Back to All Events

[SOLD OUT] Doing whatever it takes – using design skills for more than designing interfaces, helping the BBC collect better metadata

  • Barbican Centre Silk St, Barbican, London EC2Y 8DS London United Kingdom (map)

About the session

Like many organisations that handle content, the BBC has challenges around recording descriptive content metadata. This is vital however, in supporting the BBC’s future goals of reaching audiences it doesn’t currently and moving past historic organisational silos. Content metadata such as subjects, tones and genres will help the BBC streamline content creation and improve how it is recommended and discovered.

Improving metadata has served the Systems and Service Design team with a massive challenge. Not only does the BBC need metadata for TV shows and news articles, it also has Children’s, Sport, Food and Educational pieces. For metadata to be useful, it must be consistent across these areas, enabling this is a technical but also organisational and cultural challenge.

The project, of course, involved designing interfaces but it was clear that a tool alone was not enough. As service designers we got stuck in to useful things that no one else was doing. Using examples from this project I will explore how you can use a design skill-set to do whatever it takes to make changes happen.


Key learnings

  • Do whatever it takes – make training materials, drink tea, host a festival…

  • Share a different amount of the future vision appropriate to the audience but don’t stray from the path to an optimum future. Each delivery should be a stepping stone in the right direction, not diverging in order to deliver fast.

  • Success = Receiving an email saying “I don’t know you but I got told to talk to you about this.”


    This session has sold out but you can still book your day pass for Friday 25.10. You will be asked to pick 5 sessions of your choice for the day.