An exert from this Digital Agencies road map...
There's nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be - John Lennon

Small businesses ( and by this I mean 4 people - not the SME classification of a company with less than 250)  face similar challenges; we all have to distribute our resources across the right balance of making, promoting, selling, and recording.

As an MD I have an over arching interest and vision across all these areas, but my main responsibility is connected with the promoting and selling interactive software for a digital market. In a world and market place that is falling over itself to be at the leading edge of what technology and software can offer, this could be a daunting task for a small software company based in the heart of rural Devon. But the characteristics we're born with and the influences we absorb along the way mean we all have a  predisposition and mine is driven by challenge, curiosity and a fighting spirit that says, okay so I love living on Dartmoor but this isn't a barrier to building a digital agency which is involved and helps shape the interactive landscape in the UK.

If you want to go on a journey I'm a big believer ( perhaps unlike John?) that you need a plan. So head space cleared I worked on our business strategy and the marketing plan that was going to get us there. I find it easier to have milestones to work too ( anyone that has followed a training plan for a long distance run will know what I mean), and so we had key places to get too which were part of putting our stamp on the market place. For us it was the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol, for those of you that aren't aware the PM Studio sits behind the Watershed cafe and is a hot bed of emerging creative technologists. (For us yokels,  Bristol is the London of the South West we can just about cope with the volume of people and the road system!)

So attending a couple of key events (Explay 2011 in Plymouth, Heritage Sandbox Ideas Lab at Exeter University) got us in the same space. We got to know people; the creators and the influencers that were involved in the space. Perhaps more importantly, we grew in confidence to the point where we realised we had the skills and the knowledge and hell yes we could play on this park too.

We registered for the Books & Print Ideas Lab which was an Arts and Humanities Research Council, research and development project being delivered by the REACT team based at the PM Studio. The opportunity embodied several key business aims for us:-

  • Bringing together creative economy partners (CEPS) - aka people like us, with academics working on ground breaking material in the regions University's
  • Provided CEPS with an R & D space to cultivate an innovative product
  • Got an ecceletic group of on the cusp commercial practices, talented authors and experiential practioners from across the South West working as a community
The pattern to success selection went a bit like this....
Ideas Lab > many conversations 
Interest peaked > Collaboration formed > Application submitted to build a digital biography
Project shortlisted for interview > much prep ( fortunately not to scuppered by the November floods)
Interview > Selection > Great Excitement !

And this is how it came to be that we are building a digital biography initially as an android app, protype based on the biography of Mary Curzon. The project goes under the name of 'Digitising the Dollar Princess' and we'd love it if you followed the  full project progress through the REACT blog.

As for Bow Software this is a great opportunity, we have aired our name now on the digital landscape now we just have to show everybody what we can do. And for me, well for all myself pomp about drive and fighting spirit - I'd be lying if I didn't sigh with relief that we got to the first of our destinations.

Next destination London, and it's might just be that this starts with talking to Nicole Yershon of Ogilvy, Nico Macdonald of Media Futures, and George Walkley of Hachette to unashamedly name drop a few of the fantastic industry mentors that are supporting the Books & Print sandbox.

Charlotte Quickenden stood outside the Watershed sign

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Ideas realised by creative technologists and independent developers
Bow Software - digitally interactive