervously in your seat, you should be. These students are already on their way to knowing more than we do. I just hope we’ve got the right schemes in place, through organizations like BIMA, schools and work experience programs to ensure their skills are nurtured. We all know that for all the machines and coding digital comes down to the people. And if DDay is anything to go by, its about to get even better.

Big respect to the DDay team who showed we really can make things happen, Daphne Azaria, Ann-Marie Grant, Di Wu, Maria Shihadeh and Eriko Matsumura.

To find out more about DDay and BIMA visit http://www.Bimadday.org

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About Gary Baggings

Andrea is a former farm girl who is currently living and working in London. She spends her days writing words for other people, and the long nights penning her own. When she grows up she wants to be cleverer than she is now and run an emporium of some sort. For no good reason, and against sound advice, she writes under an inexplicable pen name, visit www.garybaggings.wordpress.com for more.
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