Nailed it! Something to be proud of from proto journalists.

Future Story LABbers

One of the UK’s leading wealth managers has praised a group of young proto innovation journalists for their solutions to real-world problem.

Lee Robertson, CEO of Octo, the first app-based private community for UK financial services professionals, called the young journalists “truly inspirational”, adding, it was a privilege to see their work and ideas.

Lee was joined in his admiration for the team by several other professionals from broadcasting, tech, start-ups, and communications.

Presenting at Cardiff University’s flag ship auditorium under socially distance guidelines, MA students presented a spectrum of concept prototypes and ideas to professionals online.

They include a website campaign to address period poverty, deep fakes to educate school children about distorted history e.g. black history, visual infographics on mobiles, a blood donation scheme, a product review app, consultancy platform and agency for young gay people being privy to iconic role models.

In a programme partnered with Tramshed Tech (named by Wired magazine as “one of the UK’s Top Ten co-working spaces”) its Enterprise Innovation Manager Jess Phillips congratulated the group and urged them to continue pursuing their ideas.

Emerging Journalism, also known as the Future Story LAB, is a 12-week programme designed to provide cohorts with creative, critical thinking and problem-solving skills. It seeks to address the future skills market that sees creativity and analytical skills as paramount.

MA International students are introduced to a range of start up and storytelling practices, and the STACKED model which provides cohorts with a strategy to problem solving.

Mentors provide invaluable support by engaging with students on one-on-one conversations.

Writing on Linkedin, LABber Amogh George says:

In week 1 of the second semester, I was introduced to a bizarre experiment of coming up with products by looking at a random shape. I honestly thought it was weird, but now I believe I have learnt to see a potential story in every passing moment of the day.

Week 10 of the semester, here I was pitching a potential million pound idea about blood donation to a group of absolutely fantastic, enormously experienced mentors.

It can seem strange at first when students enter the LAB environment as the approach is based around discovery. There are no tablets of knowledge stone, rather a curation of inter-disciplines which VC Geoffrey Copland, from my previous university spoke to me about 13 years ago. I asked him about the future of learning.

A year later, 2009, students from China’s leading university Communication University in China, revelled in an interdisciplinary approach exploring the future of the web.

Books like Range by David Epstein, Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come from and Zig Zag by Keith Sawyers help support the idea that anyone can enhance their creativity.

It’s about recognising patterns and approaching problems with a solution-focused mind. That means acknowledging that any endeavour is strewn with challenges, and to overcome them requires managing expectations and engaging in multiple feedback loops, and owning that responsibility. The solutions can be anything from the development of an Apps workflow, a web design, VR, promos, blogging or Cinema Journalism.

There’s an emphasis on iterating and evidencing continuous rehearsal of knowledge, whilst learning to be confident to present like the best competitors on Dragon’s Den, or Tank Shark. There’s a formula to this. The course recognises that no one is expected to have solutions off the bat, but that strategies are developed within the team, whilst building resilience.

The eureka moment can arise often without cohorts realising how much they’ve adapted to new industry skills, hard and soft; from learning to be agile and pivoting on ideas to building confidence in presentations. The programme culminates in a 7–8 minute pitch with a slide deck whose design schema is modelled to be receptive by users and behavioural psychologists. And above all it should be fun. Gamification and the science of learning kicks in here.

Previous cohorts have gone on to develop their ideas and the programme has helped students land their “dream jobs”.

Last year, Mayo Twala’s financial start up, Stock Up, that facilitates the less well off to save has been gaining considerable attention. Stock Up has become a burgeoning business.

Mayo was Mentored by Iain Tweedale, a serial innovator whose leadership career spans film, the TV industry, digital media, AI in Journalism and broadcasting for the likes of the BBC and IBM, several technology start-ups.

Nasma Aljizawi* turned her collective experience and knowledge of refugees departing Syria into a prototypical mobile app. Her mentor at the time Stephen Wheatley, Co founder of Hear Angel, rejoined her four years later after she acquired seed funding to develop her project.

Nasma’s amazing final project work

Going back even further, the LAB approach enabled students to pitch their ideas to the highest levels visiting google and the BBC.

Class of 2021

LABbers join a family able to call upon a network for a range of assistance, from lecturers, mentors and Tramshed Tech. The ambition for the programme is to build on its interdisciplinary approach and turn itself into a wider platform bridging academia and commercial enterprise and entrepreneurial skills with innovative storytelling.

More stories and videos of presentations to follow

  • Chantal Cooke is Managing Director of Panpathic Communications and is an an award winning journalist.
  • Oliver Thomas is Sales and Marketing Manager from Wagonex and possesses a deep and wide range of experience in start ups
  • Robin Moore is a Digital Innovation specialist. Until recently he was head of Innovation at BBC Wales
  • Iain Tweedale is a Digital strategist in broadcasting and AI, advising tech start-ups and a Leadership trainer and content producer working for amongst others IBM and BBC
  • Jess Philips is Enterprise Innovation Manager at Tramshed Tech and manages a suite of innovative projects and partnerships lead for Tramshed Tech
  • Toby White is the founder of MarketMate — an AI platform. He builds AI solutions as part of his company @ ARTIMUS and at 24 years of age sits on several tech boards as an advisor.
  • Mohammed Alamgir is the co-founding owner and Managing Director of Rhino IT, a national IT Recruitment Consultancy and part of the Rhino Group Holdings, a powerhouse in the recruitment industry.
  • Stephen Wheatley is cofounder of HearAngel and a serial entrepreneur and experienced Growth Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the management consulting industry.
  • Lee Robertson BA Chartered FCSI FRSA is CEO and founder Octo Members. He’s an award winning wealth manager, formerly CEO and founder of Investment Quorum Limited and forth Master of the Guild of Entrepreneurs, now called the Company of Entrepreneurs. Lee and Stephen have been Mentors to young people in LAB spaces with me ( David) for the last 5 years.

*Nasma was on a similar programme at a a previous university, where I headed up a LAB.

Emerging Journalism programme ie Future Story LAB is run by James Taylor, a tech specialist and innovator with Dr David Dunkley Gyimah. To find out more about the Future Story LAB click here

Top Writer & Creative Technologist, Int. Award Winner. Cinemajournalist. Cardiff Uni @jomec. PhD (Dublin). Visiting Prof UBC, Ex BBC/C4News. Apple profiled.

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