Inspiration

Our Future Index lab is packed full of great work from both the Higher Education and wider marketing worlds. We see lots of things that make us sit up and inspires conversations with our clients. Occasionally we’ll share some of the best ideas here.
Click on the expandable posts below to be inspired.

Print Tech

Wired recently enabled Motorola to put an interactive, electronic full page advert in the Magazine. In 150,000 copies. Press the ‘button’ on the page and the phone changes colour. You have to watch this video. Then imagine just what a future prospectus could do!

Creative Course Finder

Full Sail is a university specialising in creative industry courses. It makes sense that it has a brilliantly creative course finder tool to help potential students choose their future study. In seconds you can build your own web page and get rather hooked – a reminder that not everything should be about collecting email data, CRM and filling out forms. Try it out here.

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Smarter Billboards

Some of the most inspiring creative ideas seem so simple. Here’s how IBM turn a billboard into a rain-shelter – all part of proving their ‘smarter planet’ credentials.

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University Web Experience

University websites are generally getting much better. Many, especially in the US, are now actually rather good. And a handful are really rather special. Check out this website from Drexel University for that special feeling – an emotive, creative and audio/ visual experience to show just what’s possible. Click here.

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Experiments in Digital Reporting

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Have a dig into studying journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder in the US. You’ll most likely stumble across a communication platform that really is quite inspiring. The Digital News Test Kitchen site simply screams out that they ‘get it’ at Colorado. Even the language they use is current, relevant and media-cool. They talk ‘Test Kitchens’ for their ‘experiments’ in digital reporting; they sit comfortably alongside the likes of Wired with their statement ‘Cooking the news of tomorrow with emerging technology’; and they aren’t afraid to stick their necks out with their rallying call – ‘wake up and smell the future of journalism.’

You really get the feeling that they are on the right track here. Students are given the latest kit (mainly low cost) and encouraged to film and report in the most innovative way, and then publish it. This isn’t just about offering students practical experience; this is about challenging them to really push themselves and stand out. They will need to if they want the best jobs.

We’ve blogged about this in more detail (including the lessons for marketing and employability) so do go have a read. In the meantime, here’s a taster:

A student is given 15 GoPro cameras and uses them to experiment with a film that operates at different speeds. Think the Matrix and other blockbusters. Think Radiohead’s ‘Street Spirit’. The background is rapid (like a time-lapse movie) but our reporter operates at normal speed. It’s stand-out stuff. Affordable Hollywood! And makes for inspiring, creative reporting.

We have looked at a number of similarly inspirational case studies, and some, such as Hyper Island were featured in our Future Media release in 2012. You can download it here. This year we will be releasing our Future Communications index that brings together the latest, and most inspiring, examples of student created content, alongside various other techniques employed by universities to breakthrough from the rest. To learn more, visit us at www.thefutureindex.com

Drinking from Billboards

We’re passionate about marketing communications and we dedicate significant time to populating our lab with the most inspiring examples and trends out there, from the worlds of education, business and beyond. We’re also passionate about the environment. So much of our time is spent looking at the future world and we are fully aware of some of the massive challenges with us now or coming our way. So it’s no surprise we share a growing concern for our planet. We have a strong track record inspiring universities, students and business to take action to generate the big ideas we need urgently. In fact, we are just preparing to mobilise a whole university into something very special. More on that soon.

This idea from Peru really made us sit up. It’s a story of how the needs of UTEC University in Lima and its local community converged so brilliantly. The university needed to sell itself to students and wanted to showcase its engineering prowess. Meanwhile, the local community struggled to get enough drinking water. After all, this is a part of the world where rainfall is virtually zero. The answers to everything came in the shape of UTEC’s advertising billboard. A billboard that sucked in the 98% atmospheric humidity and converted it to drinking water. Thousands of litres of it. A billboard that proudly displays the message ‘We will continue changing the world through engineering.’

If you ever want some inspiration into how you can really bring your brand to life, to demonstrate what you are really good at, and how you can make a difference, then watch this. The video says it all.