Innovate UK have just announced their “Digital Innovation Contest” around the topic of “Cross-Sector exploration”.
There are nine £25k grants to be one, each one following a specific sub-theme across retail, events and analytics.
Should you care about this?
You should care if you’re a company small enough that a £25k bump will be helpful, but large enough that you can front the money (it’s paid in arrears), and doing things that are already relevant to one of the sub-themes (or at least having already made serious plans to do so). As always with grants, you can’t count on winning them and should not twist your business around just to get a chance at this funding, especially since it’s only £25k.
Here are some details about the sub-themes, so you can see whether one of them fits you:
Retail: Connected Retail
This sub-theme, sponsored by Argos, aims to sponsor the development of technology that “will provide connected, convenient and compelling features and functions to engage customers on their own mobile devices when passing by, entering, or browsing within a store.”
Retail: Smart tools for brand loyalty
This sub-theme, sponsored by Procter & Gamble, wants applicants to “propose ways of using digital technology to drive interaction with the brand and around specific products or ranges, and improve the experience to foster loyalty.”
Retail: The future store
This sub-theme, sponsored by Holition, is all about augmented retail. They’re looking for “creative applications of technology for solutions that make the physical store a more engaging space for consumers, and a space where brands can deliver more compelling product offerings.”
Events: Engaging urban festival audiences
Sponsored by “LIFT with Saatchi & Saatchi”, this contest “aims to discover innovative ways of using mobile technology to engage with a younger, culturally curious audience across a city-wide nomadic festival in multiple venues, and to gather greater audience data through a more interactive and responsive online experience.”
Events: Engaging music festival audiences
Similar event, but sponsored by Live Nation, seeking “novel approaches that use digital technologies to enable music festival producers to understand their audiences better, to be able to provide music fans with a more engaging experience.”
Events: Enhancing audience interaction with cultural programmes
This one is sponsored by The Barbican, and is looking for “innovative digital solutions to animate the breadth of the arts centre’s programme and to make the most of chance discoveries, to give the visitor a more personalised experience.”
Analytics: Digital analytics for talent scouting
Sponsored by SYCO Entertainment, these guys want “tools, applications and services which can help to automate the process of spotting new talent and ‘buzz’ online.”
Analytics: Reading analytics
Penguin Random House is sponsoring this sub-theme to provide “ways in which publishers can gain more direct information and analytics about how their ebook content is being consumed digitally.”
Analytics: Using data to understand and connect with cinema audiences
And finally, the BFI (British Film Institute) is looking for “ways of exploring ways of extending the linear narrative of a film, or the experience of watching the film in the theatre, to reach audiences before, during and after the cinema experience.”
So, should you bother?
The application process seems relatively light – a short TSB-like application and a video. So if the projects above sound relevant and £25k sounds good, investing some time in turning up to the briefing event on January 29th seems worthwhile. There will be pitch sessions in front of panels too, in April, so don’t bother with this unless you’re willing to pitch your project in person.
As far as I can tell, the funding is not match funding – i.e. it’s a plain £25k grant – and comes with no strings attached in terms of IP or obligations to work with the challenge partner.