We’re so lucky to work together with some brilliant clients. Here are just some of our projects.
The Grammar of Ideas
Chromatrope recently completed a large scale research project on behalf of the BBC investigating the ‘grammar of ideas’. The objective was to research what comprises the ‘DNA of ideas’ and how contemporary digital technology and behaviours could be harnessed to make the exchange, improvement and transmission of new ideas more possible.
The project was an exciting creative challenge and we delivered two phases of thought leadership, including detailed reporting with recommended methodologies, alongside product evaluation and new digital product innovation. Approaches included conversational UI, blockchain, virological models as well as more traditional forms drawn from an analysis of the ‘history of ideas’, metaphysical and philosophical models. Our findings are contributing to the BBC's forthcoming content commissioning for a significant new digital product over the next few years.
Self Harm Prevention
Chromatrope created the Ripple mobile self-harm and suicide prevention app with the NHS. The product drew on the findings from an existing NHS prototype project and we worked with the client as well as designers and developers to scope, design and build a functional product to help mental health service users to manage their own conditions.
Ripple helps users to query their own personal habits and thought processes, leading them through a process in order to author and schedule their own personal coping statements. These statements are then delivered to the users at a time and place that best matches their need. During testing we found that users of the app were far less likely to present at hospital as a result of self-harm, helping to save lives and money.
Chromatrope won the UK Government's 'Smart Tools for Brand Loyalty’ competition with our ‘soki soki’ idea as part of an initiative to explore the future of retail. We developed an innovative product that functioned as a 'Twitter for Things' allowing brands to pin virtual content to products, and enabling users to ‘find, scan, explore and share’. We worked with Procter and Gamble (P&G) to investigate how brands could personify their products, and how users could scan items to access unique brand content.
We collected a great deal of valuable qualitative and quantitate data about how customers view brands, and the 'personalities' and types of content that they expect of certain brands. We're excited about how soki soki can be deployed in retail, and other contexts.
Affordances of Data
Our client asked us to undertake research into the affordances of data, and in particular the role and opportunities for public sector organisations in promoting best use of data. Our work led to us interviewing around 30 experts, and helped us to draw together a picture of the complex data landscape and inter-dependencies. We created a framework for the client together with a series of 'commissioning narratives' that are helping to shape future strategic work.
We've blogged about some of our thoughts and discoveries, and we continue to care about how public, private and not-for-profit businesses as well as citizens, are helped rather than hindered by data.
The Future of Content
As part of the BBC’s ‘Future of Content’ R&D call we were commissioned to write, film and edit a 360 drama to examine how viewers could be placed within a truly immersive experience. Our film ‘Echo Chamber’ tackles two people’s experience of dementia and was written and directed by Glen Travis of ‘Rock of Eye’ and was produced by Chromatrope. As part of the process of creating the film we thought long and hard about the challenges and opportunities of immersive media of all types in engaging with audiences.
We were tasked in particular with looking at how immersive media could act as a catalyst to empathy in viewers. We blogged extensively during and after the production and devised a ‘ten things we learned making a 360 drama’ presentation that we’ve given to amongst others the ‘National Film and Television School’. We had an amazing experience making the film and a really tremendous response from people who have watched it. Although we don’t think we’ve got all the answers by any means, we’d like to share some of the things we learned along the way.
Learning and Development Innovation
We worked with the BBC for a number of years to re-imagine and implement new ways of delivering Learning and Development. Over a period of time we worked with senior managers to create an applied innovation strategy, supported by a portfolio of commissioning and prototypes. These projects included a long-term negotiation with Apple, which led to BBC L&D content appearing for the first time on Apple’s iTunesU platform.
Other projects included developing a partnership between the BBC, FutureLearn and Birmingham University resulting in the BBC creating the ‘Digital Storytelling’ MOOC, which has proved to be one of the platform’s most popular courses. We worked with the BBC and Mozilla to create the BBC’s first open badge accreditation. This external facing ‘Factual TV Production Case Study’ digital badge celebrated knowledge of specialist factual production.
Data Mine Journalism Game
This BBC commission explored how a mobile application could deliver a ‘gamified journalism experience’ around the themes of data brokerage, the economics of personal data, privacy and security. We assembled a great team including writers, iOS developers, UX specialist, graphic designer and software engineer to create a complex and complete iOS prototype. We were incredibly lucky to work with our friends Holly and Sophie from Matheson Marcault, and were grateful to Sarah Gold of If for her brilliant insights as well as Dean Vipond for his design work.
The product played out to users over around a week, and provided insights via on and off-boarding alongside gameplay into the ethics and economics of data brokerage. The game reached players via the app itself and through in-app notifications. The branching narrative format of the game offered a game experience that provided the impression of weak AI alongside a conversational UI.
The product was written in Twine and parsed (via a newly created script) direct to iOS, making the iterative development and testing of the product on a range of devices possible. We're very excited by the prospect of discovering how this format can be used again to wrap journalism and learning into a gamified experience.
News Lab Radar
We worked with BBC R&D to undertake horizon scanning as part of the News Labs R&D project. Our team helped to identify and report on trends, behaviours and technologies that would have an impact on the way in which journalists find and tell stories. As part of our work we undertook an investigation into 'slow news' as well as travelling to Amsterdam to meet with inspirational team behind De Correspondent.
We worked with BBC Global News on the discovery phase of a new mobile product specification. Global News wanted to create a new way for global travellers to access the best of the BBC’s international and news content. We tackled content strategy and tactics, alongside some crunchy usability and user flow challenges.
The project was really exciting and gave us the chance to work again with our friend Dean Vipond, one of best graphic designers and UX specialists around.
The Open University asked us to help commission new digital products as part of their free Open Learn service. We had a fantastic time working with academics from across a range of faculties, to discover what they really wanted and needed from digital products to help share knowledge and improve their teaching.
We tackled everything from design, energy, social care, languages, literature and, cyber security and philosophy. We turned complex requirements into briefs, and then handled the process of getting the projects commissioned from some truly brilliant creative technologists. The images in this page are from one of the projects, a branching narrative, choose your own philosophy adventure. Castle, Forest, Island, Sea was created by the very talented Holly Gramazio, and used Twine and TiddlyWiki to lead learners on a fascinating, transformative philosophy journey. We think its brilliant!
Donor Experience and Flow
We worked with our friends at top environmental charity Cool Earth on a ‘secret donor’ research project. The team wanted to understand with a fresh pair of eyes, how their donor flow could work harder. We worked to assess the natural flows and behaviours of donors, and make some recommendations on where the tweaks might be made, and hinges oiled.
The work that Cool Earth do is really important, and we were super happy to be able to help in a very small way.
Fuse Digital Accelerator
We worked with the Centre for the Acceleration of Social Technology (CAST) to deliver their Fuse programme. Fuse is an accelerator that brings charities, together with digital experts to help them to generate ideas and deliver prototypes for digital sevices and products.
As well is working with the talented and caring team at CAST, it was great to work with a range of charities. The user-centred, test-driven approach led to some exiting projects and break-though moments for the charities concerned.